Europe For The Senses

Author/Photographer Vicki Liston blogs on her book and some interesting places she's traveled. "Europe for the Senses - A Photographic Journal" was published under the name 'Vicki Landes'.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Germany's Christmas Market

Although Germany’s frigid weather isn’t appealing to many travelers, its festive Christmas markets rope in holiday-loving tourists every December. Called ‘Weihnachtsmarkt’ in the country’s native tongue, these special bazaars range from spectacular productions in big cities to folksy and intimate occasions in the smaller towns and villages. Regardless of location and size, the markets promise an entertaining time as visitors explore the extent of the grounds.

Mingling aromas of hearty German delicacies, roasting chestnuts, and spiced glühwein fill the chilly air as the streets stay crammed with shoppers looking for the perfect gift. A visit during day lit hours is best for serious shopping but the dark evenings bring out the charm as the markets glow with the warmth of the colorful lights. Vendors offer an array of beautiful gifts for sale which plays in with the market’s theme. For example, many of the older towns can be dated back as far as the Middle Ages and the markets uphold their aged customs. Local craftsman bring their handmade goods of wood, metal, cloth, or glass. Larger cities wanting to please a wide spectrum of the population will offer both the old and more modern wares. In either case, traditional folk songs provide the perfect backdrop to this atmosphere seeping with holiday spirit.

Visiting is easy - simply check your desired destination’s website for dates, times, and venue. Most cities have one hosted at www.(city name).de and information can either be translated directly on the site by clicking ‘English’ or a flag or through the use of an online translation web page. Other information such as parking, public transportation schedules, or special events can also be obtained and planned around for the optimal market experience.

Ready to go? Here are some in and around Stuttgart (thanks, Lisa for the list!):

Ulm/Neu Ulm: 27 Nov - 22 Dec - on the Münsterplatz (A8 towards München)

Esslingen am Neckar: 28 Nov - 22 Dec - This one's a medieval market on the Marktplatz

Ludwigsburg: 28 Nov - 23 Dec - Baroque market on the Marktplatz

Reutlingen: 29 Nov - 22 Dec - around Marienkirche 11a - 8p

Stuttgart: 30 Nov - 23 Dec - on the Marktplatz and Schillerplatz

Schorndorf: 2 Dec - 17 Dec - on the Marktplatz

Bad Urach: 8 Dec - 10 Dec

Felbach: 8 Dec - 19 Dec - market with fairytale forest around Rathaus and Eislaufbahn ice skating

Herrenberg: 8 Dec - 10 Dec - on the historic marktplatz

Sindelfingen: 9 Dec - 10 Dec - on the Marktplatz

Tübingen: 9 Dec - 10 Dec - at the Bebenhausen Monastery from 11am to 6p

Tübingen: 15 Dec - 17 Dec - in historic old city

Schönaich: 16 Dec - 17 Dec - around the Bürgerhaus


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