Rudolph fly by
I am having problems posting videos to thies blog. So when I make reference to the videos please go view them on my BeyondMirays facebook page. Sorry.
Christmas Markets or in German Weihnachten markt are serious things here. They start about Dec 1 and go through till Dec 24. Anything from your own village (and that means your area inside the big city) to the large ones. I will make this blog about two we have seen so far.
Karlsruhe is like Eugene in size. But it is the seat of the supreme court for all of Germany. There is also a huge library like the Library of congress where every book published in Germany must be in this library. This is just a reference point to understand the size and pride of Karlsruhe. There is also a palace or Schloss in Karlsruhe.
Here you our friendsJuergen and Susanna in frnot of the Palace and a portion of an ice rin. Coming out of the below ground parking lot we first see the palace. There has been an ice rink set up. Not the traditional kind but one that has a racing pathway, a children’s or casual skaters ring and then a gaming space. Games? Well a cross between curling and bowling & Bocce? The translation is throwing canes. There are no brooms, you just throw the game piece and hope it hits your opponents piece out of the way. look for the video as mentioned above.
For weeks before the Christmas markets there is set up time. And boy do they need it. This is no tent city. It is all real buildings. Think of food carts on steriods. Each food vendor has over the top decorations on the roof. This is set up in the town square, like pioneer square in Portland, but flat. So a path is laid out and then the buildings are put up. The path is either the brick of the plaza or it is fresh wood chips. This makes the whole place smell like being in the forest.
The non-food merchants are a mix of items, from the usual knitted items to glassworks (lampwork non bead). Leather wallets and wood toys.
Gluhwein is very famous and traditional. We call it Mulled Wine. But every shop that sells it has their own special cups for it. I of course found a shop with a cup I really liked and bought gluhwen from there. You pay about 3.50 euro for the wine and then like 1 more euro for a deposit. You drink from the cup and take it back for the deposit. There are ZERO paper or plastic cups. So of course I just didn’t go back for my deposit and kept the cups.
Gluhwein (Glue-vine) comes in different flavors. There are 3, red, rose & white. I have tried all three. Red is traditional. It is ok but strong. The White is odd to me, the rose is sweeter and I actually like it best.
There is a children’s version non-alcoholic drink called Kinderpunch. Some vendors have a red version which is apple and berry and cherry flavoured and there is also an orange juice version. Yes they are served warm. I have only had the orange version and it is good. Odd but good. Never had warm orange juice before.
Time for food. The traditional fare is Thuringer sausage or other sausages on a crusty bread roll. In the medieval market we went to there was also venison sausage for sale. Jerry enjoyed these very much. There was also schupfnudeln mit sauerkraut, this means potato noodles with sauerkraut. The potato noodles are like gnochi, you make mashed potatoes and blend with flour then hand roll them in a cylinder, I think they look like joints, or hand rolled cigerettes. Hha ha ha. Then they put sauerkraut with them in a big skillet and I mean a BIG skillet, larger than my stovetop. And lightly fry them and serve
I had a baked potato with Quark which is like sour cream with herbs in it. One time I had this bread type pizza thing. The bread was rye with cheese and salty ham on it, they call the ham speck which is like prosciutto.
Entertainment – there is a gazebo of a sort that has musical entertainment on it. But I did not see much of that. The big thing we had to see is Santa Claus flying in. From a tall building to a radio tower thing in the shape of a lighted Christmas tree is a stretched cable. On the building is the Santa sleigh and 4 reindeer. At 5pm and 7pm a loud speaker comes on that can be heard all over downtown. “Look to the sky, Santa is coming” of course in German. Then we see Santa waving at us and getting into the sleigh. The sleigh goes about 300 meters and stops on the wire. This is like a tightrope walker driving a bicycle on a wire. Then Santa tells a story and suddenly we see one of the reindeer’s nose turn RED. More story is told then the back of the sleigh turns into a rocket with sparklers shouting out of the back and the sleigh goes to the other side
Check out the video at the location mentioned above.
Now for the medieval market in Durlach. Though small it was a great attempt. Many of the historical people would fit right into an SCA or Ren Faire market. There were super cute wagons and a Mead vendor [video], a wonderful wood worker that I captures his workbench and some of the stuffed animals hanging out in his tent. I some very good pumpkin soup here. Oh and there was some faric dying going on in husge pots over fires. Wish we could get away with some of this stuff state side.
I will end this post here. go look for the videos for this.