Once upon a time, Christmas markets were the most awaited event in most European countries, but not anymore.
Just before I left Europe, my nephew’s European paternal grandmother was having a chat with him about the upcoming Christmas festivities.
She announced to him that this year he will not receive money as a gift, rather she would take him on a trip to Strasbourg city in France, to visit the city and have some good time at the Christmas market.
As all young men, this 17-year-old preferred receiving money instead of buying something he liked. But then respecting his grandmother’s wish, he accepted, and they started planning.
A few days ago, upon hearing the news about the terror attacks in Strasbourg, I immediately called my sister to find out the planned trip was in progress or not. She told me that it had not happened yet and now it is of course, cancelled.
I also have a good French friend with whom I used to work in the European Commission, and she happens to live in Strasbourg, so I sent her an email to find out if all was well with her.
Once upon a time, Christmas markets were the most awaited event of the year in most European countries, but I think that is changing, this is not the first time such an attack happens at this time of the year in Europe.
Germany lived this ordeal in 2016 when a truck targeted the Christmas market in Berlin, killing and injuring many.
In fact, I remembered that during my short stay in Europe early December this year, I managed to visit three different Christmas markets, in Trier/Germany, Mechelen/Belgium and in Luxembourg city/Luxembourg. There were similarities in the décor, with a huge beautifully decorated tree placed in a central position of the market, however, food wise, each market had its own traditional food and sweets, with some common foods that have now invaded all markets of the world, such as noodles and fries.
Walking in these markets with a cold breeze around, the aroma of food and the Christmas music echoing in the air, is a very pleasant experience, one that does not lose its charm with time.
But then, things are changing, and maybe today, I can say I survived three market visits, all went well for me, but for those who lost their lives, it did not go that well, and I am vexed at the turn of events.