Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas Markets in Germany

I enjoyed those pictures that I posted the other day of our trip to the Chicago Christmas Market so much, that I decided to put up some photos of a few more Christmas markets I've visited. Above is the medieval Christmas Market in Leipzig, Germany. What looks like little houses are really the booths where the merchandise is sold. Leipzig likes to bill itself as the oldest Christmas market in Germany, although it may not be. Leipzig is the town where J.S. Bach worked most of his life, so it makes a perfect Christmas visit. The medieval Christmas market should not be confused with the main Leipzig Christmas market.

To the left is the Christmas market in Jena, another city in east Germany. They were selling Christmas trees at the entrance to the market. German Christmas markets are probably so popular as it is warmer there than it is here! At the market itself there were a number of signs that said "We speak Russian." This market had the culinary oddity of Bockwurst and kale. It didn't cost too much and it tasted delicious! The portion was big enough for two of us.

To the right is the famous Dresden Streizel-markt. It is famous for stollen, the heavy sweet coffee cake with fruit that they also sell at the Chicago Christmas market. This is a very large market, and dates back to almost two centuries before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth! Dresden is a fantastic looking city, and well worth a visit despite the fact it has been destroyed repeatedly in war.

To the left is the Christmas market in the town of Fulda, which was an important garrison town during the Cold War era, right at the border of the old East Germany. Fulda is also a very interesting town visually, with fabulous churches and half-timbered buildings. The Christmas market is spread out over a large area and has a nice selection of reasonably priced goods offered by the merchants. It's the only Christmas market where I have ever seen outside heaters by some of the food and drink stands. They make a great drink here, the "Schneeman" (snowman) which is hot chocolate and rum with whipped cream. Yum! And it's easy to make at home, too.

At the Chicago Christmas Market, Germany promotes travel to their Christmas markets. That's where I got the idea to go. It's pretty easy. You can either take a bus tour, or just fly to Frankfurt and get on a high speed train right at the airport and go anywhere you wish! You can plan all your train travel (and even print out your ticket on your computer) and your hotel rooms at the Bahn website (in English--I don't speak German), where you also can find plenty of hotels right by train stations. The Christmas markets are within easy walking distance of the train station almost everywhere, and you can find all the information about dozens of markets at the Come to Germany website. When your vacation is over, you just get on a train back to the airport and catch your plane. Now how easy is that? If you take the family, you can give the trip--a week is plenty of time--instead of presents and stay out of malls entirely. That makes for a very pleasant holiday season!


Post a Comment

<< Home