"Oh, the weather outside is frightful"....so goes the traditional Christmas song. In Veszprém, that's true. A fog has settled onto the hills and valleys, and for the last two weeks--because of the freezing temperature--the trees and edges of buildings and cobblestones have been covered with a skin of ice: iced fog. Everyone hoped this was temporary, and we did have one bright blue sky day that gave all of us townspeople hope, but the freezing fog has settled in again and made travel difficult. The real challenge is for all the merchants who are standing in their pine booths all day from 9 - 6 p.m. for the Advent/ Christmas market--right here in the square outside my flat. There are about 25 booths set up with the usual fare: scarves, hats, mittens, candy, local food and mulled wine. Those guys in the cooking booths, at least, are keeping warm!
But I have had occasion to be in Budapest for several days and the Christmas market there has been in full swing since the middle of November. Because Budapest is a much larger city, there are more than 100 booths set up from about 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. in Vörösmarty ter--right in front of the famous Gerbaud coffee and sweet shop [background of this picture]. The area is filled with people enjoying the sausage, cheese, and handmade crafts of high quality. The items are lovely and the crowd is exhilarating. And the lights at night give just that romantic flare that make Budapest one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Sadly, I have only 2 1/2 weeks left here in Hungary, but I am ready to come back any time....just say the word. These four months have been a wonderful respite...challenge...and time of personal growth. Who could ask for more?