Let the countdown begin!
In just a couple of weeks, my girlfriends and I will cross the pond to visit our friend in Düsseldorf, Germany. She has been there since September as part of her MBA program (which, if you were wondering, is akin to traveling back in time and re-living the best parts of your undergrad experience…in Germany).
To say I am excited is an understatement.
I am overjoyed.
I am ecstatic.
Christmas in Germany is my favorite time of the year.
Much of Europe, and Germany in particular, comes to life during Advent – the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Town squares in Germany are converted into markets with local vendors selling traditional and handmade crafts, food, and glühwein, a traditional mulled and spiced wine served piping hot to take your mind off the crisp winter air.
The German Christmas Market, or Weihnachtsmarkt, typically “opens” during the last week of November and runs until a few days before Christmas. While one can find similar offerings at each market, they are as varied as the many towns and regions across the country and offer a unique experience for visitors.
My first experience at a German Christmas Market was in Berlin in 1999 during my high school exchange year.
I remember reveling in my discovery of all kinds of sweet treats that had been in hiding the rest of the year! I went from market to market around Berlin searching out the best gebrannte Mandeln (burnt sugar almonds), Lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts), and Schmalzkuchen (a German version of fried dough topped with powdered sugar).
I was fascinated by the variety of Christmas pyramids, nutcracker, and smoking men I saw as I wandered from booth to booth, market to market. They are among the top items I always look for (and buy) when I visit the markets. Not only are they great souvenirs to remember your visit, but they also make great presents for friends and family!
My most recent visit was in 2010 when I met up with my husband on my way home from a trip to India.
As a repeat visitor to Germany over the last 14 years, I am so excited to share in this experience with my friends.
For some people, Christmas evokes images of the tree in Rockefeller Center and ice skating in Bryant Park. For others, it is gathering in the family room with loved ones watching A Christmas Story, Love Actually, and other holiday favorites.
For me, this is as good as it gets.
Contact Curious Tourist for more information about planning a trip to visit Germany’s Christmas Markets.