The World A to Z

N is for Nürnberg

Christmas in Germany is magical, at least for me. The Germans are the best at Christmas markets and somehow walking around a market square sipping gluhwein and shopping for seasonal specialties feels very Christmas-y.with gluhwein

That’s why we decided to head to Nürnberg for the “N” trip. The Christmas market there is known around the world and the idea of spending a piece of the season in Bavaria evokes thoughts of snow and gingerbread and sounds of “O Tannenbaum” ringing in my head.red ornaments

Sure enough, the sights and sounds of the season did not disappoint us. Our boutique hotel just two blocks from the world-famous Kristkindl Markt was an easy train ride from Munich and a 10 minute taxi ride from the Bahnhof in Nürnberg.

cathedral

 

We arrived just in time to get checked in, change and refresh and head out to the market where the medieval atmosphere and architecture added to the festive spirit in the air.aisle markersThe main Christmas market is row upon row of classic German gifts and treats.

wooden ornamentsThere are ornately carved wooden ornaments.

gingerbread heartNürnberger gingerbread hearts hang from stalls and offer greetings.

Some of the stalls showed off unique items …like the Nürnberg angels …nurnberg angels

angela twist on the classic German angel Christmas tree topper.

window box

 

Window boxes, filled with brightly colored flowers much of the year, are filled with greenery and ornaments.

 

 

 

night market

Daytime in the market is festive enough, but when the sun sets, the lights go on and the entire market square is illuminated for the holidays.

 

 

reflected bridge

 

But Nürnberg is more than just the Christmas market. The city really is ancient.

 

 

medieval reflection

 

The river that runs through the town is crisscrossed by charming walking bridges reflected on the still,
gently flowing water and dotted with charming views that transport you back to ancient times.

grilling bratsWhen it’s time for a break … there’s nothing better than a German bratwurst … hot off the grill. brat and pretzel sandwichThat is unless you opt for another German delight … the pretzel sandwich (in my case stuffed with ham, cheese and German pickles.)

I rave a little about Germany. Living there as a teenager has always given me a bit of comfort about traveling throughout the country. I feel a bit at home there.  That’s a lot of what draws me there during the holidays, but it’s a beautiful country year round. If you get a chance, go and visit. Drink a beer. Eat a bratwurst. Sample the culture. Remember, there’s a whole world out there. Go see it.

The World A to Z

K is for Krakow – A Christmas Wonderland

Krakow - Wawel Castle dragon breathes fire

By Judy:

Here we are in Poland!

It’s a little unnerving for this Cold War veteran to be in a former Eastern Bloc country … but not my first time. Nonetheless, everytime I find myself in a country that was once part of the Soviet Union I feel a little nervous. That said, the Krakowians are delightful. Everyone here speaks English (thank God since I don’t know any Polish and the alphabet has some fairly strange-looking characters.) It’s cold and snowy, which is exactly what I wished for. Greg and I have had a great time bundling up and seeing the sights. Our hotel is a little apartment, Ventus Rosa Apartments, so we’ve had breakfast in after a fun trip to a local grocery store. The Christmas season is in full swing and the store was chock full of Christmas goodies. There is a classic European Christmas market on the old town square, complete with mulled wine, hand-blown ornaments and all kinds of local treats.

Krakow - Christmas market 4

Last night we even found Restauracja Galicyjska (The Galicyjska Restaurant) that specializes in “Old Polish Favorites and Wild Game.” I dove into a scrumptious hunk of wild boar in a bison vodka sauce, while he had pork shish kebab. It’s a blast here, but we aren’t staying forever. Tomorrow we hop on a flight to Germany and the town where I went to high school. Until then, more sightseeing.