It took a couple of days before work let up enough for me to visit the annual Christmas festival at the Vrijthof Square. ‘Magisch Maastricht, indeed: this is the best Christmas Fair that the city has organized in the past few years.
The layout seems better, the lighting and arrangement sparkling and open, winding through the grounds and colorfully accented.
The food is more varied and fresher. A Krakauer sausage comes in a lighter, toasted bun. The Glühwein is more mulled, less fruity-sweet.
The venue for tree decorations and home trimmings has returned, all white beards, red robes, and round polar bears.
As dusk falls, the Sky Wheel glows and parents gather at the Sinterklaas trein. The rink fills with skaters while the carousel spins, café’s buzzing with couples and families. A busker strums out seasonal pop tunes over the passing flow of bicycles, drawing listeners from the oliebollen stand beyond.
My favorite memory remains the the year that the Market sprawled across a half dozen city venues, the year that an ice rink settled outside my windows.
I’d still want some snow along the eaves and underfoot, but this is a public celebration of Christmas done right.
More pictures, as always at my Flickr site.