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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Christkindlemarkets!

Our first sausage of the Nuremberg Christkindlemarket

The weekend was lovely to get out of ice-fog Prague and into Germany. On our list was Nuremberg and Dresden. The objective: sausages and gluhwien; kuchen; shopping.

We took a direct bus from Prague to Nuremberg early Saturday, and dropped our bags in the RR locker so we could explore while the light was good. Nuremberg is a pretty town with lots of historic buildings, including churches and two castles (Kaiser’s Imperial and some Duchal).

The Kaiser's Imperial Castle sits atop Nuremberg's hights

The smell of sausage and mulled wine was in the air at every turn. This was Saturday, and the Germans were in a shopping blitzkrieg. We had no mission other than wandering and enjoying, pictures and food. I had my first sausage at 2 o’clock! The key to Christmas markets is to pick up the local sausage with the local hot-wine mug. There are several varieties of mugs to choose from. All you have to do is lay down some euros and walk away with a hot alcoholic beverage and its mug souvenir.

Our self-portraits are becoming a story in themselves

The stalls were open and business was busy. There was a series of stalls that sold fresh cookies, cakes, and other pastries. Just looking at it made your pancreas shudder! The ginger cookies (smothered in dark, milk or white chocolate) were tender and flavored to perfection. Very good with hot wine, too!!

The gluhwien mugs are collector's items

With the light yet bright, we walked up to the Kaiser’s Imperial Castle, a nice walk through some old architecture (I’ve lived in Europe 6 of 7 year, so if you’ve seen one castle, you’ve pretty much seen them all ;-)) On our walk down, we came across Albrech Durer’s house, in which he lived while creating some of his most famous artworks.

The sausage vendors had enough heart-stopping varieties to feed an wermacht

We walked out as night had fallen, and went to the train station to collect our bags and get to the hotel, a few stops on the U-bahn. ArtHotel is a great little chain that has comfy, clean and warm(ish) rooms. After a little rest, we went back to the market. At night, the Christkindlemarket gets rolling. Groups of wine-happy Germans stood around, laughing, smoking, and sprechen the Deutche.

The opening weekend at Nuremberg Christkindlemarket

People packed the aisles in Nuremberg’s main square. Most were tipsy, to say the least, and the stalls were perfectly lit for browsing. You can buy everything from do-it-yourself nativity sets to winter hats/gloves, and miniature pieces for doll houses to African-Indian products. There were far more sausage (and other food) stalls and gluhwien stalls than all the others.

Here I'm eating a steak sandwich with my mug of gluhwein

We left before closing so we could get a good night’s sleep. We’d been walking for 8 hours. Back at the hotel, a good shower and warm comforters made the night blissful.

We caught an 8.30 train to Dresden. The ride wound through hills and forests. It was jumbly and too sunny, and we were glad to get off. Dresden has the oldest Christkindlemarket, started in 1430. What sets Dresden apart from Nuremberg is its decorated stalls, which show some kind of diorama atop the roof.

Dresden has the oldest Xmas market, beginning in 1430

We got pictures of Santa, snowmen, chimney sweeps, nativity, giant sausages, and snow-laden houses. (see below for the full array)

We walked through Dresden and across the river, where we had a nice lunch in a Deutche-only restaurant. Asia had the schnitzel; I had the swine medallions.  We then walked through the Dresden market, which stretched across the river and into the main square, and then onward toward the train station. Quite a fair.

Asia against the wal of Xmas decorations

Of course, after an early day of full-bore XmasMkts, we lasted about five hours here, and then we were done snaking our way through crowds, helping people smoke their cigarettes. So we decided to have a nice coffee and pastry at an indoor cafe close to the train station. Here we had fun going through our pictures, eating a slice of coffee cake the size of my arm, and watching videos of how Christmas pastries are made.

We caught the 7:08 train back to Prague, and had a compartment all to ourselves. This was really nice, because it’s like a room and comfortable and all our own.

These pastry balls are coated in flavors: Schneeball, Cocoladeball, etc

 

A nice statue-diorama in Nuremberg

 

The lights of Nuremberg came on early in 2011

 

Der Deutche Flagger Luft Higher, ja??

The last series shows the displays atop Dresden’s market stalls:

 

 

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