Travel “Babber”, part 2: everything you don’t know about Santa’s secret stops!

In the last post we left Santa Claus at his destination while he was delivering the gifts to the children!

At the beginning, our “Travel Babber” was very strict with himself. Once he planned the route, nothing could distract him from his mission! But then, Santa Claus began to observe the places he passed through, to be amazed, to the point of wanting to “get off” from the sleigh and experience the magic of Christmas just as the other inhabitants of the planet experience it!

Are you curious to know what he did last time during his trip?!

Santa and the Sami

First of all, Santa Claus stops to greet his Sami friends. They are the only indigenous people officially recognized in the European Union and the oldest culture in Europe.

The life of the Sami is linked to that of reindeer. In Lapland, every reindeer you meet belongs to a Sami sheperd. In ancient times, to distinguish their specimens, families made symbolic incisions on these animals’ ears. Reindeer are a source of food, furs and boots with their skins and handicrafts and knives with their antlers.

Reindeer are sacred creatures that guide people in the arctic nature and the flying reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh derive from Norse mythology. Odin’s reindeer could in fact fly across the sky!

Santa and the sauna

During the break, Santa Claus takes the opportunity to enjoy a sauna in view of the long night that awaits him! The sauna for Finns is a sort of ritual. Being invited to a sauna is an honor and inhabitants usually have a sauna at home.

The typical Finnish sauna is dimly lit, there is no music and the scents are fresh birch branches and vegetable tar. A secret: Finns sometimes pour a little beer on the hot stones to create a special fragrance!

Rajaportti, in the old Pispala neighborhood of Tampere is the oldest public sauna still active in Finland. Dating back to 1906, people heat it with wood as a tradition.

Typical dishes

Before leaving again, Santa Claus eats some typical Finnish Christmas dishes! Ham cooked in the oven with mustard is an unmissable dish and also one of his favourites. It is usually accompanied by the classic beetroot salad!

Choosing just one dessert is difficult! Rice porridge, Pipparkakku (gingerbread biscuits), Jouluutorttu (puff pastry filled with plum jam), Tahtipulla a leavened pastry with a spiced biscuit on top.

Christmas Markets

It’s time to leave again and in a short time Santa Claus reaches his next stop: Poland Christmas markets, each with its own peculiarities!

In Gdansk Santa Claus loves the Advent Door with a big calendar where people open a window every day. Walking between Dlugi Targ and Ulica Dluga, the pedestrian streets overlooked by some of the most beautiful buildings in the city and the Polish pierogi ( filled pasta, sweet or savory) as well as Gdańsk waffles (wafle gdańskie).

In Krakow the Christmas market is in the Market Square, the largest medieval square in Europe together with the Renaissance Cloth Market (Sukiennice). Santa Claus always buys a slice of Kremowka. That’s a dessert with two layers of crunchy puff pastry and a vanilla cream top.

In Wroclaw the wooden stalls are located among the colorful buildings of the central square, where you can meet the gnome Prezentus (“Little Gift”) who grants all your wishes if you touch his hat three times, perhaps tasting the pierniki, spiced biscuits with honey, prepared for the occasion in the shape of the historic buildings. Sometimes Santa Claus sneaks into the “Fairytale Grove”, where people perform fairy tales with a musical background.

Warsaw‘s Christmas illuminations are the largest in Poland and are also one of the most fascinating in Europe. But Santa Claus especially loves to attend the Chopin concert every day in the historic center.

Santa in the Schwarzwald

The journey goes on, with the sleigh speeding through the stardust while our “Travel Babber” sings Christmas carols, until he sees the towering silhouettes of the Schwarzwald’s spruce trees, the Black Forest, a source of inspiration for the Brothers Grimm!

Santa Claus loves fairy tales, that reads sitting in front of the crackling fireplace! His favorite ones are those of Grimm and when is possible he stops in Freiburg in search of a special edition for his collection! In fact, here you can find the historic Rombach bookshop, one of the first large bookshops in Germany, founded in 1936. It is a traditional family business in Freiburg where qualified, experienced and creative booksellers work. The Rombach bookshop defines itself as the “home of stories and gifts”, for reading, listening and seeing.

Before leaving the Black Forest behind, Santa Claus makes his entrance at Cafè Schäfer in Triberg that preserves the original Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte’s recipe, the Black Forest Cake, with chocolate, Chantilly cream and cherries.

The Stubai Valley

Santa Claus has almost reached his destination and still has some time to stop in the Stubai Valley! He wants to buy some carving knives to make some wood carvings, one of his favorite hobbies!

Steel forging in the Stubai Valley has a very ancient tradition. In 1400 some artisan forgers were already operating in Fulpmnes and in 1897 some Master Forgers formed a consortium. The knives are all forged by hand and are made from special carbon steels.

This time no further stops are planned! Santa Claus is ready to deliver the gifts, already thinking about his next adventure!

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