When I just to used to visit Germany on vacations, I never was one for doing traditional things.
I’m more of a go to the cinema, windowshop, visit fun museums like the chocolate museum in Köln kind of girl. Christmas markets were never my idea of fun. Then I moved here permanently and got sucked into the German lifestyle, starting with the Christmas markets and drinking only mineral water!
The appearance of the wooden stalls symbolizes the truth about Christmas in the city. The lights, the deco, the ambience! It’s so heavenly.
There are a bunch of things to experience at the markets and my all time favorite is the Glühwein. Never ever visit a market without grabbing a mug or three!
And the coolest thing being that you get the chance to keep the mug you use for about 2€ maybe more, depending on the mug and the Stall. You pay some deposit as well as paying for the drink and if you return the mug, you get back your deposit. If you don’t, you get to keep it as a souvenir. I like to sometimes buy the bottled version from the stores plus I´ve got a friend who loves it too so I basically buy as many bottles as I can and keep them saved up for her. This year I discovered the tetra pak version which I thought was super cute!!
Traditional food is another must try. Apropos, the jury is still out on a lot of German food for me. I absolutely love Gulasch sauce and a few others, but the Reibekuchen, a deep fried potato pancake, which is a traditional food sold mostly around Christmas time just doesn’t do it for me. Which is ironic because the way it’s made reminds me a lot of Akara and the applesauce you eat with it just seems like ogi! It is highly beliebt though and a huge hit at the Christmas markets.
The Christmas market is an amazing experience and it’s a show of inclusion, celebrating the time of love and goodness, people coming together to celebrate a time that should be peaceful and I love it!
I heard that Dresden has one of the best Christmas market experience, but I absolutely love the markets in Köln so far and maybe in the future we will drive down to experience Dresden´s markets. We obviously haven’t visited all of the markets in the city just yet. It can get overwhelming sometimes because it feels like every stop from the train is a market, but it is beautiful and it is tradition. A Christmas kind.
I think that no matter how long I live in Germany, the Christmas markets will always be magical. The cluster of people warming their hands around their mug, the joyful smell of Bratwurst, the incredible aroma of roasted pecan nuts, the laughter from both adults and kids, the show of love, the happiness you see…it never gets old.