Around this time last year, all of my friends started to take off for long weekends away to Germany. I was puzzled. What was so great about Germany during this bitter-cold time of year? I was a newbie to continental Europe, and hadn’t yet discovered the spectacular German Christmas markets that take place every holiday season.
A German Christmas market is a sight to behold. Hundreds of stalls are packed along narrow shopping streets and throughout big squares, creating cozy pop-up Christmas villages that sell a schmorgesborg of German food goodies, Christmas crafts, and warm dizzying drinks. It’s a big outdoor winter-wonderland party, where everyone stays warm by celebrating over a hot mug of mulled wine.
My confusion soon turned to envy, and I silently willed the next holiday season to arrive so I could experience this snug German tradition first-hand.
This past Friday, B and I packed our bags and snuck out of work a bit early. December had rolled around and it was finally Christmas market time! We popped up to Central Station, and in no time we were on the high speed train, cruising down to Germany.
However, as it was a bit late, our Friday night festivities were confined to the hotel room. This was perfectly fine, as we had splurged on an executive suite at a fancy-pants hotel. The lobby was crammed with over-the-top decadence – every surface was smothered in marble accents, lavish red carpets, and brilliant chandeliers.
When we opened the door to our room, we were royally-surprised to find a space fit for a sultan! Plush pillows, dark mahogany wood, and ornate moroccan decor transported us from frosty Germany to a rich and colorful scene from 101 Arabian Knights.
Why yes, I would stay here again!
We spent the evening lounging about in fluffy robes, drinking cheap champagne, and arguing over who got to christen the spa-tub first (we both won).
The next morning we lazed around, listening to music, reading up on local attractions, and getting ready for the day.
Luckily, our hotel was quite centrally located. We headed out, and after three minutes of brisk strolling, we were smak in the middle of all the Christmas fun!
We dodged through the market, taking in the sights, trying to decide where to go next and more importantly, what to eat first!
However, this was just a starter. We then moved on to crispy potato pancakes.
Loaded up with bags of gifts and goodies for the road, we headed back to the hotel for a bit of down time.
Relaxed and refreshed, it was time for Christmas market round two! Once again we bundled up and headed for the center. As we drew near, a giant-lit Christmas tree emerged on the horizon and grew and grew with every step we took. Up close, we were completely awe-struck.
This is the largest Christmas tree in the world – it towers above the surrounding infrastructure and dwarfs all nearby trees. In total, the tree is 45 metres tall and is made of over 1,700 individual fir trees! Completely glamoured by the awesome display, we happily made our way through the crowds in search of some warm gluhwein.
We stuffed up on currywursy, fried cheese, and nutella crepes.
And stumbled from stall to stall, drunk on wine and merriment.
We filled our mugs again and again, getting lost in the crowds and the holiday spirit.
We stumbled across a German-Christmas rock band.
Little by little, we noticed the lights turning off and the stalls shutting down – it was time to retire to our palace for the remainder of the evening. We picked up one last little snack.