Christmas markets No. 8: What the others are showing us

I want to finish the christmas market series by sowing you what the others are telling you about Christmas treechristmas markets and to inspire you to plan a trip around Europe during the next Christmas season (as you most likely won’t be able to check them out this year any more).

And now there is nothing left to say than wishing you all a very merry christmas!

Christmas markets No. 7: Freiburg

And again I am very lucky to have Ulrike voluteering to write a second christmas market report for me. She is a friend from back then in school and, you might notice that, she is currently doing her PhD in English linguistics. Check also her report on Mainz.

Freiburg Christmas market in a nutshell: Not worth mentioning!

Freiburg Christmas MarketWhile Freiburg can be a kind of other-worldly beauty around Christmas (think cobbled alleys, dollhouse-style houses, children singing at every corner, lovely decorations and snow-capped hills in the background) the Christmas market feels like a bad share-ware add-on. Choose between so crowded you are hoarse cursing before you’ve even got your first wine and so draughty your Flammkuchen is cold by the time you’ve pulled it from the counter.

And *insert tone of complete incredulity here*: The mulled wine is rotten bad! This is a sodding wine-growing area, mere minutes away from Continue reading

Christmas markets No. 6: Darmstadt

This will be my last post on a Christmas market that I visited. But it will not be the end of the series. Two more post are going to follow. But now to my hometown Darmstadt:

Christmas Market in Darmstadt and the old Town HallAt least since we’ve all not been living in Darmstadt anymore it has become a tradition among my friends  – and well, were are not the only ones – to meet old friends on the 23rd of December on the Christmas market in Darmstadt. Going there is always full of good memories of being home. So just to check that I went to Darmstadt’s Christmas market last Saturday. Ok, to be honest, it was a rainy afternoon, not dark and therfore more cosy, not snowy. But even with better weather you probably can’t describe this market as a must see. Continue reading

Christmas markets No. 5: Mainz

I am very lucky to have another friend voluteering to write two more christmas market reports for me. This is the first one from Ulrike, a friend from back then in school and, you might notice that, she is currently doing her PhD in English linguistics. Stay tuned for her report on Freiburg’s Christmas market. But first we start we Mainz.

Mainz Christmas market in one word: jam-packed!

Mainz Christmas market

Apparently any reason to flock the streets is welcome here: carnival, farmers’ market, Christmas market, you name it. Despite having to share the experience with any teen, twen and their granny, the Christmas market is actually very nice – sorry, am ever the Christmas market sceptic, but we’ll get to that. The city really made an effort: The market stretches across three squares across the centre of town, from Höfchen to Rheinstraße, all the way along the cathedral. There’s lots of decoration, over-sized Christmas pyramids, gigantic angels and an entire life-sized manger. Alleys are wide – though nowhere near enough to hold Friday evening crowds – Mainz Christmas marketthe usual bric-a-brac on sale isn’t too bad (no immediate eye-cancer scares) and (come on, who goes to a Christmas market for anything else): The mulled wine is good!!

This being a wine-growing region, rumour has it there are even stalls where what you get is actually heated vineyard-quality wine which you then sweeten yourself: non-sweet = non-bad  + non-headache, so always appreciated here. We never made it there, though, but anything I had was a fair deal above average bottled, super-market quality mulled red sugar water.

Somewhere hidden right in the middle of the market (yeah, that’s an oxymoron right there) is this nice largish square (and my orientation’s reputation’s not getting any better here – no idea how I missed that the first Mainz Christmas market Fireplacetime round) with wooden flooring, surrounded by massive kegs you can rent for the evening so that you basically have your own room. Try early, you won’t be the only one who wants to combine drinking and keeping their feet dry. Though for anyone who could not get their bid in for a roof (keg!) over their head, there’s a huge fire in the middle.

So unless you (me) go with a massive back-pack (nuts) filled with an office-load full of technical equipment (nerd) and have to spend the evening dodging people running into your pack or (probably imaginarily) trying to steal your kit, Mainz Christmas market is actually a good place to spend a snowy December evening.

Christmas market: No. 3: Bochum

Bochum Medieval Christmas marketI just realised, I never published No. 3… See where Christmas stress is leading me…

Bochum is not especially known for its christmas market. Well Bochum is not know especially for anything beautiful to be honest. It is deep in the heart of the Ruhr region and therefor in an area that used to be heavily indusrialised, coal minning and steel making. Nowadays things have gone a bit more quiet. But this gives you the chance to see a completely different side of Bochum. Like in most Ruhr region towns, the mainstation embarks at one end of the city center directly bordering the pedestrian precint. This means coming by train is a good choice (that is if you are not taking the same train as all the soccer fans that make their way through the area every weekend). Continue reading

Christmas market No. 4: Hamburg

As I was sick the last week, a friend of mine, Irena from alien heartbeats (check out her blog!) offered to go and do some christmas market hopping in Hamburg and put together her impressions in a guestposts. And what you’ll find here is most likely one of the most lovely blogposts and detailed information on Hamburgs christmas markets that you can find. Thank you so much Irena! But here we go:

Christmas Market Hopping in Hamburg

It’s not just Düsseldorf that’s renowned for its many authentic Christmas markets. Most larger cities in Germany offer a Hamburg - Santa Pauli Christmas Market - Mulled winewide variety where you can explore the twinkling streets and indulge in gingerbread, bratwurst and mulled wine.

And Hamburg is certainly no exception. In fact, Hamburg has so many Christmas markets that I doubt that I’ll ever have time to visit them all. So I have picked the four that seem the most representative for the diversity that awaits you in this extremely beautiful city. Continue reading

Christmas markets: No. 2: Essen

IMG_2012On my way to a friend’s birthday on the weekend I changed trains in Essen and used the chance to have a look at this years christmas market there.

Essen is known as a shopping city through out the Ruhr Region and was the “European Capital of Culture” in 2010 but actually the city center is not the nicest place buildingwise. Continue reading