Thursday, December 8, 2016

Merry Christmas Manchester!

It's the most wonderful time of the year again!!! πŸ˜ƒπŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

Before I pick up last year's interrupted thread of Austrian and German Christmas Markets (never got around to the ones in Deutschland), I'm going to launch the Christmas blogging season with my recent visit to the Manchester Christmas Markets

Although I must first admit that until I started doing a little online research just now for this post, I hadn't realized it was Manchester Christmas Market(S) plural! I thought it was just the one, but spread out a bit... Should have realized as I was wandering around between several different locations and their quite different character that they were supposed to be different entities... πŸ˜‡ I did notice that one had a more "modern art Christmas gifts" vibe.

Another point... I've been so tired lately that I wasn't exactly in "tourist mode" or thinking "Blogger!", I was just taking it all in, trying to avoid temptation (so many gorgeous gift or decoration ideas!) and enjoying the glΓΌhwein and the cheeses! πŸ˜‹ I did however get my mandatory photo with a Christmas tree! πŸ˜‰

So according to the internet, the Manchester Christmas markets are located in 10 sites around the city, but the main one is definitely the at Albert Square, in front of City Council. It's HUGE! (German-market proportions) There's no mistaking it for any other what with that huge shiny Santa presiding over the whole square. 

This is definitely your traditional Christmas Market, with easily over 100 stalls selling hand-crafted or mass-produced gifts (wood, glass, metal, felt, wool, jewelry, toys), decorations and of course food and drink. As I mentioned I wasn't in "tourist/blogger mode", but I did snap one yummy chocolatey picture:

Tasty, right?

So were the various cheeses on sale in several stalls! The colleague I was with (this was a prelude to a 1-day business trip to Sheffield) took me by a couple of stalls where he always goes to buy cheese and... Oh my!!! Yummy! Big discovery was Snowdonia Cheese Company, with some really interesting cheddars with ginger or whiskey... but my favorite was "black bomber". Tasty!!!

Of course any visit to a Christmas Market includes an obligatory glΓΌhwein break:

Sure is tough having to taste the local brew, isn't it? Not to mention the adding of another mug to the collection...

We probably spent 3h wandering around Albert Square and the two others closest to it. The ambiance, the lights, decorations, stalls, trees... Loved it all!

Can't showcase any of the lovely items I found there as the people they are destined to just might happen upon this page and it would spoil the surprise! But I did follow up in my recent tradition of getting something for my Christmas tree from each of the places I've been to for work, and it doubles as adding to my collection of Nativities:

Gorgeous isn't it? It's a bit of a cheat thought as it's handmade from Hungary not the UK... but it will be a yearly reminder of my visit to Manchester and it's gorgeous Christmas Market(s)! And I do think I will have to go back for a proper visit of the city, and use it as a jumping off point to some of the very interesting nearby places I've spotted on the map... But for now all I can say is MERRY CHRISTMAS MANCHESTER! πŸŽ…πŸŽ„πŸŽ‰

Ed. Although back-dated to Dec.8th, I actually hit "publish" on Jan.22nd... because it took me over a month to find the time between when I wrote it and actually being able to pick and edit the photos! Extra long days to wrap up work before the holidays, Christmas craziness and family invasions... it all meant no time to write until now! So needless to say the posts on the German Christmas markets implied above will have to wait for Christmas 2017. Sorry! πŸ˜‹


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