Winter has arrived in Budapest, and with it snow, cold, and the Christmas holiday. These past few days it has snowed everyday leaving a crisp blanket of white snow across the city. Apparently they do not shovel or clear the sidewalks or streets, which leaves the snow to become slushy and dirty, and leaving my feet wet and cold. Yet, the snow has added the perfect touch to the Christmas fervor that has swept in. Hungary has braced the American capitalist marketing scheme and has already brought the Christmas fever to Budapest. In store windows hang ornaments. Christmas trees are lit up in windows, city squares, and in building entrances. Post lamps and buildings are decorated with sparkling lights and evergreen garlands. Christmas music plays from all corners of the city and Christmas carolers are found in many of the city squares. The Christmas markets, the ultimate Christmas activity, have gone up in numerous parts of the city, the largest lying right around the corner from my university. Though not as grand and large as the Viennese Christmas market, the Vörösmarty tér Christmas market holds it own charm. Stalls are set up selling ornaments, nutcrackers, crafts, drinks, and food. We fill our mugs with warm glühwein (hot German mulled wine) and grab hot bowls of goulash soup. Hungarian sausages roast on the fire along with pigs, chickens, and grilled vegetables. Mixed with the savory smell of roasting meats is the sweet smell of kalács (Hungarian sweet bread) roasting over the fire and then sprinkled with vanilla sugar, walnuts, or cinnamon sugar. Chestnuts roast on the fire as well - brings a whole new meaning to the lyrics "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.." - and gingerbread cookies line the shelves painted as Hungarian ornaments. Christmas bliss at its best. Happy Holidays.