on August 28, 2006
One of the most fun experiences that we had while visiting Manchester was strolling through the festive tents of the annual European Christmas market which takes place downtown in Albert Square. There is also an exclusively German market at nearby St. Ann's Square during the season as well. The festivities are held from mid-November to late December each year and are open between 10am to 8pm each day. During the evenings, the tents and wooden, temporary displays are gleaming with colorful holiday lights, and even in the daylight, the holly, cobblestone streets, and spiced air is enough to make the biggest "humbug" smile. We enjoyed sampling several hot toddies: homemade cider, hot chocolate, and mulled wine; along with many fresh cheeses and truffles. In the arts & crafts section there are many local artists ready to sell you a unique Christmas gift to take home from blown glass ornaments and wooden toys, to homemade baskets and oil paintings. We try to find a local piece of art to bring back from our trips, and were lucky to find one of our favorites so far. Sarah Mitch is a photographer and then pieces her unique photos together by color or composition, and prints them on a stretched canvas of various sizes. It was nice to meet the artists and talk with them about their pieces. These markets are a MUST-SEE and really, a "can't-miss" because it is in the middle of the city center in front of the City Hall and near many other sights. We would walk through the tents on our way to and from other sights to pick up a bite to eat or just enjoy the festivities.
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