Okay, not Santa, but for 2 days one of my favorite family members met me here at my home to get a little German Christmas spirit to take with her in her pocket before traveling back home. I LOVE the way I feel in her company, and being a host to such an energetic, expansive character. Plus, another world traveler (we trapeezed around Provence together last summer) to take advantage of the sights and culture in the area around where I live.
I live in the Rhineland Pflaz area of Germany, closest to France (um, it WAS france on numerous occasions) and smack dab between the two big rivers (MOSEL AND RHINE) and thus, part of wine country.
First on our limited dancing card…staying warm at Christmas Markets. Almost every town hosts a market at least ONE weekend a year, but many stay open for 3-4 week during Advent. You can expect huts, with people selling products (ornaments, baked goods, candy, and artisan crafts) and gluhwein. I personally like seeing how each market is decorated differently.
But there is ALWAYS GUHLWEIN
This hot, mulled wine is most famous in my part of Germany, where the French have had a strong influence. It can be strong or sweet. You pay around $3 a mug, and $2 more if you want to keep the mug (several people collected them). And there’s always food!
The centuries-old tradition reaches back to a time when regular seasonal markets took place throughout the year. Christmas Markets were a welcome occurrence during cold-weather months. They were joyful occasions for weary villagers and added a bit of light to long winter nights….To this day, locals get off work and have a few drinks before heading home. It’s the best happy hour of the year!
Besides Christmas market attending, we also visited Heidelberg, about 75 minutes east of my house. In the rain, we ate up all the history in the castle. Taking in the apothecary, or pharmacist museum (just think of how amazing these inventions are!) and a guided tour.
and two delicious meals, one with a large group of my friends, and another just the two of us
Just a whole lot of treats that made it FEEL like the Christmas spirit, you know?
Who is your Santa this year?