It’s been more than a week since your humble blogger returned from the Windy City, but since we took our trip in the middle of the holiday season, it meant that I had to jump back into the thick of things as soon as I got back, producing new radio shows and writing PopCult.

However, since this week our radio is all spoken for, and I’ve had time to rest up from the trip (and take another short one-in fact), this week we’ll be playing catch-up and with a couple of posts devoted to our Chicago hijinks.

Today that means a quick photo essay about our trip to the Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza. It’s a cool thing that many other cities try to copy, but nobody does it like Chicago. Not every city has a 40-foot tall Picasso sculpture to watch over the dozens of vendors.

Without any further ado, and with long captions to describe each photo, let’s just dive in, shall we?

This is the main entrance. Pro-tip: Don’t wait in line for them to open this one. There are three other entrances and if you get there right when they open, it’s way quicker to go to one of those.

This is Bob’s Belgian, which was, until we discovered Lavazza at Eataly, the best hot chocolate I’d ever tasted. It’s still a very close second.

The problem with running this photo is that now I really want a pretzel stuffed with spinach and feta, and I’ve never seen them for sale anywhere around here.

More of the dozens of tiny booths that fill Daley Plaza. We’ll peer into some for a closer look in a moment.

Yeah, you don’t get to go in there if you’re watching your carb intake.

I’ve never actually set foot in this store, which we see every year. I’m afraid it might smell like wolf farts.

Even more vendors, I think these are all food folks, behind the Picasso.

This guy had tons of cool nesting dolls from Ukraine. I think they were from Russia two years ago.

Sadly, this vendor was not next to a hot dog vendor. Missed a natural co-marketing plan there.

Mel’s FiestaWare collection made us immune to the siren song of this vendor.

Oodles more ornaments, in this case at particularly high prices. I’m surprised they didn’t charge me just to take the picture.

Once a mere two-day pop-up booth, Krampus is now represented full time with his own line of holiday goodies.

The side of the Krampus booth was decorated with this jolly, holiday decor.

These folks have the cool little wooden ornaments that kick up their legs when you pull the thing hanging down between them. I promised Mel that I wouldn’t go any further with that joke.

These wooden dragon and gargoyle sculptures were stunning to see, but intimidating to consider bringing home on the train.

These folks had cool laser-etched build-your-own-intricate-thing kits.

Finally we have to visit Mel’s favorite stop, Frank’s Ornament House…

…it’s filled with thousands of beautiful glass bulb ornaments….

…this is just a tiny sampling of them. This is a big reason why, eventually, Mel and I are going to have to start putting up multiple trees.