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Sister Cities’ Market - Gera and Glasgow aren’t far apart

Traditional clothing from Glasgow

Florian Trykowski

Many visitors to the Christkindlesmarkt have learned to love this special little market with international flair.

It’s always nice to see old friends. Marion Dykes has decorated her wares in the attractive Glasgow stand; Martina Laudenbach has arrived with her baked goods from Gera. There’s time for a little chat – after all, they haven’t seen each other for a year. The weeks they spend here every year in Advent have brought them closer together.

24 booths form an international village

“It’s like a global village here,” says Marion Dykes with enthusiasm. “There’s a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.” Cooperation is important, she emphasizes. “Everyone has a lot to do, but everyone helps each other … for example, when shoveling snow, like last year. Even when we can’t speak each other’s language, we always find a way to communicate.” And it’s not just all work and no play: At a Christmas party organized by the Nuremberg Office for International Relations, the stressed booth owners can relax and share experiences. Or remember happy times – like the winter 10 years ago, when everyone built their own snowman.

Some of the visitors to the market have also become friends. “We all have repeat customers and know them well,” say Marion Dykes and Martina Laudenbach at the same time. Naturally, they’re not the one and the same, because what is offered at the booths is so different.

The Glasgow booth is full of traditional plaids: Scottish kilts for men and women, scarves and caps made of wool and made in Scotland, which is important to Marion Dykes. In addition, she sells shortbread and 30 to 40 different single malt whiskies, hot toddy – “the Scottish answer to mulled wine” – naturally with whisky, jams with whisky and whisky cake. “Our range of products is very special. We try to purchase our goods from small family-owned businesses,” says Marion Dykes. That’s something, she says proudly, that you don’t find everywhere. And some customers like to speak English with her … if they want, she can even dig out her “Glaswegian accent”.

At the Gera booth, culinary delights take pride of place. Martina Laudenbach represents her family of bakers, who are proud of their 210-year-old baking tradition. Thuringian Christmas Stollen is the sought-after highlight at Martina Laudenbach’s stand. This year she has something new in her program: Her sons, who are now the seventh generation of bakers in the family, have created a marzipan Stollen. “Everything here is hand made,” she says. Christmas cookies, “Punschigel” chocolate-covered cakes, baked-apple Stollen, poppy-seed cake and “Eierschecke” cakes from Dresden are all on offer. Of course she also has a lot of information about Gera.

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