The smell of bratwursts mingles with the scent of freshly laid pine chips in the crisp chill of the morning air. I tug my coat tighter around me to ward off the chill as I take tentative steps into my first ever German Christmas market.
This place is a place of Christmas dreams, or at least that’s what you here, right? In the states one would think we know how to do Christmas, right? Especially in places like New York. And while I have never been to NY during the holidays (or any other time for that matter), I think Germany really has the market cornered on Christmas. It’s a well-known fact that German Christmas markets are unlike any others and this week I finally got to experience it for myself.
Identical blue stalls fill the market, each with their own shooting star lit up on top. Market stalls stretch for as far as your can see and lead to the feeling that this is currently your entire world and you could possibly get lost here. But in a good way.
I’ve never felt so full of Christmas joy before. It might be the atmosphere, it might be the Gluehwein (hot mulled red wine), that’s making me feel so festive, but I feel great. Meandering through the rows of stalls, I stop to see a range of items from jewelry, to hand carved wooden home decor to blown glass animals and of course ALL of the German Christmas decorations you could think of. There are ornaments, gnome Santas, wooden and porcelain nativity scenes and Christmas villages.
Food stalls are everywhere here too. Pastries and sausages, candied nuts and spices. I’m a little disappointed that I can’t get all of the food here, but I don’t really know what I can and can’t take back to the UK and I don’t want to risk it. I do buy a little baggie of coconut macaroons though as they are my absolute favorite and make me think of being a small girl in Stater Bros and my dad buying them as a special treat for me.
Last week we stood shoulder to shoulder with Wiesbaden citizens for the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony that was so very epic. Haunting, yet beautiful, classical music hushed the crowd as two angels (played by people!!) with full length feathered wings were suspended from a crane above the stories high unlit Christmas tree. For over ten minutes they “flew” above the crowd, lit by a light show from the canopy from which they were suspended. Glitter poured from the crane over the still unlit tree and in a flourish of fireworks from the canopy, the tree and the surrounding Wiesbaden lotuses were lit. The crowd gasped in unison at the sight and the angels, done with their job, retreated from sight behind the great tree.
After the tree was lit, we met Tim’s coworker and grabbed some mugs of gluehwein, which, for those of you who don’t know, is warm, spiced/mulled red wine. And it’s DELICIOUS. I DO NOT drink red wine and trust me, I’ve tried but I just can’t get my tastebuds to like it. But this… this is different. It’s sweeter, it’s warm, it’s like happiness in a cup and it’s meant to “make you glow with warmth” again after being chilled by the German winter and it definitely does it’s job!
Germany really does know what they’re doing when it comes to Christmas Markets and I was super pleased that my first foray into one was so amazing. Wiesbaden has set a really high bar for other Christmas markets in the future but I’m excited to visit and share the details with you. We’ll be traveling to the Edinburgh Christmas Market this week, so look for an update on that one soon!