Europe is the place to be over the Christmas season. Starting the beginning of November, Christmas markets have been going on around the area. Since we are stationed at an international base, we were lucky to be able to visit Christmas markets from our friends in Canada, Germany and Italy.
We decided we would spend a weekend visiting one of the most famous Christmas markets, The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany.
Our hotel was located right near the subway station in Fuerth, which takes you right to the market (this was good, because parking would have been a nightmare). The market features 180 wooden booths all selling handmade Christmas decorations, yummy gingerbread, plum people, Nuremberg sausages and mulled wine (gluhwein).
Here are some photos from the market:
Here is Ava on her first train ride ever. She also had her first bus ride on this trip. She really enjoys interacting with new people while we are traveling. She is especially mesmerized when people speak to her in a language besides English.
We met this kind man on the train. He lives outside our stop and he walked with us for a while to show us some places to check out and eat. His backpack doesn’t include a baby:)
The market has strict rules regarding who can set up a booth inside. But, outside the market there were several other booths selling produce, meats, cheeses, olives and things that are available inside the market, but cheaper (like Gluewine and gingerbread, which we bought outside the market). By the way, the gingerbread sold at the market is the best I have ever had and I may or may not have eaten an entire loaf by myself.
We started our market adventure right here, at the Gluhwein stand. This one was not a particular favorite, but it was outside the market so it was cheaper. The best way to have your Gluhwein, in my opinion, is with a shot of Amaretto added. Perfection. When you get your Gluhwein for the first time you pay a 2.50 Euro deposit for a mug. You just bring your mug back throughout your time for refills (you still pay for the wine, just not the deposit). Each year the market designs a mug that all the vendors use. Some of the markets also had previous year’s mugs, so we got one of those too. They make pretty cheap souvenirs. Here were the mugs:
The Nuremberg Christmas Angel welcomes you to the market. They actually choose a young woman, between 16 and 18 years of age to be the Christmas Angel. Her “reign” lasts 2 years and in addition to opening the market from the top of the Our Lady’s Church, she also visits children in schools and hospitals.
Nearby was the Kinderweignacht, which is the market for children (Kinder is children in German).We planned to go here on Saturday, but the crowds were insane. So, we missed out on the children’s market. This was a bummer because I really wanted to get a picture of Ava on the carousel. Here is picture of it from the Christmas Market’s website.
We spent most of our time walking through the market on Friday. It was empty on Friday compared to the mass crowds on Saturday This is a shot walking down from the Imperial Castle towards the market so you can get a small idea of how crowded it was (these are people walking out of the market).
I had to take a picture of the Nuremberg Bratwurst (I ate one every day and it was delicious). These are different from Brats in other parts of Germany because they re small, 7-9 cm to be exact and weigh about 20-25 g (about the size of a breakfast sausage in the US). They are grilled over beechwood fire and have a strong flavor of marjoram. They serve 3 sausages on a brioche roll with or without sauerkraut. I am kind of drooling on my computer as I think about this sandwich.
Adjacent to the Christkindlesmarkt is the International Christmas Market where you can find boots from the 14 sister cities of Nuremberg. Hey, this stuff looks familiar. It resembles stuff you will find at an elementary school holiday store. People must think all Americans eat is junk food…oh wait.
Here are some pictures from Fuerth (this is where we stayed) and the Imperial Castle. The castle was originally built sometime between 1050 and 1150. It was partially destroyed during WWII and rebuilt.
The Imperial Castle
Thanks for reading. From our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.