Sometime in late November I noticed a change in the air here in Manchester. Or, not so much in the air, but right in the middle of the pedestrian areas in the city centre. It wasn’t the police kicking the homeless people out from under the covered walkway by the Arndale, it wasn’t the smell of beer and sweat from the pubs on the days when there’s a match, no, it was the Christmas markets.
Manchester’s Christmas market extravaganza isn’t the first I’ve seen, nor will it be the last. I made the annual pilgrimage to Chicago’s German market every year I lived there, and I even managed to catch a small one in Turku, Finland when I was there in December a couple years ago.
That being said, Manchester’s are definitely sprawl a lot more. They weave from the cathedral and the Arndale, through St. Ann’s Square, and all the way down to Town Hall. There are SO many stalls that you’re bound to see repeats, and you only really have to see one street with stalls to see them all.
They’re also a little cheap, depending on which part you go to, while being an incredible rip off. A lot of what’s for sale is not particularly good quality, or particularly original. Meanwhile, if you want a cup of hot cocoa, you’ll pay £4.50, plus a £2 deposit for the ceramic mug that you’re forced to drink your cocoa out of, but only in designated areas of course, while walking on cobblestones.
Even still, they do make for nice Christmas cheer, despite the constant noise near where Ivan and I work and the hoards of people.
We had a close friend staying with us last night, and we figured today that maybe we would have a browse around the markets today, show off a little bit of Manchester Christmas spirit, and drop him off at the train station afterwards. Yet when we got to Piccadilly Gardens, where a lot of the markets begin, we were really surprised to see, well, no markets.
It turns out that here, unlike in other places, the whole operation closes a few days early. I’m not really sure exactly when they finished, but I’m assuming that most of the vendors really didn’t want to stick around a day or two extra and pack up all their wares on Christmas Eve. I’m still just a little surprised that the whole thing just vanished during the busiest couple of days of holiday shopping though…
Either way, we did not get to visit the markets today, and Ivan and I never had a really proper browse, figuring we would be able to go this week! I had also planned to make another vlog, but wasn’t able to get quite as much footage as I wanted, so I wound up with mostly just a collection of shots of people walking around. Such is life. Here is what I wound up with:
In other news, we both hope everyone has a healthy, happy, and safe rest in the coming week, no matter who or where you are, and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it.