My first actual winter, what a cool experience! (see what I did there? 😉 )
Christmas is just around the corner and it is getting cold here with snow falling pretty often. But throughout the country of Germany, there are many towns that host a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt). They are unlike anything I’ve seen in the U.S.
The whole town decorates for this one event during the Christmas season and they bring a good crowd to see the spectacle. There are many in Germany to go to and, so far, I’ve been to two: A Chocolate Festival in Tübingen and a Mittelaltermarkt/Weihnachtsmarkt (Middle Age Market/Christmas Market) in Esslingen (A suburb of Stuttgart).
I wanted to describe my experiences and show you how Germans celebrate the Christmas season in a very unique way.
In Tübingen last weekend there was a chocolate festival, which is pretty well known throughout Baden Württemberg and occurs every year in the beginning of December. They have so many varieties of chocolate here ranging from chocolate liqueur to hot chocolate and fancy shaped chocolates (which were overpriced in my opinion).
As a chocolate lover myself I went almost every day the festival took place, and the chocolate was unlike anything I’ve had before. I ordered a Hot Chocolate and it was literally just chocolate melted and put in a cone, which definitely was one the best things I’ve had since being in Germany. While this was not really an official Weihnachtsmarkt (the real one in Tübingen starts this weekend), it was still a great experience to go check it out and start experiencing my first German Christmas.
Earlier today I went to the Mittelaltermarkt/Weihnachtsmarkt in Esslingen, which is famous throughout all of Baden Württemberg to be the best Christmas market in the state. This is a traditional Christmas Market, with a Middle Ages twist added to it. Walking around you see many cool shops selling alcohol in potion bottles as well as really good woodwork that I wanted to buy and take home so bad. Also at the market they have shops where you can shoot arrows at a target, some rides for children and a petting zoo with goats.
From what I saw today this is defiantly the best Christmas-themed place I have ever visited, and it really got me in the Christmas spirit.
There are two drinks that are traditional at the Weihnachtsmarkt, Glühwein and Mead. Glühwein is a hot wine drink that has Christmas spices inside, which make it sweet but not overly so. As weird as it sounds to drink hot wine, the nice part about it is that it warms you up when you walk around in the cold. It is something I highly recommend trying if you ever visit a Christmas market — in fact, it’s tradition to have a cup while at one.
The other beverage, mead, is a hot beer drink with honey inside. It has a similar taste to Glühwein with it being a little sweeter. This is also something I highly recommend trying, as it is one of the oldest beer recipes in Germany.
Other than the Christmas markets, things are really picking up for me! I have exams and projects to present this week and I finish classes next Wednesday for about a two week break.
From Dec. 21-27, I leave to go to Scandinavia to explore Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Tallinn, Estonia. I will be posting a blog once I get back from this trip to tell you about my Christmas in Scandinavia, so stay tuned for my next post in a couple ofweeks!
Until next time, Tschüss!