Thursday, December 9, 2010

German Christmas Markets!

One of the best things about living in Germany in the wintertime 
is getting to go to the Christmas markets. 
Before moving here I had heard all about them from 
friends who lived here. 
I didnt know quite what to expect, but I couldnt wait to
start going to them! 
I've been to five now and I can say that they are
a lot like the wine festivals.
There are booths selling food, drinks & souvenirs. 
Each of the larger markets usually has something that 
makes it special or different from the rest, 
but in general, they are all about the same. 
I dont consider this a bad thing since I 
love going to them! 
Although each market sells some of the same things,
you can usually find something unique at every market.

My first Christmas market experience was in Baden-Baden.
J & I had been there before three years ago.
It's a gorgeous town, famous for it's spas.
The shopping and gardens are also big draws for tourists.

The Christmas market was on the walkplatz in the main shopping
district. I went the day after Thanksgiving with three
girlfriends. It was snowing and cold, but we had 
fun anyway!

Booths selling everything from hats to ornaments

Pretty walkway with hand painted glass "windows"

The above windows were so pretty, as most were, and then we saw this one....
I had to take a close up of what is supposed to be Baby Jesus. 
We couldnt stop laughing!
It looks like a small, naked man, not a baby! 
And his "pose" is so... suggestive!
We werent sure if this was intentional or not, but it was 
funny nonetheless.

The gorgeous casino in the background. It's the oldest casino in Germany
and very elegant. 

A very festive booth

Candy! Chocolate!

My favorite booth..... CHEESE! 

Cookies, jams, jellys

Advent calender

Gluhwein booth

Im not a fan of Gluhwein, which is basically
hot, spiced red wine.
Red wine is supposed to be room temperature
or even a bit chilled, not steaming hot, at least for me
to drink it.
I do however LOVE Kinderpunch which is usually
a mixture of apple cider, orange juice and spices, served steaming hot.
It tastes like spiced apple cider, but better! 

I love how the hotels and restaurants all get into the holiday spirit!

Snowy landscape

My next Christmas market was in Landstuhl, a town close to base.
It was a very small market and did not have very many booths.
I have to say that this one was a bit of a disappointment,
especially after Baden-Baden.
Sinter Klaas was there though and for 2 euro you could
have your picture made with him and
receive a Gluhwein.

 Later he put on his hat (looks like a bishop's hat doesnt it?) 
and handed out ginger cookies. 

 After the Landstuhl market we went to the market at 
Burg Lichtenberg. 
J & I have been to this castle before and 
I've been meaning to write up a post on it. 
It's a gorgeous old castle in a town called Kusel, 
which is only about 20 minutes from us.
This was a medieval market and while I didnt buy anything 
(but food), it was a very unique experience. 
The workers were all dressed in medieval dress and the 
souvenirs sold here were of the sword and chainmail 

Because it was SO cold that evening, I hated to 
take my gloved hands out of my pockets to take pictures, 
so I only have a couple. 
Here is my favorite one... 
It's some type of pastry, like a churro, that was cooked
over a coal fire and then rolled in sugar and cinnamon.

Last weekend J & I went to the Mannheim Christmas market. 
It is one of the largest markets in our region with over 200 booths!
We found some great Christmas presents and a
couple of things for ourselves.
We loved this market because it had such a large 
variety of things to buy. 
This is where I discovered my love of Kinderpunch 
and in fact, drank 3 cups! 

J says he loves going to these markets for the food alone.
You can usually sample everything before you buy
and we ended up sampling A LOT here! 
By far, the best thing that we ate here or at any market was 
the sandwich pictured above.
It was seriously amazing. 
We had some trouble understanding the vendor's English, 
but we're pretty sure that the bread and sauce on this 
sandwich are made from hemp seed. 
He said it was perfectly safe to eat and wouldnt affect us at all.
He was right and wrong. 
It was perfectly safe but it certainly did affect us- 
after we ate it we immediately wanted more! =)
It was delicious! 

We're hoping to go to a different market each weekend.
There are still so many that I want to see!
I hope everyone is having a good week! 
Happy Thursday! 


annoyed army wife said...

Oh my gosh, how flippin' fun! And, oh, the cheese booth would be my favorite, too! That baby Jesus was totally creepy, it's not just you that thinks that.

Casey said...

These seem absolutely lovely! I am jealous because we do not have anything like these in South Florida. Thank you so much for sharing!!!


sunshine said...

Once again just reading you post made me a little chilly with all that snow, but still love the snowy scenery, so pretty!
Those markets look awesome but it kind of makes sad that we do not anything event close to that around here... Loved the cheese booth too!

ALW said...

That window with the baby Jesus is HILARIOUS, and a bit creepy! I wish Italy had more Xmas markets! THey look like so much fun! I enjoyed the one we went to in Salzburg, which looks a lot like the ones in your pictures.

Sespi said...

Oh, that looks gorgeous! That makes me want to go to Germany at Christmastime...