The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping to get a different result. Well every year I go to Christmas markets and get annoyed and frustrated with the crowds and pushing and shoving (and we were not designed to eat stood up. That’s why we have squidgy buttocks to sit on). Every year I hope it will improve. Every year it doesn’t.

Last night was a typical trip. Too many people with too many daft hats getting in the way. At one point we had to”crab” along to get through the crowds. I set off this morning with a heavy heart faced with a day of pushing, shoving and trying to say sorry in German. (The only German word I can say with any conviction is “Thank You” so I just use that in every situation. Someone bumps into me “Danka”‘, someone steps on my toes “Danka” some jabs me in the eye with the Bratwurst “Danka”. They must think I’m the most polite person in the world).

We hit the markets at around 10:00 and they were….quiet. Yes, really. Quiet. They were just opening up and there was hardly anyone around, other than a few locals who had hit the Gluwhein early (drinking at 10:00 in the morning seems to be acceptable in Germany. I think it’s a bit rich of old Angela Merkel having a go at Greece for their lack of control when half of Germany seems to be spending most of advent half cut). We browsed, we sauntered, I nearly enjoyed myself! Then at 4:00 it went mental again. We left. I have concluded that Christmas Markets can be fun, if done off peak!

We have been to Germany a few times but I have the memory of goldfish and forget conversations we have had in the past. We concluded today we need a flow chart of all the discussions we have when we meet so we can refer back to who said what and when and stop us repeating ourselves. I’m thinking of adopting the same idea with my parents, but somehow can’t see it working. Every time we come to Germany I will say “there are a lot more modern buildings than old ones aren’t there?” Now luckily Daz likes history (by that I mean he watches Downton Abbey. And not just for Lady Sybil) so he will always reminds me, “that’s because we bombed most of this place in the war”. Berlin “we bombed it”. Munich “we bombed it”. Gdansk “we bombed it” ( and that’s not even in Germany!). Today we came across a 15th century church with a modern spire. “That’s unusual” I said. Daz furtively consults the guide book. “We bombed that one too, but just got the top bit”.

It’s a funny place Germany. I always feel slightly uneasy that we made a mess of their country, but I suppose at the time, they were trying to takeover ours, so all’s fair in love and war? Still, they seem to be doing quite well in spite of it and in peace time have probably got a foot hole in more European countries with their Christmas markets than they did during any previous wars. More Gluwhein anyone?

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