I guess I should start with my ornament first, so that it doesn't get lost in the rest of the Christmas market post. I recently took part in an international ornament exchange. Because people living all over the world took part, it was fun to imagine where your ornament would come from! I sent mine to someone living in London. Joern and I had lots of fun scouring the Stuttgart Christmas Market looking for the perfect ornament. We finally settled on a beautiful hand-painted glass cuckoo clock ornament, we agreed that it was the most typically German ornament we could find.
I received my ornament the other day. Imagine my surprise when I read the return address from Ireland! How perfectly fitting!!
Coming off of the after-ornament receiving excitement, Joern and I ventured into Bavaria to visit Joern's friend Marcus, who married on Friday. Joern suggested we leave earlier to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is Germany's Christmas town. It is a lovely, well-preserved medieval city. It is a bit different from Esslingen though, and is quite worth the visit. Entrance to the city center is through one of a few towers, that dot the original city wall.
The majority of the city center is car free. With good reason, the cobbled streets are extremely narrow, and especially during the holiday season, are packed with people.
Of course, the store windows were all decked out for Christmas, and a few beckoned us inside with a promise of warmth and some good Christmas gifts.
The bakeries all had displays of Snowballs, or Schneeballen. They are a common winter pastry from this area of Germany, and we do not really have them in Stuttgart. But they all looked delicious!
Once we stumbled into the Marktplatz, or market square, we were in Christmas heaven.
We went into Käthie Wohlfhart, THE difinitve Christmas store. Käthie Wohlfahrt is headquartered in Rothenburg, and they have a main store, a German Christmas Museum, and a Christkindlsmakrt (Christ Child Market) a Bavarian Christmas Market. The store is a veritable Christmas wonderland. Joern brought me once before in the summer, and I must admit, it is a bit easier to manage without the intense crowds. But when in Rome, or Rothenburg! I am pretty sure you cannot go to Rothenburg without going through Käthie Wohlfahrt. We did manage to make a few purchases too. Most of which I cannot post here, for fear of ruining someone's Christmas present :)
Once we left Käthie Wohlfahrt, we made our way to the actual Rothenburg Christmas market. It was so lovely, like most Christmas markets. Since it had been bitterly cold all day, and the sun started going down, I was on the search for a warm drink. What was so exciting to me was that they offered hot apple cider, something I have seen in no other Christmas market. It was a nice non-alcoholic alternative to the kid's punch that I now normally enjoy.
We didn't have too much time to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and scents of the Christmas market, as we had to get to Marcus' house for dinner. It was beautiful though, and I am so glad we had such an enjoyable afternoon!!
Of course, our evening was also enjoyable. We saw Marcus, one of Joern's closest friends, and meet his wife and baby-on-the way! I am really so excited for the new family, and wish Marcus and Andrea nothing but the best in their future!