Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Market

We finally made it to the winter market at Ste-Catherine yesterday.  Your photo tour begins.......................................................  


It's all in the shadow of the church... isn't anything in the shadow of a church just more... meaningful?  (This is St. Catherine, the church famous for it's ages-old pissoir, inviting local lushes/menfolk to literally void on a church.)  The market was basically two long rows of wooden kiosks housing food and booze and goods and more mulled wine than a drunk could shake a stick at.  No matter what your main sell is, apparently it's a requirement that you must offer mulled wine alongside it.  heh.  Nothing like warming up a cold soul to ensure a sale.  

First, the carousels!  

There are two at this winter market alone.  They are so fanciful and have this crazy steampunk thing going on.  It's as though Brussels put J-P Jeunet (City of Lost Children, etc) in charge of designing them.  They are incredible.  These pictures don't do them justice;  I will try for better this week.  They are wooden and have lizards next to seahorses next to dirigibles (complete with a wooden staircase to take your little one up there) next to ostriches next to submarines next to anything else crazy you can think of.  They are glorious!

This might have been my favorite booth.  Reindeer skins (they are softer than bunnies--I swear it!) and archery things and dudes in long overcoats who know what's up.

There was a brass band playing when we arrived.  They were called the Tijuana Dixie Dan Band... or no, that almost makes too much sense.  Their name was funny in a totally ESL-way.  

We also saw a guy walking around with a guitar singing "Single Bells"...   'Tis the season.

So many things to buy....

The big chocolate bombs on the left are filled with marshmallow and the fruities at right are traditional Belgian-made gummies in flavors like cassis, apple, banana, raspberry.  

We got a bag of about 15 gummies for 7 euros.  That shizz ain't cheap!  I can only eat one at a time because they are tooth-hurtingly sweet.  At least the bag will last a while.  Better find a Belgian dentist...

"Big White Sausage"?  Isn't there a better sell here?  No wonder boudin blanc hasn't taken off in the American market.  

Suited up.  
Did I mention how the other day I saw a grown woman walking down the street, casually talking on her cellphone, in a full-on SNOWSUIT????  I mean, it's cold and she was probably much warmer than I... but to put on a snowsuit to do some errands?  Does she wear a bikini when it's really hot out?  Slut.

There was ice skating, the highlight of which was a femme-d out old Belgian man who was twirling and prancing and dancing like the star on ice he must have been in his youth.  We stood there watching him glide around the amateurs for a while.  Oh, you should have seen his flourishes!  No move was without a head cock or a hand roll!

Instead of mulled wine, we opted for an Irish coffee, made by what looked to be a real Irishman.  His French was poor and accented, so I'm thinking he was authentic.  Either way, his coffee was divine.  

Oh!  Yes!  What's a winter market without the "Funny Christmas Ice Monster"?

What the...?

What is the story behind this poor chained beast?  Captive animals--"monsters" or not--are never funny.  

See?  Not funny.... more horrifying!  I certainly wasn't going inside to see if he upheld his promises of "funny."  That and I was over the age/size limit.

I love this giant ferris wheel.  I've heard you can pay something like 70 euros and get a bottle of champagne to enjoy with 3 other friends in one of the cabins.  They never had that at the Viz carnival growing up.

B gets down with Pere Noel or Santa or whoever this one is.

Frosty's all "Yo yo!" and I'm all prim and proper.  Note the muff.  I brought out my mom's old muff for the winter market and it kept my fingers pretty toasty.  The best part was when I saw a woman point to the muff and exclaim to someone else, "La moufle!"  Yay!  Must be "muff" in French!

Ol' fur hand.

This dude is rocking serious amounts of tartiflette.  I have been dying to make some myself, though it won't be in such quantities.  

Look!  Matching slickers!  (And probably matching eye stains...)

OK, there is a total thing for mojitos here.  The bespoke cocktail culture that's currently big in the States has been slow to catch on in Europe--especially in Brussels.  And somehow the mojito has been anointed THE cocktail here.  They are everywhere.  I like a mojito as much as the next guy, but it's basically the only cocktail offered most places.  I also consider mojitos to be a specifically summer drink.... but now someone wants to ensure they're winter-appropriate by HEATING THEM UP?  Yucks!  It's like the frozen sushi--just wrong. 

B and I enjoyed many delicious treats at the market, culminating in a lengthy sausage with lots of onions and mustard.  

And from sausages to sausage dogs... I spotted this chap on the metro on the way home.  What a darling!