Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To The Core...

Recently I've been talking about several of the traditions that I have been enjoying about Germany over the past two years, and now I wanted to share one of the most well known (besides Oktoberfest, which is mostly regional to Southern Germany) This one has to be my favorite....the Christmas markets! As I've shared before, we have taken part in two Christmas markets, but these were more Kunsthandwerk Märkte (Handcraft markets) rather than the general markets that are found in just about every city and many smaller villages throughout Germany.

As has been our standard tradition for the last three years, we met up with friend of ours at the Hamburg Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market)


For the average American mind this might seem really strange and quite a foreign concept to go to a market that is outside in the middle of winter and stand around the whole evening in the cold, but I have to say, there really is nothing like it. The Hamburg market is beautiful. The market is set in the Rathaus (Courthouse) square and as many times as I have been there, the architecture takes my breath away every time....and to just think, that building has been there just about as long as we have been a country!

But of course I don't just go for the architecture. I guess if you make it to the third year of doing the same thing as the previous years, it has officially reached the status of tradition... really a staple. I will dream of this until next year's Christmas market....."meat on a stick"! My new annual tradition...

Another difference between Germans and Americans is that Germans like to keep it real. And by this I mean that they don't like to use fake, plastic, flimsy paper and styrofoam plates, cups, and utensils. They like to use the real thing. It is very common and normal, even as such public events to get your food or drink in a real porcelain mug or plate. You pay a fee upfront and when you return the dishes, you get your money back. I have to say that this beats the way Starbuck's does it!

Just about every Christmas market boasts a few standard items, that if left out would make the market quite incomplete. Things like candied almonds, glühwein (spiced wine), bratwurst, wooden children's toys, and of course, the ever popular gingerbread heart cookies with a love confession to that significant other or birthday wishes to a beloved niece.

I guess I have always been traditional to the core. I have always loved it, thrived on it, and now....I am living it!

2 comments:

  1. Buongiorno Hamburg!

    I just found your blog, through Holly at Decor8, it made me sentimental for the Hansestadt. I lived there for nine years, moving to Italy five years ago. It is not so very long that Hamburg has a Christmas market on the Rathausplatz. I think they started it around 1999 or 2000. Before that it was only on Gänsemarkt. I will be reading your Hamburg stories now, and will enjoy following your adventures in creativity.

    Do you know about the fabric sale at Bornhold (NeuerWall) at the end of January? It is a monster sale and I used to go every single year. I still have remnants here which I have not used yet. Once I got a bolt of rust taffeta silk from Italy reduced from 200 to 10 euros a meter. The curtains in one of my B&B rooms are made out of it.

    I miss Stilwerk and the Kunst und Gewerbe Museum and Petit Cafe in Eppendorf and many other sweet things. The woll show you wrote about sounds awesome.

    Keep writing, please :) I will be reading!

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  2. Guten Tag Italien,

    Thanks for reading my post. It is hard to believe how small our world is these days. With just a click one can find out what is happening on the other side of the world. I love connecting with people that I have a common link with. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that the shared link would be living in another country. But, nevertheless, here I am enjoying my new world and experiencing all those things that I only dreamed of.

    I am quite excited about this fabric sale that you mentioned. My aunt, who is brilliant with textiles, told me that sewing is like a competition "she who has the most fabrics when she dies...wins" I love this competition! Color, texture, and pattern have always been a weakness of mine.

    I also read a little on your blog and it sounds really exciting about running your own bed and breakfast. I have always thought that it would make ones life so full and interesting. I wish you and your German husband lots of success on your adventure in your new country and that hopefully I can satisfy your itch to hear all the happening from your past home with my writing.

    Allison

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