It's a place where all ages can enjoy the holiday spirit and possibly pick up a few gifts while they are soaking in the said Christmas spirit. This year I knew we had to make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Christmas markets (or so they say). Germany. I decided that for this adventure, we would rent a car a take a tour through Germany to get a good feel for the country, not just one city. This was such a great idea (yay me)! We ventured through Dusseldorf, Cologne and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. In our trusty Kia, we hit the Autobahn full speed to experience what the German Christmas Markets had to offer!
Our first stop; Dusseldorf, or as Van likes to call it, Dumbledorf.
Dusseldorf was the perfect first stop for our introduction to the Christmas Market scene. We stayed at the Melia, within walking distance to the markets, and it was nice to be away from all of the crowds. After lunch and a nap, we headed into town to see what the fuss was about. As it was a Friday, the markets weren't too terribly crowded. Dusseldorf has 6 markets all within walking distance. The good thing was that the markets were near plenty of restaurants and bars so we were able to stop off and take multiple breaks as it was raining almost all night.
What we ate and drank in Dusseldorf....
Potato Pancakes w/ garlic sauce (Kartoffelpuffer)....my favorite!!!
Red and White gluwhein
Van's attempt to take my picture at the end of the night!!
Ok, good enough haha!!
Cologne's Christmas markets were fantastic and much bigger than Dusseldorf's. There were actually 8 markets I believe. It was raining fairly hard in the afternoon when we arrived at the Alter Markt, the biggest market next to the Cologne Cathedral. Unfortunately, I only got two pictures of the Cathedral because I was ready to get out of the cold rain. Blogger fail. Oh well, maybe there will be a next time!
We found a place to hide out for awhile until the rain died down and we headed to the Markt der Engel (Angel Market). This was my absolute favorite! The cream stalls with angels adorning them, the white lights, the festive crowd.....it was my market heaven.
Gabriel's stall was our stall of choice to get our gluwhein and beers. We even tried the Eierpunsch, which is a German Eggnog made with white wine. It was good, but we didn't order a second one.
I really enjoyed the Cologne markets, even though they were super crowded. After awhile, you didn't notice them anymore. We chatted with a lot of people throughout the night and we felt there was a very festive and happy mood. And the food, good gracious. We blew it out in Cologne.
What we ate and drank in Cologne
More gluhwein, red only this time
Red gluhwein with Jager
Waffles with powdered sugar and berries
Sauteed mushrooms with garlic sauce
More potato pancakes...this time with applesauce
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Our last stop took us to Rothenburg. Quaint, picturesque, romantic. Yep, all of that. This town should be on your list regardless of what time of year it is! I will be bringing you more on this unbelievable little city later but for now let's talk about the market.
Rothenburg is a small walled city and the markets were also small. There was one market through the city center. I liked how it wound it's way through the smaller streets which made it feel pretty cozy. The setting for this market can't be beat and it was pure magic at night.
Again, much mulled wine, sausages and beers were consumed!
Aren't they just magical? We really enjoyed the markets and I am so so so glad we were able to make it this year. Between bites of sausages and potato pancakes, I kept saying 'this is the best day ever'! It really was a great experience. My three tips for the markets:
Dress/Be prepared for the weather
Don't eat dinner-you will eat plenty at the markets
Be ready for crowds and embrace them
A few good resources for planning a German Christmas Market holiday:
And a few of my favorite bloggers- both give great personal accounts of the markets!
This is my last 'real' post before the Christmas travel and celebrations begin! I hope you all have a safe and stress free few days before the days spent with family. I know we are looking forward to it!
And here's a little blog hoppin' for your day
Welcome to BYOP! A bring your own type of event. Bring Your Own Post to be exact! Join us every Friday for an uncategorized link up.