Christmas time is Christmas Market time for us Germans. Every city, every town and every village has its own Market offering a nice little Christmassy atmosphere in the midst of the cold and grey time most of Germany is going through around now. So what is all there on such a market which makes it so special? First of all it is decorated nicely according to the season and furthermore it just smells like Christmas (except the heavily packed Glühwein stands/ booze markets). Henry Lee from Fotoeins has a very nice collection of Christmas Market impressions on his blog including this guide for the Cologne Christmas Markets. As you can see there the bigger cities even got several markets!
My hometown is not playing in the big league when it comes to these markets but it is still pretty nice. As we live now for over two months in Germany and had not much time to do anything we decided to take a look at the local Christmas Market. First of all, it is surely not very big but still filled with people. Usually this city of Neumünster is practically empty after 6pm. We even have a saying for this kind of thing in German “Ab 6 Uhr werden die Bürgersteige hochgeklappt <…>” and translates into “They roll up the sidewalks”. It really feels sometimes that all life stops during evening hours. Anyways during Christmas Market time this rule does not apply and people seem to enjoy their life and the Glühwein. This Glühwein is actually Mulled Wine but each country has its own variations. So far my favorite version is the Finnish Glöggi which is slightly different and much tastier than the German Glühwein.
Here in Neumünster the market offers all kind of things to spent your time on such as the food and Glühwein Stalls as mentioned before but also an ice skating field, little amusement rides for children and then of course the big Christmas tree. Nathan was mostly interested in the people passing by and my wife was focused on the different foods offered (in the end she bought some grilled sausage with bread and a bowl of Mushrooms in garlic sauce). I used this opportunity to get my very first Glühwein for the past four years and bought a drink called “Schneemann/ Snowman” which is basically just mulled wine with some mix of booze and then on top whipped cream. Now as a specialist in the Glühwein section (not!) I can say that the taste was pretty good but once again there was too much alcohol for my liking.
I think as a family you can easily spend even in this little market one to two hours (always depending on the child) as there is much food to try and drinks to warm up your soul. Other people who are not so restricted by the mood swings of Junior can spend without problem half a day or more there. However this is usually depending on the thickness of the wallet as the prices are much higher than off-season. I can just recommend to anyone visiting Germany during this time of the year to take a look at one of the (too) many Christmas markets around. In case you go there with your children, no problem, just leave them for some time in the amusement rides while you discover the rest!