Sunday, February 06, 2011

Observations from Germany: Christmas and Christmas Markets (Wiehnachtsmarkt)

Sorry for the delay in getting this out, but until recently we did not have a fast Internet connection.

In Germany from late November until just before Christmas they have Christmas Markets in a lot of the cities. In Germany they are called Wiehnnachtsmarkt. I believe this translates into Holy Night Market. On a side note:  In Germany Christmas is really celebrated on the evening of the 24th. The Weinnachtsman (Santa) comes and delivers gifts, and tells the children what they should do better on the following year (clean room, no fighting with siblings, etc) on the 24th. Everyone opens their gifts on the evening of the 24th.

We visited four of them before Christmas: Stuttgart, Mainz,Frankfurt, and Esslingen, The one in Esslingen was partially shutdown as we went on the 23rd, but we will count it anyway. 

This is a picture of a department store window in Stuttgart that had a very impressive display of Legos in a Christmas theme.

At the Markets they serve a beverage called Gluwein. This picture is from Stuttgart. It is usually red wine that has had spices and sometimes rum added to it. It is then heated to the temperature of molten lava and served in a coffee cup. When you order one you pay for the the Gluwein (about 2 to 3 Euros) and the mug(a deposit/pfand of 2 to 3 euros). If you decide not to keep the mug/glass, then you turn it back in and get your money back. This is a deceptively powerful drink, about two of these is all you need. Anymore than that and you might sleep through Christmas.

At the markets they have lots of booths set up where you can buy all kinds of stuff. Usually Christmas related, toys, candy, cookies.
 At Stuttgart they have set up a large area where they have toy trains, and running through it is a steam train that the kids could ride. It was really cool!

In Stuttgart Cindy got a treat called a Kartoffel Puffer mit Apfel Muss. This was basically deep fried mashed potatoes with apple sauce. It was really good

This picture is from the Christmas market in Mainz. It was somewhat smaller that the others, but probably my favorite as it was not very crowded and very pretty. 

Cindy, Spencer and Owen in Mainz by the 5 story Christmas decoration.

Another Picture from Mainz.
The picture below left is from Esslingen. It very old city near Stuttgart(middle ages). Cindy took this picture of the old church in town. It turned out really well.
Below is a picture in a wine bar in Mainz after our Christmas market visit. We are eating Spudekas'. Which they serve with onions and pretzels. You can see from the expression on Spencer's face, it is to die for.

When we got up on Christmas morning it had snowed about 10-12 inches, yea white Christmas. This is a lot of snow, but it Stuttgart, it pretty much locked the place up tight. The streets are so small and tight, they have nowhere to push the snow. So, we had a relaxing Christmas and never left home all day.
See terrace below.