Jõuluturg ja glögi

Yay for Christmas!

dsc01980Today, I have been to the Christmas Market (Jõuluturg, for those interested in adding to their knowledge of eesti keelt), where I wandered around quite happily for a long time, looking at all the twinkly lights and market people in knitted red cape things. It is all very lovely in the Town Hall Square, with dozens of little cabins full of handicrafts, tables stocked with Silly Hats and giant woolly socks, and plentiful supplies of hot pea soup, roast chestnuts, and “Christmas tea”, which I’m not sure about – I have a sneaking suspicion that it might just be ordinary tea in a red plastic cup, but I appreciate the attempt to make it festive nonetheless.

There are sheltered stands dotted around the marketplace, each with a bar-like table underneath, so that people can have somewhere to stand around and talk to their friends as they eat their dsc01984warm market food and drink their glögi – which, as far as I can tell, is the Estonian equivalent of mulled wine. I tried some for the purposes of research, and drank it whilst standing at one of the wooden shelters next to an elderly man who was playing some sort of harmonica purely for his own entertainment. We did not speak to each other, for that is not the done thing in Estonia. Small talk is considered to be a rather pointless endeavour, and so people only speak if they know each other and/or have something important to say. If you smiled at a stranger as you passed in the street, they’d think your head was cut. It is fantastic. You don’t have to worry about getting trapped in a mundane chat about the weather when you just want to stand at a wooden shelter, drinking your glögi and watching Silly Hatted people buying handmade wooden trolls as you listen to a drunk man play a weird – but strangely melodic – mouth organish instrument. But I digress. As it turns out, glögi is pretty damn good. Much stronger than I remember mulled wine being, and without bits of stewed fruit floating around in it, which is always going to be a plus as far as I’m concerned. It warmed the cockles of my heart, anyway. And made me the tiniest bit giddy. Christmas spirits and all that.

And also, Santa is in Tallinn! The real Santa, I mean – not the skinny wannabe from the other day. Security in Estonia is decidedly lax, I’ve noticed, and as a result there were no barriers or the like to keep Santa safe from the public. No, he was simply sitting at a table in his cabin, possibly composing his Naughty and Nice lists, and cheerfully greeting anyone who wanted to put their head round the door and say hello. Look! I said to Riho in a thrilled whisper, stopping suddenly and clutching his arm in my excitement, He’s here!! It was somewhere around this point that Riho decided he’d had as much Christmas as he could stomach for one day and left me to it, whereupon I hovered around Santa’s cabin like an overgrown six-year-old, watching in delight as a small boy walked in nervously and received a big hug from the man himself. I eavesdropped on the conversation, but I couldn’t understand much of it as they were speaking Estonian. I think it’s amazing that Santa must have learned so many languages – and becoming fluent in eesti keelt is particularly admirable, if you ask me. Santa rules.

dsc01979I thought that Tallinn Old Town was my Very Favourite Thing in the world.

It is not. Tallinn Old Town at Christmas time is my new Very Favourite Thing.


4 thoughts on “Jõuluturg ja glögi

  1. Your Christmas market looks very pretty. I haven’t actually been to ours yet. I’ve walked through it several times to get from the tram stop to the bank, but that doesn’t count. With all the plans I have for the next few weeks I’m starting to wonder if I’ll actually get a Glühwein at the Christmas market this year (that’s the German equivalent of mulled wine in case you hadn’t guessed).

    Oh, and the Christmas tea here has some kind of “christmassy” herbs in. Not sure what though. Cinnamon? OK, that’s a spice but you know what I mean…

  2. You don’t have to worry about getting trapped in a mundane chat about the weather when you just want to stand at a wooden shelter, drinking your glögi. That sounds like my kind of wandering/shopping/drinking experience!

    The Irish crafted/Estonian inspired Silly Hat has arrived and it’s lovely!! Thank you so much! We’re still into the sunny +5 degree weather around here, but I’ll be sure to snap a photo once winter actually hits Vancouver.

  3. McBouncy says:

    Winter has arrived here. It took me 75minutes (I kid you not!) to travel from Ahoghill to my house tonight!!
    “Touching cloth” was an expression which could be used to describe my state by the time I got home. McLovely was also in a similiar state cause I made the mistake of phoning him to let him know I was stuck half way up a hill and was starting to slide down it again. I had to turn, drive the whole way into Ballymena and approach my house from a less hilly angel/angle?
    McLovely was not helped by the fact that when he phoned for a progress report I was making AHHHH noises and claiming I would never get home….
    This has not helped my argument that we do NOT need to sell my car and buy another 4wheel drive/jeep thing.
    Hope your still listening in. Big hug. xx

  4. bevchen – ohhh, cinnamony tea! Mmm. That might be worth sampling, actually. And if it’s crap I can just pour in some glögi.
    Maureen – Yay! Glad you like it. Silly Hats are arriving in various places all over the world, and it is nice to have started this revolution. :)
    McBouncy – You made me laugh as usual with this. You do, however, have my sympathy, as I remember the road to your house only too well – including driving along at 15mph on snow/ice one morning with you lot following me and making me feel even more nervous and flustered about going so slowly… and then later McLovely told me off for going too *fast*!?!

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