I’ve always enjoyed the lead up to Christmas more than the actual holiday, and this year I convinced Lance that we needed to go to Germany for the Christmas markets, which I had read so much about. Fortunately, he agreed, and so off we went. This was another one of those non EarthCruiser holidays (although it would have been a fantastic EarthCruiser adventure) where I could revel in meals cooked for me and housework that I didn’t need to do.
This visit we decided we’d stay north so we headed off to Cologne, our first market on our first night! Cologne is known for its Cathedral, but the main market is in (ironically) market square. It was … festive. It was cold, there were evergreen trees and lights, and there was mostly food and, of course, gluhwein. It was a place where people came together to see their friends and just hang out. It was just Christmassy in a really good way. Just for the record, there were three markets in Cologne, and we visited all of them!
So we jumped into the tradition and had a gluhwein and a sausage – each market has its own gluhwein ‘cups’ which at the time I didn’t know, so we collected our first set and did the rounds of the stalls of ornaments and cold weather gear.
After the first night, it was easy to get Lance to go to more markets in every town that we visited, as long as I got him a gluhwein and a sausage – and I really never got bored with them because it was the festive social experience that I really wanted. That said, I did have favorites…I, and I think I can speak for Lance too, loved Lubeck. The city was quaint and just special to walk around. There were again several Christmas markets, one completely devoted to an eating and drinking experience in a romantically lit man-made evergreen forest. I think it was Lubeck where we figured out we could ‘rent’ the gluhwein cups and that white gluhwein with a shot of rum was pretty good! One of Berlin’s markets- on CharlottenStrasse- was magical. The white lights, the Christmas music, and the wine (real!) and charcuterie plate was fantastic. We tried every sausage available and other local specialties as each town always had something different from the last. And yes, although there is a lot of Chinese-made Christmas ‘stuff’, there was also some really nice handmade Christmas ornaments and other festive holiday decorations that I did have to bring home with me.
In all, I think we went to 12 different Christmas markets, and except for a couple, all were well worth the experience, although I really can’t drink any more gluhwein! If you want a really festive, Christmassy experience, then I highly recommend the German Christmas market scene.