Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This is by far my most favorite time of the year. Always has been. But I had no idea just how  amazing this time of year could be until I moved to Germany. 


This country seriously knows how to do Christmas. From the Lebkuchen to the Weinachtsplätzchen to the Glühwein and the Christmas Markets, Germany knows how to evoke the feeling of Christmas.


We kicked off the Christmas Market season a couple of weeks ago here in Karlsruhe.  



And of course, we went immediately for the Glühwein



It. was. heavenly.





Just about every town in Germany has some sort of Christmas market, with the most famous one being in Nuremberg. 


The market here, while it doesn't have anything to make really stand out, is still a great place to meet up with friends throughout the month of December. 


We do have an ice skating rink which is pretty cool. 





And this cute Kinderbackstube where kids can go and bake Christmas goodies.



The other side has windows showing the kids in their cute little aprons baking up something yummy. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture on that side. Sorry 'bout that.


Last weekend we went to Maulbronn, a tiny little town known for its well preserved monastery, the best preserved monastery in fact north of the Alps, and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. 


I had visited the monastery a few months back with our German teacher. It really is a charming little place, and one I seriously need to write about sometime on here, but for now I'm just gonna show you the Christmas market. 



While most markets run daily from the end of November through Christmas, Maulbronn's market is only open for one weekend.  





Set within the historic walls of the monastery, Maulbronn attracts nearly ten thousand visitors with it's array of unique, handmade items not usually found at the larger markets.  




Vendors display their wares, as visitors stroll by taking in the magic of the market. 





Some can even be seen crafting goods on the spot.  



 These little snow man cookies were adorable. 

 Such beautiful handwork. 



Absolutely gorgeous. 


Delicious, and uniquely flavored mustards alongside locally pressed grape oil. 

And while the crafts are a major attraction of the markets, the highlight of it all is the Glühwein and food. 


Having had a late lunch, we didn't partake in too many treats on this trip. But we did manage to try Baumkuchen.





Named for its resemblance to tree rings, Baumkuchen is a layered cake cooked on a spit. 


Every couple of minutes or so, batter is added to the spit as it continues to bake. 



When it's done it looks like this (I had to steal a pic since mine didn't turn out...you can tell by the pics I did get that the lighting was AW-FUL). 








Then the guy cuts it like this...



so that people like me (always a sucker for trying something new and interesting) can buy it and eat it like this. 

Yummy yum yum. 

I feel sort of mean telling you about this market when you can't go to it anymore this year. 



BUUUT, you should definitely put this on your calendar for next year. Whether you are coming from Heidelberg, Stuttgart, or the US (ahem, familia) it's well worth the trip.


And so is the monastery if you have time to check it out as well. 


More market fun to come, but until then, happy Friday!

5 comments:

Dublin gal said... Best Blogger Tips

yeah I absolutely love the Christmas atmosphere here too! Lovely pics!

Grandma said... Best Blogger Tips

This would be a great time of year for us to visit. What week is the market open?

Risha said... Best Blogger Tips

Cara, I love this blog entry, and the photos!
What a wonderful season we're in :)

Tami said... Best Blogger Tips

Your pictures capture Germany beautifully. And I have heard the Glühwein is WONDERFUL!! Thank you for sharing your visit of the market. I wish we had places like this in the USA.

Susi said... Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful pics... looks like you really enjoyed yourself!!! :)

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