Dortmund, Germany
51° 30' N 7° 26' E
Dec 07, 2007 22:00
Distance 857km

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Text written in: English

Christmas Markets

Germans are the instigators of markets at Christmas.  Many cities in the UK have copied them (including Edinburgh) and brought in real live German people to set up little stalls and sell things like stollen, glu wien (mulled wine), nativity sets, tree decorations, chocolates, bratwurst, curry wurst, weiss wurst, spatzle (kind of like pasta), bretzel, long pieces of licorice, gingerbread hearts........OK you get the picture. 

Although the Edinburgh markets are very cool, when I heard that my friends were heading to Dortmund to check out the real thing, I thought I would head along (Jude that is - Mike thinks that markets are for carnies (small carnival folk)).  So, Friday after work I boarded Easyjet with Laura, Katie, Rachel, Cathy and Liam (the token male) to Dortmund.  I would have enjoyed Berlin I think but when Easyjet flies direct between Ed and Dort for a small fare, why not?

We arrived to a flying green rhino outside the airport and were transported to our very English but slightly German B&B.  There were crazy nick knacks everywhere, the owners were originally English and the house was very German.  Laura, Rachel, Cathy and I shared a room with bunks which was up some really scary stairs.  The toilet was at the bottom of these so no drinking too close to bedtime!!

Saturday was eventful with a trip to Koln (Cologne in English).  We attempted to buy our own train tickets at the machines but the machines wanted 26 euro one way each!  So, off to the info desk we went and got a return for all of us for 55 euro - much more reasonable.  The moral of the story is, when travelling in groups always ask if there are group deals!!  Works out sooo much better.  Exiting the station in Koln we were faced with a stunning, huge cathedral.  One of the coolest ones I've seen (from the outside anyway).  It was also complete with scaffolding which is always a bit exciting for an engineer.  

Our first stop at the markets was the mulled wine stand, then it was food time.  There was sooo much to chose from, so I had a bretzl and a Christmas crepe (filled with pureed apple, sultanas and cinamon).  The afternoon was spent investigating the array of stalls and then heading to a cafe for some well earned hot chocolate.

Saturday night we were entertained by very loud German bar lady wearing skin tight leather pants, who thought Cathy was very strange for wanting her Jagermeister mixed with Sprite (apparently Germans do coke or fanta!).  I also had to help Rachel out when she wanted beer mixed with lemonade - its a radler in Germany for those that didn't know.  In fact, my one course of German was the most anyone in the group knew.  So, I was the automatic German speaker every time.  Scary!!  So many moments where I wish I understood more, or I could understand what someone was saying but had no idea how to reply!  

For dinner, we desperately tried to find something German with no success.  Either Germans are like us and only eat their own food at home or we were just too inner city to find a cute wee German pub.  So, Italian it was - I think Italian is found in basically every country!  However, during our wanderings we got to see the worlds largest Christmas tree (yes, Dortmund has it!).  Despite magazines saying it was ugly, we all thought that at night it was rather cool with its lights. 

In the morning when we tried to pay for our B&B, the host went a little nuts as we wanted to pay for the 2 rooms separately.  Seriously, its amazing how a lovely person turns into someone INSANE!  Eventually we figured out the simple bit of Maths for her and got out of there.  Bit of a bummer since it was a cute wee place to stay with yummy breakfast.

On Sunday's the markets open at 12, so right on the dot, we were there and buying crazy coloured socks, nutella crepes, hats, raclet, mulled wine, licorice, nativity sets, waffles, corn on the cob (yes, I found a vege stand in amongst it all!) and bretzl.  I had to get Mike a wee bag of German goodies since he missed out on the trip so the early arvo was spent on that plus the purchase of a nativity set.  When I got home and unpacked this set, I found that they had given me the cheaper one.  Mike had the told you so look on his face as he said "those market folk are all cheating carnies!" and that was that. 

 

Photos / videos of "Christmas Markets":

We were met by the flying green rhino when we stepped out of the sirport.  It was our meeting point with our pick up from the English B&B. This cathedral was amazing a huge.  The markets in Koln were located right next to it - a perfect setting. I was intrigued to see how they made these coloured lollies.  Basically a big fat lot of lolly that gets pulled and stretched, but the many colours still remain - genius! Yes, its a must at the Christmas markets - the mulled wine.  Definitely warms you up. These crazy rhinos were everywhere!  Seriously, they were a theme.  There was even one we came across dressed as Santa and one with a world map on it, but minus NZ (how rude)!! The massive Dortmund Christmas tree which I think looked pretty stunning, especially by night. Jude and Rach hanging out at the Dortmund markets.