Short sensory list
• Sights of the Weihnachtsmarkt: bright lights; Christmas pyramid; red and yellow stars; unveiling of the Backwaren (backed goods) made especially for the holiday season.
• Sounds of the Christmas market: the klang of full mugs distributed and empty ones collected, shouts of laughter from conversations scattered throughout the area.
• Smells and tastes of the Christmas market: candied almonds, cashews, and peanuts; roasted chestnuts; balls of fried dough with powdered sugar; mugs of hot mulled wine, available in several fruit flavours; grilled bratwurst; fried potato pancakes with apple sauce.
When the Christmas season brings out special baked goods, it’s time to pay attention. In Heidelberg, my favourite café in the university town doesn’t hold back as photos of the “Backwaren” (baked goods) show. There’s something for everybody at Café Gundel.
And on it goes: small lifetimes can be spent, seeing, smelling, and sampling the entire collection.
A short exchange
“Noch einen Wunsch?”
“Something more?“, asks the lady behind the counter when I’ve ordered a few of this and a few more of that.
“Das war’s. Komm ich wieder morgen …”
“That’s all. I’ll come back tomorrow …” I reply, with the sound of hope and promise in my voice. I’m sure she’s heard it all before. And yet, she humours me with a smile and a chuckle.
“Wir sind noch für Sie da …”
“We’ll still be here …”