blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Markets everywhere!

Stuttgart's Weihnachtsmarkt in the rain
There's even one in Cardiff these days. They had them in Paris, with stalls selling Christmas decorations from Alsace, roasted chestnuts, friandises, but the home of the Christmas Market concept is Germany and Austria. With centuries of previous experience to draw from, Stuttgart's Weihnachtsmarkt is very well put together, as is the equivalent one in and around the Marienplatz in Munich. They brighten up the short, dark, dull, damp days of Advent in those city centres (as do the umbrellas carried by the thousands of Christmas shoppers––a large number of whom seemed to be speaking Italian) and on December 7th and 9th gave me a target for my solo excursions. Deliberately travelling light I couldn't fit many extra purchases into my luggage, but if I'd wanted to, I could have spent a fortune at these colourful little stalls, with their displays of carved Christmas tree ornaments, beeswax candles, cuckoo clocks, Tyrolean Krippenfiguren, nutcrackers, glass balls and all kinds of winter clothing.

Candles for sale from a stall in Stuttgart
There's no shortage of things to eat when you need sustenance while wandering through these markets, with stalls or wooden Stuben offering

  • Baked apples (Bratäpfel)
  • Dates (frische Datteln) and "sweet" cherries
  • Roast almonds and chestnuts: gebrannte Mandeln und Maroni
  • Frische Waffeln
  • Game (Wildspezialitäten)
  • Currywurst mit Pommes Frites
  • and Steckerlfisch, big ones, sold and displayed on skewers

In Stuttgart I treated myself to some chocolate covered slices of mandarin and apple, also on a skewer. And of course there's the ubiquitous Glühwein, served in mugs so that you can warm your hands on it. I had some of that too, but in a posh place where I could sit down to make the most of it: a Hauspunsch at the chocolatier's, Maelu, on the Theatinerstrasse in Munich.

Wooden Christmas decorations on sale in Munich

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