Where I would love to go this week....
Aix en Provence.
This small city in the...province...of Provence is currently captivating my attention. And it all has to do with the status of one of my friend's on Facebook.
She is currently in love with the Aix en Provence Christmas market.
Now, I have never been to Aix en Provence, although when I was backpacking in France, I came awfully close. I even reserved a hotel room there but instead decided to extend my stay in Menton and in Nice. As much as I wanted the REAL experience of the Provencal lifetstyle and countryside, it was June, I was sweating buckets and the sea was beckoning me.
But there is something about the cold winter months that make me turn my attention to Europe. Yes, a lot of me is kind of "bored" of the continent, but when I imagine snow-dusted cobblestone streets, street vendors selling hot wine, and traditional festive merriment that coats the city, I long to be in a quaint European city. Perhaps because I've spent many an Xmas in Helsinki or Oslo or because I was fortunate enough to spend a few wintery weeks in Edinburgh, Lyon and Paris last year this time. Or perhaps it's because I just don't feel the REAL Christmas cheer here on the West Coast of Canada. The non-stop rain doesn't help either.
Regardless, I remember perusing the open market in Nice when I was there and a postcard caught my eye. A beautiful picture of the Nice market at Xmas time. Well, if you want the top dog of them all, you go to Aix en Provence.
The Christmas Market sells everything from Ham to Handsoap and is packed with all the sights and sounds that bring the real, tangible Christmas spirit home. I can just imagine strolling among the stalls, the crispness of the air mingling with a mug of hot wine, the tasteful Christmas tunes floating above the chatter, the sparkling lights on all the trees.
Sigh. If I could go anywhere this week, that's where I would be....