Christmas Markets, Antique Maps, Ripley Remake, Axolotls & More: Endnotes 08 December

Christmas Markets, Antique Maps, Ripley Remake, Axolotls & More: Endnotes 08 December

Friday, 8 December, 2023

Every Friday, we celebrate the weekend — and all the reading and relaxing and daydreaming time ahead — with Melissa's favorite book- and travel-related links of the week. Why work when you can read fun stuff?!

This post is part of our Endnotes series.


That glowing photo above is the Christmas market in Tallinn, Estonia. The Town Hall Square has been lit up by a Christmas tree since 1441, which they claim makes it the first Christmas tree ever displayed in Europe. The market also features gingerbread, warm holiday drinks, music, and pretty baubles to buy. Not able to get to Estonia anytime soon? You could visit Christmas markets in Canada, London, and Germany — or pick another destination from this list of Christmast markets around the world. For more holiday cheer, here are the 25 best Christmas towns in the US and a list of spectacular holiday light displays around the world.

  • Get in the holiday spirit with this free online event that explores the history of Christmas and the classic poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas.’ On 13 December, historian and author Pamela McColl will trace two centuries of winter holiday traditions.

  • New inspiration to visit New York City — the ‘portable, affordable’ Japanese rice sandwich. ‘Ingredients tuck between layers of rice — a sliver of saba fish with a whisper of cheese, or cubed beef cloaked with pickled ginger — all bound in nori that holds a palm-sized dish that some call a sandwich. There are… umeboshi and boiled eggs to chicken karaage and a recreation of pork belly ramen with chicken ramen-flavored rice.’

  • Why not adopt a cute axolotl for Christmas?! (WaPo gift link)

  • Iris Murdoch wrote 26 novels — seven were nominated for a Booker Prize, and she won for The Sea, The Sea in 1978. Here’s a primer on where to start with this prolific author. (I’ve got The Nice and the Good — a story about ‘revenge and reconciliation, and the difference between being nice and being good’ — queued up as my next read.)

  • Wow! I would like to attend this Wolf Hall Weekend in June. It’s being held in a manor house!

  • The Guardian presents 25 literary treats to read this December.

  • The Best Winter Getaways for Thrill Seekers and Stargazers. The domed cabins at Métis Crossing in Alberta, Canada are so dreamy.

  • The Oculi Mundi site is an excellent (and interactive) place to lose a little time eyeballing antique world maps, celestial maps, atlases, globes, and books of knowledge. This on how to read old maps is a great place to start.

  • Take a ride through the French Pyrenees on the Train d’Artouste, the highest narrow-gauge railway in Europe. ‘During the train ride, the scenery unfolds to include pops of wild pink rhododendrons blooming in the green valley, mountain pine trees that grow at unexpected angles from the side of the cliff, cascading waterfalls, and chubby marmots that take no notice of us. The open-air experience amplifies the clicks and clacks of the train as it travels over the tracks, akin to a loud metronome keeping the beat throughout the journey.’


May you find delightful surprises around every corner.

Top image courtesy of Dmitry Sumin/Unsplash.

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Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got how to fall down a rabbit hole, David Tennant's Macbeth, magical winter getaways, the story of a haunted bookshop, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got the draw of a manor house, a graphic novel about the first woman on the moon, TV filming locations, secret passages, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a new Christie adaptation, a Three Pines podcast, a Wolf Hall read-along, the 26 most beautiful places in France, and more.

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