Tonight after work, Joern and I had a hard decision to make. Should we go to our warm, cuddly home, or brave the snow that had been falling all day and go to the Esslingen Christmas Market?
Esslingen is a wonderfully charming city. It is quite historical, with settlement dating back to around 1000 B.C. The city is full of beautiful Fachwerk or half-timbered buildings, and cobble-stoned streets. It is also the site of the annual Medieval Christmas Market. It is a really unique and so much fun.
Of course, it had snowed all day today where I work. We had at least 3 inches on the ground by the end of the school day and the snow was coming down like crazy when Joern came to pick me up. Here's the beautiful winter-wonderland we drove through to get to the Christmas Market.^
Once we got to Esslingen though, we found that the altitude change also brought with it a lack of snow. It was barely snowing there and the streets were wet. But, it didn't dampen the atmosphere that is truly unique to Esslingen and their Christmas Market.
The medieval Christmas Market is so charming. It is set up to look like a market would have during the middle ages. People wear period clothing and there are all signs around that you have left the modern world. You even pay in "taler" (coins) and not Euro, although they gladly accept Euro notes :).
We immediately went to a booth selling drinks, because there is no surviving a chilly, wet Christmas Market without something warm to drink. Of course, I got a warm kid's punch and Joern had a Met, which is a warm honey wine. YUM!
Once we had warm drinks in hand, we set out to explore the market. The sales booths at the medieval market feature lots of handmade items. You can find handmade soap, pottery, carved wood utensils, candles, just to name a few.
I also can't talk about the market without mentioning the food. They have incredible, unique food there. We decided to eat dinner at the Christmas Market tonight, which turned out to be a great decision. There was such an incredible choice with lots of food that was meant to reflect the times. They had lots of corn pancakes, similar to tortillas with different meats to go inside.
We decided on a bowl of Gaisburger Marsch, a traditional Swabian soup.
It tasted so good, and it was the perfect time for another warm-up.
After our soup, we wound our way though the many vendor booths over to the main town square. I love the center of Esslingen, but find it just incredible at Christmastime. Plus, the King Arthur's Hemp booth is located there. I know, you would never expect me at the Hemp booth. But actually, they serve delicious food prepared with Hemp seed. We got a Hemp pocket, which is similar to a pita filled with chicken in a garlic sauce, topped with lots of Hemp seed. Sounds strange, I know, but it is absolutely amazing. And, one reason I go to the Esslingen Christmas Market annually.
Once our bellies were full, we wandered towards the real-life Christmas market, which is also quite nice. The border between the past and the present is market by a giant Christmas pyramid.
On the present side Christmas Market, we found a booth with some incredible Christmas gifts. I won't post pictures, as some of my readers may be the lucky recipients of these wares. Needless to say, Joern and I thought they were really cool.
We were at the Christmas Market for a little over two hours, before I lost feeling in my fingers, and knew it was time to go.
We have at least one more Christmas Market visit planned this weekend, and I know that I will be back at Stuttgart's next week. I am so enamoured with Germany this time of year, but I'm sure no one could tell!