Friday, November 26, 2010

German Christmas Markets

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America and as we are currently living in Germany, we weren’t able to spend it with family as we would have liked to. So what did we do?

Well, I wanted to see the new Harry Potter movie and it was playing in Nuremburg. We had friends that asked us over to celebrate with them. So, we went to the first showing of the movie (and had a private showing) and then went to our friends’ house.

While we were in Nuremburg, we noticed that they were setting up for the Christmas market there. It started this afternoon.

If you’ve ever been to Germany in late November into December, you’ve probably been to one. If you haven’t, these are a tradition and most large cities have one and most smaller cities have a variation. Some people even plan vacations to Germany to coincide with the Christmas markets.

Christkindl markt as they are called here, are booths set up all over the pedestrian zone of the city. The booth vendors are a combination of food and goods.

Gluhwein (pronounced glue-vine) is a mulled red wine that vendors throughout the market sell. It’s common for people to sip this warm drink while exploring the offerings. There are other variations, such as a cherry gluhwein or a spiked apple punch.

Then there is the food. There isn’t much that isn’t offered. Sausages of all kinds, toasted nuts, pastries and other baked goods, schneeballens (from Rothenburg, if you remember that post), chocolate covered fruit, fruit bread, and lebkuchen (laib-kookin), which is a Christmastime specialty consisting of a gingerbread-like tasting cookie that is soft and chewy. It’s really good and hubby loves them.

As for the goods, they run the gamut. Handmade Christmas ornaments, advent candles, other Christmas decorations, pottery, jewelry, slippers, handbags, leather goods, things carved from wood, just about anything.

It feels a lot like walking the fairgrounds at a county fair in the States. They are a lot of fun and last year, we went to several. In doing so, we learned that not all Christmas markets are created equal. So this year, we have a plan.

We’re limited because we’re heading to Texas for the holidays and because hubby has to work one weekend. So, tomorrow I’m heading to Regensburg. They actually have two going on. There’s one in the pedestrian zone and one on the castle grounds. It was really nice last year, so we’re hitting that one again.

On the second weekend of December, we’re heading back to Nuremburg. We only did a quick pass-through last year and only saw a small bit. It seemed really nice and since then, I’ve been told they have one of the nicer markets. The following weekend, if possible, we’re going to try to hop over to Rothenburg. They are kind of the Christmas capital of Germany. We may have to wait until next year for that one.

So I’ll be taking some pictures tomorrow and at the other markets and sharing later in December. Have you been to the Christmas markets in Germany? What did you think? Would you plan a vacation around them?

Hope you all had a great turkey day yesterday and a fun weekend coming up!

9 comments:

Lyndsey Davis said...

Sounds scrumptious. I'm wishing I could be there, but your post is the next best thing. Wonderfully visual.

Suzanne said...

You triggered some great memories! I was fortunate enough to be in the Munich / Salzburg / Innsbruck areas on a couple of winter trips, and I have wonderful memories of going into little out-of-the-way places, half-frozen, and warming up with Gluhwein. I even brought a stash of the mix home with me. Wish I had some now!

Gale Stanley said...

Sounds like great fun, especially the idea of walking around sipping wine. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures.

Vonnie Davis said...

A very interesting post. My step-son lives in Berlin. Now I can imagine a market there that our daughter-in-law would zip through in her hurried Berlin walk, bundled up as she always is in wintertime.

RL said...

I want to go!!
My landlord lives in Germany and last year she sent us a box of candy. It was in a beautiful wooden box and the candy was all weird flavors like edelwiess! We sampled them all but didn't find any that compared with the American idea of candy. Nothing was sweet adn several flavors were liquor inspired. Very different :)
Have a safe flight home and a great time in Texas! Tell Shelly I said hey :)

Linda Morris, Romance writer said...

I've always wanted to go to one of these. This year, we found out that Chicago (Daley Plaza) hosts a Christkindl with German vendors who fly over for the month. It's only a 2 1/2 hour drive, so I'm hoping we'll be able to fit it in.

Shaiha said...

I lived in Germany for 8 years and one thing that I really miss are the christkindls. I used to really love the one in Aachen.

StephB said...

Riley, awesome blog about the Christmas Markets. I was stationed in Germany in 1986-88, 1989-1992, and 1995-97 I loved going to the Markets. I have a picture of me at the markets over on LK Hunsaker's blog today. I loved gluhwein! I would love to go back and show my children. Rothenburg is so lovely and totally captures the ambience of Germany. Thanks for stiring up some good memories.

Smiles
Steph

Jack said...

I was at the German Christmas markets last week. Just loved it, I was in Berlin and they had so many different markets running through out the city. Initially I was planning to go there for Oktoberfest but couldnt make it. Would really love to go back.

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