Entries in ‘Germany’ Journal

Germany’s Passau Christmas Market

Friday January 23, 2015 at 6:06 AM | 4 Comments

Are you looking forward to the Christmas Markets of Germany? Passau’s Christkindl Markt was special to me in that it had some very unique holiday items and foods on offer and the festive atmosphere was magical. Located in lower Bavaria on the Austrian border, Passau is known as The City of Three Rivers or Dreiflüssestadt, as this is where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers come together.
 

Passau, Germany, Christmas Markete

Passau at night. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
Our Viking River Cruise dropped us at the base of the old city, sandwiched between the Veste Oberhaus Castle on the hillside of Passau and St. Stephens Cathedral on the opposite side of the Danube River. The cobblestone streets were filled with living art displays and hand-crafted holiday ornaments. Scents of wood-fired pizza, glühwein and gingerbread filled the frigid December air.
 
The Christmas markets are also a place to try foods that are not typically served at home. I couldn’t resist the warm cheese known as raclette, served slathered on a thick slice of German bread and topped with your choice of local jam, fried onion bits and diced ham. Wash this hearty snack down with a steaming mug of glühwein, surrounded by friends and strangers, and you have created a favorite food memory.


 

Living Art, Passau, Germany

Gingerbread lined streets in Passau. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Glühwein, Passau, Germany

Glühwein photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
St. Steven's Cathedral, Passau, Germany

St. Steven’s Cathedral. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
Wonder into the Cathedral of St. Stephens with its Italian-baroque architecture. Look up to the ornate ceiling and take in the world’s largest church organ with its 18,000 pipes. Then explore the Christkindl Markt or Christmas Market in the Domplatz, the cathedral square as you mingle with locals. Certainly, you will find one-of-a-kind gifts for holiday giving and don’t forget to bring something back for yourself to remind you of this special European vacation.
 

wood carving, Santa, Passau, Germany

Wooden holiday figures. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Café Simon, Passau, Germany

Café Simon gingerbread making demonstration. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
Insider Tip
Do not miss Café Simon in Passau! This historic confectionery, owned by the Simon family, has been making gingerbread and chocolates for over 100 years. This was one of the few gift items that found its way into my carry-on luggage and back to California.

Have you been to any Christmas markets in Germany or Europe? What treasures did you bring home with you?

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown.
 

carousel horses, Passau, Germany

Carousel horses. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown.


 
Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Disclosure: thanks to the folks at Viking River Cruises for making this trip possible. As always, all opinions are my own.

Germany’s Regensburg Christmas Market

Friday January 16, 2015 at 5:05 AM | 2 Comments

December is a magical time to visit the medieval city of Regensburg, Germany. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006, this location was a great trading metropolis built up in the middle ages and was not destroyed during any of the wars. The people are friendly, the shops along the cobblestone streets of Old Town are charming and the regional foods are especially tasty.
 

Gluhwein, Regensburg, Christmas Market

Glühwein is served at the Regensburg Christmas Market. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

I was fortunate to visit several Christmas Markets of Europe, including Nuremberg, Passau, Vienna and Budapest, during a trip on the Romantic Danube with Viking River Cruises. The Christmas market located around Neupfarrplatz has been an annual tradition for over 400 years.
 


 
 

Regensburg, Germany, Christmas Market

Seeing stars in Regensburg. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Regensburg at night

When the sunsets, Regensburg comes alive at night. The streets are lite up with twinkling lights and luminated decorations hang suspended between narrow streets. A huge Christmas tree dazzles with white lights by the main square and the smell of gluhwein fills the air. Like munchkins from the Wizard of Oz, locals and visitors are beckoned to come out and meet one another in this festive winter atmosphere. Parents bundle up their children in brightly colored clothing and place them on carousel horses as they dance round and round to the beat of the holiday music.
 

Regensburg Christmas Market, carousel horse

Carousel horse. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Regional German food

One of my favorite discoveries at the European Christmas Markets was the regional foods; specifically the sausages. Nurembergers are very proud of their pork sausages – the size of a “pinkie finger” the smallest finger on the human hand. In Regensburg, it’s all about the 1/2 meter Bratwurst. Have you tried these sausages or the pork sausages served at the Sausage Tavern?
 

1/2 meter bratwurst, Regensburg, Germany, Christmas Market

1/2 meter Bratwurst. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Regensburg, Germany, sausage

Regional sausages at the Christmas Market. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Historische Wurstküche, sausage kitchen, regensburg, germany

Historische Wurstküche. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Regensburg, Germany, Christmas Market

Regensburg at night. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Insider Tip
Make sure to stop for a pork sausage at the Historic Sausage Kitchen not far from the Cathedral of St. Peter. Sit outside the 900-year-old building and take in the views of the Stone Bridge over the Danube River.
 
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow Regensburg Tourism @Regensburg_trip on Twitter.

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Disclosure: thanks to the folks at Viking River Cruises for making this trip a reality. All opinions are my own.

Germany’s Nuremberg Christmas Market

Friday December 26, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 3 Comments

Curious about visiting the Christmas Markets of Europe? The most traditional Christmas market in Germany is the Nuremberg Christmas Market in the German state of Bavaria. This annual Christkindlesmarkt or Christ Child Market, started back in the middle ages. The magic of Christmas unfolds during Advent in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town. Locals and travelers from around the world converge on this holiday marketplace to drink Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and feast on regional specialty foods.
 

Church of Our Lady, Christmas Market, Nuremberg, Germany

Church of Our Lady rises above sea of Christmas Market tents. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
 

 
 

Christmas Market, Nuremberg, Germany

Wooden angel at Nuremberg Christmas Market. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Plum men, Nuremberg Christmas Market. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Plum men, Nuremberg Christmas Market. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
German Christmas Market crafts

If you are looking for handmade holiday gifts, here you will be rewarded with little plum or prune men, delightful nutcrackers or wooden, glass and flour made ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree or share with friends.
 

Glühwein, Nuremberg, Germany

Drinking Glühwein at Germany’s Nuremberg Christmas Market. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Fritz shares Nurenberg sausage. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Fritz shares Nurenberg sausage. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

German Christmas Market foods

In addition to people watching, I loved tasting all of the unique foods of Germany and Bavaria. It goes without saying that giant pretzels abound, but have you heard of the famous Nuremberg sausage? I met Friedrich “Fritz” Stahlmann of Hax’n Liebermann who explained to me the significance of cooking these tasty pork sausage, the size of a pinkie finger, over a grill of charcoal. Top the Nuremberger sausage with mustard or sauerkraut swaddled in a crusty bun and you are in for a regional German treat. I couldn’t resist a scoop full of fresh roasted nuts coated in toffee and served in a brightly wrapped paper cone as I walked amongst the candy cane striped tents.

 

Christmas Market, Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany

Don’t miss Germany’s Christkindlesmarkt. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Riding a carousel horse in Germany. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Riding a carousel horse in Germany. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 
Children’s Christmas Market

While I am a parent of two young adults, I fondly remember the magic of seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. One of the many things that I loved about the European Christmas Markets was the children or kinder as they are called in Germany. Make sure to visit the Kinderweihnacht with the many wooden toys, festive lights, merry-go-round carousel horses, miniature trains and more regional foods. I admire the Europeans sense of fashion. Both children and adults were dressed in festive, colorful clothing.
 

Nuremberg, Germany, horse carriage

Nuremberg Horse and Carriage. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 
Finally, what’s a Christmas Market without horses? Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the cobblestone streets of Nuremberg, Germany. How did I get to Germany’s Nuremberg Christmas Market? I sailed with Viking River Cruises by way of the romantic Danube river. Nuremberg is situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine, Main and Danube canal. A Viking River Cruise takes all the guess work out of exploring Germany’s Christmas Markets.
 
Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Disclosure: thanks to the folks at Viking River Cruises for making this trip a reality. All opinions are my own.