Nebel hängt wie Rauch ums Haus,
Drängt die Welt nach innen.
Ohne Not geht niemand aus,
Alles fällt in Sinnen.
Leiser wird die Hand, der Mund,
Stiller die Gebärde.
Heimlich, wie auf Meeresgrund
Träumen Mensch und Erde.
|Misty grey view from the train near Ulm|
In spite of that, both Stuttgart and München were ablaze with colour and light. Why? Because of their Christmas markets.
Having been here twice before I didn't need to refer to maps, this year. The market stalls were in familiar places too. I knew where to go for the chocolate dipped fruit on skewers, and where the talking / singing moose's head would be. They refer to the moose as a norwegischer Elch, in Stuttgart. I bought some little decorations carved from southern German trees for Christmas presents. The childrens' skating rink was in operation, as before. DAS FINNISCHE WEIHNACHTSDORF was still there, beside Stuttgart's Altes Schloss, with strips of salmon being smoked on an open fire, and a very long-bearded Finnish Santa in person too, greeting the visiting children ... and me.
organ recital. Orgelmusik zum Weihnachtsmarkt is played there every day till December 24th, good value at €2.50: on December 2nd, a female organist (Lara Schaffner) played a Bach prelude, a Pastorale by a composer I'd never heard of called Gerard Bunk, and some variations by Mendelssohn.
I found some lunch at the top of Karstadt, one of the big department stores, and carried on shopping. On my way back to the Sindelfingen train, I passed a lively group of five buskers singing in parts, maybe a Romani family, I'm not sure. They were certainly good musicians, attracting an appreciative crowd.
On December 4th while Chris was at his meetings in the northern suburbs, I had less than two hours to spare in Munich before my train was due to depart. Chris and I had been to explore and find (a gourmet vegetarian) supper downtown the night before, a thoroughly atmospheric scene, but I did want to see the city by daylight as well. It exudes prosperity, offering a wide variety of cultural experiences from opera or ballet to a modern German version of The Importance of Being Ernest, here entitled Bunbury.
|Mini Frauenkirche above a market stall|
turning left to visit the Frauenkirche, Munich's cathedral (one of its giant towers covered in wraps), doing a quick circuit of the Marienhof––more market stalls there!––and so back to Marienplatz where the 5 storey bookshop Hugendubel is. I didn't find what I was looking for there (the Heimat DVD) but did find it later that day in Stuttgart's branch of Hugendubel. Then back past the Munich skating rink, across (or under) Karlsplatz to the Hauptbahnhof; I'd left my suitcase in one of the Schließfächer there. My train to Stuttgart left at 11:30. I climbed on near the front.
I have more pictures and descriptions of Stuttgart and Munich in the albums on my Facebook page.