German Christmas Market: Day One

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.

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IMG_0819In less than two hours we had arrived in Dortmund, home to one of Germany’s biggest Christmas markets and the world’s largest Christmas tree.

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.

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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.

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IMG_0825I couldn’t decide if the room was tacky or tasteful, until I found Haribo on my pillow.

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Why yes, I would stay here again!

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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).

IMG_0843The next morning we lazed around, listening to music, reading up on local attractions, and getting ready for the day.
IMG_0872Luckily, 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!

IMG_0926We found ourselves immersed in a sea of people, surrounded by vibrant colors and rich, seasonal smells.

IMG_0918IMG_0915IMG_0935We dodged through the market, taking in the sights, trying to decide where to go next and more importantly, what to eat first!

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IMG_0932IMG_0944We opted for giant wurst sausages, served on crispy bread rolls and slathered in ketchup and mustard.

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Condiments were easily dispensed from giant tubs – suspended from the ceiling!IMG_0907

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However, this was just a starter. We then moved on to crispy potato pancakes.

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And creamy jacket potatoes.IMG_0988Absolutely stuffed, we walked it off, popping into random shops and stalls along the way.

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Loaded up with bags of gifts and goodies for the road, we headed back to the hotel for a bit of down time.

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We lifted our feet, soaked in the tub, and finished up the champagne.
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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. IMG_1098

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.

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IMG_1088Served in little snowman cups, gluhwein is a deadly delicacy. One mug and you’re light headed, two and you’re fuzzy as a sweater.

IMG_1102We smartly paced ourselves, indulging in food as well as drink.

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We stuffed up on currywursy, fried cheese, and nutella crepes.

IMG_1108And stumbled from stall to stall, drunk on wine and merriment.

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We filled our mugs again and again, getting lost in the crowds and the holiday spirit.

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We stumbled across a German-Christmas rock band.

IMG_1190And just when we thought the night couldn’t get any better, it started to snow!!

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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.

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IMG_1240And then hurried home, slipping and sliding along the way – ready for another day of Christmas market adventures to come!

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19 thoughts on “German Christmas Market: Day One

  1. Wow!! I think I might have to go to Germany next year! Had no idea, especially about the tree (Although, isn’t that super cheating haha)! We plan on going to the Tivoli Christmas market in Copenhagen, Denmark and Liseberg Christmas Market in Gothenburg, Sweden (Both the largest in each Country). Love your descriptions and photos! Thanks for sharing and making us jealous! :)

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  2. Pingback: German Christmas Market: Day One | Home Far Away From Home

  3. What a lovely post! I had my first ever Weihnachtsmarkt experience last Christmas and it was amazing. Your pictures make me want to go back to Germany right now and get a mug or two of glühwein… I definitely know what you mean about it making things “fuzzy” hehe.

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  4. Wonderful! We did this once…it was either Dusseldorf or Cologne! (Without the grand hotel!!!) What an adventure you had! Thank you for sharing! Looking forward to seeing you soon! ❌⭕❌⭕

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  5. Pingback: Vondelpark & Pannekoek | Pressed Words

  6. We hit some in Germany last Christmas, in Saarbrucken (France/German border) and near where my mom lives, in Besigheim. My wife and I dream of starting this tradition in Seattle. Thanks for sharing: gorgeous photos…takes me away.

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