08 December 2007

Christmas Markets Galore!

We began our journey by getting up really, really early to catch a 7:00 am train. But it was all worth it because we were starting on our Christmas Market Tour.

Our first destination was Münich, where I visited my first Christmas Market two years ago.

Our goal was to add to our Nativity Set by visiting the same stall at the Kripperlmarkt. And they were exactly where they were two years ago! Our selections made, we could then relax and enjoy Münich and the market. Including my parents very first taste of Glühwein (mulled wine.)

I am sorry to report they were not terribly impressed and ended up pouring most of their shared cup into a neary bush. Much to the dismay of an older German woman who watched with horror at the waste. Or at the killing of the shrubbery. Hard to say which...

It was also in Münich that my parents got their first taste of Kaiserschmarrn.

My mother's grandmother was from Austria. When my mother was growing up a special Austrian treat was what my mother's family called "stats." On a previous trip, and with the help of a friend, I identified the dish as Kaiserschmarrn and was anxious for my mother to give her opinion. After one bite she agreed that this is the treat from her childhood (and mine as well!) Although we have no idea why her family called it "stats!" For the rest of the trip we made a point of tasting the varying forms of Kaiserschmarrn whenever possible.

After a couple of days in Münich we continued on to Nuremberg.

Our mission here? Purchase a Rauschgeldengel. I am happy to report that it was Mission Success as we walked away from the market proudly carrying our own Angel Tree Topper, as well as many packages of gifts for family back home.

Then the rain began, so the morning before our train departed for Salzburg was spent at the Germanisches National Museum, a place definitely worth a visit. Our favorite exhibits were the Stone Age and the Medieval Periods. Although we were disappointed they had nothing on World War II or the Nuremberg Trials.

Our final Christmas Market stop was Salzburg.

I have to admit, the Christmas Market here was a disappointment. Whereas Münich and Nuremberg had a plethora of stalls featuring the handmade, traditional items, Salzburg's market was small and featured mostly mass-produced items, many of them with stickers stating "Made in China."

Fortunately, Salzburg also has several year-round Christmas stores with those elusive handmade items we sought. And as it was down-pouring rain most of the time we were there, we did not mind the indoor aspect one bit!

And of course we were happy to be in Salzburg, one of our favorite cities simply for its beautiful and relaxed atmosphere.

We were also fortunate to be there to witness the St. Nicholas parade through the Altstadt. St. Nicholas was escorted by a large number of demons who identify the bad children and replace their gifts with lumps of coal. The very bad children get carried away in a sack. (Yep, you read that correctly!)

I apologize for the terrible picture. But it is rather difficult to take a photo when one is being attacked.

Yes, I said "attacked."

As we stood and watched the parade, one of the demons started towards us. I quickly stepped behind GLH. GLH just as quickly stepped aside and then laughed when the demon grabbed me. Of course, all he could see was the demon snatch my hat off and rub my head. What he couldn't see was the demon's other hand grabbing me in places where the hand should not have been! Otherwise I am quite certain GLH would have saved me instead of standing there laughing. Right, GLH?

The molestation aside, it was a very successful trip and we all had a great time.

Although GLH was exhausted enough by six straight days of marketing that his eyes glazed over when I mentioned the possibilty of a trip next year to Vienna and Prague for their markets!

But I have a year to work on him...


Anonymous said...

Looks like it was fun - apart from the sexual assault of course...

Expat Traveler said...

It still looks like so much fun. I still try to pinpoint why I miss living in Europe the most. Maybe a bit of it all. Missing the culture, the travels and the time off!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say that you are incorrect, I have lived in Salzburg for many years and take in the Christmas every year. The Austrians have strict rules about what can be sold in the Christmas market and Made in China is not one of them, strictly 100% hand made Austrian .... expat USA

Global Librarian said...

That doesn't explain the stickers on the bottom of some cheaply made, ballerina-themed jewelry boxes. Which all had stickers that clearly said "Made in China." At traditional Christmas Market booths in the main square in front of the cathedral!