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Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

November 28 , 2008

Written November 30


Dear Friends and Families,


Marianne and I have a plan for the Christmas holidays. We are staying in Germany, because she just got back from California and will go again in January, and we thought we needed to catch up on visits within our current country. We are going to enjoy "Weihnachtsmarkt Tour 2008". Christmas is one of the best times of the year because, throughout Germany, cities, towns, and villages decorate town squares and fill them with kiosks for shopping, eating, and drinking. It's a tradition that everyone looks forward to. I know we do.

We hope to cover local destinations, as well as Hamburg in the north and Munich in the south, although it will take all of the Advent season, I suppose. And, in between, I need to work; we need to complete our barn project; and we need to move furniture in, as a result of our California shipment arriving, hopefully, in the week before Christmas.

So, we start with Nuremberg, a half-hour drive away and a city with the largest Christmas Market in Germany, as well as plenty of history and charm.

Our friend Nancy is visiting for the Thanksgiving weekend, so, at her request, we combined Christmas cheer with a sober reminder of local history: The Documentation Center. The center chronicles the rise and fall of the National Socialist movement, particularly in Bavaria, from the 1920's through the destruction at the end of World War II. The center is housed in the skeleton of one of the Nazi monumental buildings, The Convention Center, which was planned for the annual Party convention but never finished. This is one of my favorite history museums, although I don't think I can go more often that once every couple of years.


With that start, we moved on to: eating.

As this town fountain suggests, eating is a tradition of both the season and of Bavaria in particular. Even before we reached the market, we stopped to sample the traditional wurst-in-a-bun. These can be found everywhere in Germany but, for Americans, the Nuremberg bratwurst taste is the most familiar, since the little sausages became the breakfast standard, thanks to immigrant butchers a century ago.
The entrance to the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is traditionally marked by a lighted banner and a paper angel. (See more story below.)
In the main market plaza, crowds file past the brightly lighted stands, checking out traditional products, such as toys and handicrafts. The Frauenkirche (Our Lady's Church) provides a background reminder of the religious connection, but more attention seems devoted to hot wine and wurst.
Nuremberg also offers scenes such as these, Christmas season or not. The combination of twinkling lights and happy crowds definitely made this a great start to our 2008 Weihnachtsmarkt Tour.

So, stay tuned. There's more Bavarian Christmas to come.


John and Marianne

From "The Local", an English-language German news website (http//www.thelocal.de/):

"One of the oldest and most famous ... is the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, which gets some 2 million visitors every year. Christkindlesmarkt, well-known for its 180 stalls and specialty sweets, dates as far back as 1628. The appearance of the Nuremberg Christmas Angel, known in German as Christkind or “Christ-child,” gives this and many other German Christmas markets the name Christkind(e)l(s)markt.

"The Christmas Angel, a girl between 16 and 19-years-old, is chosen every two years by Nuremberg residents and opens the Christmas market by reciting a short speech. She also visits charities, children’s hospitals and other Christmas markets. Representing the Christ child, the Christkind was first suggested by Martin Luther to replace the Catholic gift-giving figure of Saint Nikolaus."

Large Christmas markets:
Nuremberg: www.christkindlesmarkt.de
Munich: www.muenchen.de
Dresden: www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk
Frankfurt: www.frankfurt-tourismus.de
Cologne: www.koelntourismus.de
Berlin: www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk
Hamburg: www.hamburg-tourism.de

Other popular Christmas markets around Germany
Augsburg: Augsburg Christkindlesmarkt—November 24th - December 24th; Sunday - Thursday 10am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 9pm.
Essen: International Essen Christmas Market—November 20th - December 23rd; Sunday - Thursday 10am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am to 10pm, Christmas Day 6pm to 10pm.
Heidelberg: Kornmarkt, Marktplatz, Universitätsplatz, Anatomiegarten and Bismarckplatz Christmas Markets—November 26th - December 22nd; 11am - 9pm daily.
Leipzig: Leipziger

—November 24th - December 22nd; Sunday - Thursday 10am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 9pm.
Regensburg: Christkindlmarkt Regensburg—November 27th - December 23rd; 10am to 8pm daily.
Rostock: Rostocker Weihnachtsmarkt—November 27th - December 22nd; Monday - Thursday 10am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am to 9pm, Sunday 11am to 8pm



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