Here’s a video from the BG Adventures Bavarian Christmas Market tour….. ENJOY!!
Well…. last night was a prep for what happened today so let me start with that. I had been following the travel by the new group coming to Germany for the tour and there was bad weather in the States. Like REALLY BAD weather!! Snow in places that RARELY IF EVER get snow so flights were delayed and in some cases, there were even flights cancelled!! And even when planes were fully loaded, doors shut and pushed back from the gate, there were delays… up to 4 hours on one flight.
So that caused issues for the tour….issues but nothing horrible! We just had to revise the schedule of events….like castles all day tomorrow, then Christmas Market tomorrow night and our jaunt to the top of the mountain first thing Monday am before heading to Regensburg.
Anyway…. we made it to Füssen just later than anticipated. We checked into our hotel, had a little resting time and then headed to the Christmas Market in the Kloster, the monastery courtyard of St. Mang. It was a lovely little courtyard, made better with singing and musicians playing.
Here’s a series of pictures with explanations to follow from Füssen….
View of Füssen towards the mountains
Up the street towards the Monastery
In the courtyard of the Monastery of St Mang.
The Bubble Meisters working their magic
The food was great…. Weiß oder Rot Wurst, Käsespatzle and of course a very nice White Wine Glühwein complete with Orangen Rhum.
A little statue on one of the streets.
Happy couples enjoying the Market
Pretty Night View
Local Bier Market! All craft brews from the neighborhood.
Who thinks this red number is perfect for Gretchen?
All in all, a great way to start the day in Füssen!
Today was the last day for the first group on the Germany tour! After a long day yesterday, one full of walking, eating and drinking, most of us slept in a bit longer than usual today. After all, the trip from Rothenburg to Stuttgart is only 1 1/2 hours in length!! So sleeping in a bit longer, then sitting at the breakfast table chatting after the marvelous German breakfast sipping more coffee seemed to be the right thing to do! Some of the group wanted to do a bit more sightseeing this am so we planned a 1200 departure. On the Wall St Rothenburg
View from the wall
But as the temperature dropped, along with a brisk icy wind, the group said let’s get going and maybe stop someplace else. And I agreed!
So we packed up and loaded the van and by 1100 were ready to bid Rothenburg od Tauber farewell! And a good fall back plan was decided upon rapidly! We decided to return to Esslingen where the medieval market was.
We made it to Esslingen without problems, parked and made the short walk to the market. That’s when the rain started and the 20+ mph wind started. The temperature dropped and it started snowing!!
This area of the Christmas Market was styled in an old Mittelalter (medieval) Weihnachtsmarkt.
This area, in addition to having handmade items for sale, there were many unique games to play…. mouse roulette, bow and arrow, cross bow shooting, axe throwing, catapult shooting and a crazy game where you throw a heavy metal ball trying to break an egg on a log…. kind of like cornhole!
Ball Throwing game
With the rain and snow, we decided to leave a little early than we would have under different circumstances. So we went to the hotel and checked in to get a little rest before going to downtown. At the hotel we met up with one early arriving member of our next group and made them feel like family.
The best way to get to Stuttgart Christmas Market is with the Subway from the airport to the Main Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) downtown .
And once we got there, it started snowing again! A great way to end one tour and start another.
The Market was beautiful…..
And the Bratwurst delicious!!
Tomorrow, the first group returns home and the second group arrives! And the Adventure continues….
Today we would drive from Bamberg to Rothenburg ob der Tauber after another great breakfast! One interesting thing was finding a comb of honey sitting out ready to be spread on the bread for breakfast. I had to try a little… delicious!!
From Bamberg we went to the small Franconian town of Theres where family and friends live. It was a chance for everyone on the tour to experience German hospitality. So for the following two hours we got to enjoy Kaffee and Kuchen (a Stollen – fruit cake) plus Weißwurst, the boiled white sausages common in Bavaria. What a treat!! After a great time telling stories, we headed for Rothenburg.
Back from left…. Gerlinde, Ben, Hildegard, Elisabeth, Maria
Front from left….Hermann, Herbert, Rosa
Rothenburg is a medieval walled city that is one of the most beautiful venues for a Christmas Market that I know of!! Half-timbered buildings (Fachwerk) are all over the town. There is lots of history in Rothenburg too, along with the most spectacular Christmas store you’ll ever see! One building had a plaque relating that King Christian I stayed in the building for 7 days in February 1474!! Not a lot to say other than enjoy the photos of the town….
Eddie and Carey out front of the Glockenspiel in the Marktplatz…. with Glühwein!
The windows open and the figures inside drink!
Statue outside of one of the churches.
And the Markets beside the church
The Weihnachtsgarten at our hotel
Bier and, across the table, a flammkuchen!
Weihnachtsbaum in Rothenburg
So… now it’s time to head for bed! Tomorrow we visit the last market on our tour, Stuttgart.
What a nice day! Let me share it with you….
After a nice nights sleep, we had another fine German breakfast (are you sensing a theme here?) before starting our day’s journey to Bamberg. Bamberg is a well known city on the Main River with many UNESCO World heritage sites. They are all over the town…. the Dom (Cathedral), the Rathaus…. here is a link that you can read about if interested…..https://www.bavaria.by/bamberg-world-heritage-fascination-germany
We started the day going to the hotel after our arrival where we parked and waited till our rooms were ready. And while ready, we walked to the old town and saw some of the sights. Here’s a sampling….
Members of our group getting their photos of the Altes Rathaus (old city hall) which was built straddling the river after a conflict with the local Bishop.
This is a memorial plaque for Claus von Stauffenberg who was involved in the Valkyrie plot to assassinate in 1944. Von Stauffenberg was originally a member of the 17th Cavalry Regiment in Bamberg.
Statues on the bridge by the Rathaus.
One of the churches in Bamberg. This is on the Obstmarkt.
Really? Churros in the Christmas Market?
Flowers and Christmas wreaths for sale.
St Nicholas and I …. here’s to hoping I have chocolate in my shoes tomorrow morning!
One of the tables you can stand around drinking Glühwein. Yes, that’s a fire in the stove in the center.
We enjoyed talking with a few locals while sampling the Rauchbier at the Schlenkerla brauerei. Like he said “The first Bier is good, the second is better and the third Bier is the best!” They also told us about a wonderful Bäckerei (bakery) and Metzgerei (butcher shop) right around the corner. They recommended the Leberkäse….. it was unbelievable! Always listen to the locals!!
Dinner at the Hofbrau tonight was superb! Schnitzel with potato salad and cucumber salad as sides and a Hefeweizen to drink.
I LOVE BAMBERG!!
Tomorrow, we’re off for Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the medieval walled city.
We were up and going as usual, enjoying a wonderful German breakfast first thing.
A small Dining room just for us!
Wonderful breads and hard rolls
Locally made jams and jellies
A sampling of the meats and cheeses we’ve been enjoying on this week’s breakfasts.
Since Nürnberg is only about 120 km from Regensburg, we got to sleep in a little longer today!! We left our wonderful hotel at about 10 am and drove straight to Nürnberg and our hotel there. All were surprised when they found out the Christmas Market was literally right around the corner!!
Of course, since we were so early getting here today, we simply parked the van and started to visit the Christmas Market!! Like I’ve said before, the Nürnberger Weihnachtsmarkt is arguably the biggest in Germany. And this year, I think it got even bigger! The usual areas were still there (the main market area, the partner city area, the children’s market) but now other previously unused areas have stalls in place. And they all look to be more festively decorated.
There was, of course, lots to see and eat and drink here. Plus an added benefit was that because the market is surrounded by businesses, there are some very fine places to stop and eat at. We went to Bratwurst Röslein, a nice restaurant specializing in Franconian dishes. Franconia?? I thought you were in Bavaria??? Well, yes we are in Bavaria but in the early 1800’s the Franconian region was was awarded to Bavaria after an alliance between Napoleon and the Kingdom of Bavaria. Anyway, the food here in Nürnburg is delicious and it is similar to what I had as a child growing up.
Instead of me rambling on today about arcane things, let me just share some pictures with you….The Frauenkirche
Gingerbread heart that says “Greetings from Nürnburger Christmas Market ”
My favorite “Comfort Food”, Rinderroulade. Beef round steak, pounded flat stuffed with pickle, onion and bacon, then rolled up. And it isn’t complete without a potato dumpling and red cabbage.
The Children’s Christmas Market….
Small rides, like this carousel, are in the Children’s Market.
The tops of the stalls are decorated with moving figures for the Children.
Nürnburg is a wonderful city! I think you’d love it too! Tomorrow…. Bamberg!!
We awoke today with snow falling in Garmisch. What a wonderful sight…. snow softly and silently falling, the German Alps in the background.
Today’s travel took us to Regensburg, a beautiful city with a very nice old town (altstadt). But on the way to our hotel for this day, we delayed our arrival a little bit by going to Walhalla, a hall of fame that honors laudable and distinguished people in German history – “politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists of the German tongue”. Here is more background on it…. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walhalla_memorial.
We stopped for a bit to take in the view from the memorial, as well as learn a little more about it.
Massive columns with Frieze above
The size of the building can be seen in this view.
This is a view of the Danube River running past the front of Walhalla.
This is a massive stairway coming up the hill from the river to the building. The small area to the left by the river are garden plots and small houses that are used in Germany as “garden houses”….
After our visit to Walhalla, we went in into Regensburg. Our hotel is smack dab in the middle of the old town with 5 different Christmas Markets scattered in this area. But the best Market by far is the one at Schloß Thurn und Taxis. This castle still belongs to the family and has a very interesting history…. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurn_und_Taxis
The market is set on the grounds of the castle, spreading around the outside of the castle and then spilling into the central courtyard area. It feels very much like a 19th century market…. Pine bough covered booths, winding around the castle walls with Christmas lights illuminating the paths. Scattered around the grounds are a number of fire rings, serving as a refuge to warm oneself after walking around in the cold. And through two Portals, one can walk into the courtyard area where more booths can be found. There is plenty of delicious regional food and drink available throughout the area, along with many gift items waiting to be purchased.
This is truly a “Romantische Weihnachtsmarkt“!
Market booths stretching along the side of the castle.
A lovely and festive place to enjoy the evening exploring.
Warming by the fire…
A Christmas tree graces the grounds inside the castle walls.
Delicious fried potatoes, onions and ham!
Potato pancakes with applesauce….my favorite.
Another nice view of the Market.
Tomorrow, we are off to what is arguably the biggest Christmas Market in Germany…. Nürnburg.
It was a wonderful day today…. let me fill you in. We were all up relatively early today. Breakfast at the Hotel Sonne started at 7 am…. a wonderful German breakfast! For me, the wonderfully strong German coffee, a hard roll (Brötchen), Salami, Swiss Cheese, butter, and some raspberry jam. Oh, how I’ve missed my Brötchen!! German food is so wonderful!
After a nice filling breakfast, we headed for Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloß Neuschwanstein). This is the Fairy Tale Castle built by King Ludwig ll in the 1880’s. It is located about 5 km from Hotel Sonne in Füssen, where we overnighted last night, in the town of Hohenschwangau. The weather was cold, -8° Celsius. And while the morning started a bit cloudy, it soon cleared, becoming a brilliant blue with a few clouds.
We got our tickets after arriving and, as some of you may know, the way up the mountain to the castle has two options… ride or walk! Usually, there is an option to take a bus to the top but today it was walk or take the horse drawn carriage.
A few of us rode, maybe the best choice, while the rest of us walked uphill for a mile. I did say uphill, didn’t I? It is uphill… and while not straight up, it feels like it at times!! But because we were walking, we had the opportunity to look at the scenery that the carriage riders didn’t.
This is a very nice view of Hohenschwangau Castle, built by Ludwig ll’s father, Maximimilian ll. The sun illuminated it today better than I’ve ever seen! And because we were walking, we got a great view of the surrounding countryside.
The walk up took us about 45 minutes… no hurry because we had plenty of time. So we took a few more outside pictures, since inside photography is forbidden.
After the tour of the castle, it was another mile walk… just downhill this time! Let me tell you… it’s a lot easier that way!
After the castle visit, we headed towards our next overnight stop, Garmisch. But one if the things I always like to take our groups on is a trip to the top of the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. It’s 2962 meters high (8832 feet). And today, with the brilliant blue skies and the snow packed peaks, well, you just couldn’t beat the view!
This view is on the way up the mountain on the cogtrain, looking over Lake Eibsee. And from the top, I think you could see ALL of the Alps! The pictures truly don’t do it justice!!
At the top of this mountain, you actually have a choice…. Germany or Austria!
For Germany, you are in Bavaria, while in the Austrian part….
You are in the Tirol!
Once we came back down, it was a short drive to our hotel to check in and walk to the Garmisch Christmas Market. It has the feeling of a small German town, a different feeling from many of the larger Christmas Markets. Here, many of the items are made locally and it’s a treat to talk to the people who make them.
And when you go to a Christmas Market, in addition to the Glühwein, you have to get a bite to eat!
You can’t go wrong with a nice Bratwurst and a hard roll!
Tomorrow in Regensburg will be a somewhat different experience! We’ll see you then!
Yessiree, that’s exactly what I needed! After the wonderful visit to Esslingen Mittelalter Weihnachtsmarkt last evening, and after only 4 hours sleep in 36 hours, it sure was great crawling into bed and getting a solid 8 hours of sleep. And now, after packing and loading the van, enjoying a good cup of strong German coffee is just what this doctor ordered.
Today, it is a trip to Ettal, Germany. Almost “spitting distance” from Austria, Schloß Linderhof is calling.
On the way, we drove into Austria and went past one of my favorite places, the Plansee. It’s a gorgeous little Alpine lake which gave us an opportunity for some pictures….
Linderhof is one of the castles of King Ludwig ll, differentiated by the opulence of it’s design. Throughout the palace, you see amazing marble columns, crystal chandeliers, all kinds of magnificent porcelain candleholders and other items, gilding of the woodwork…. just amazing! Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos. But, trust me, this is well worth the visit.
On the path up to the Castle.
A Kapelle on the grounds.
Our second stop was a drive to the Pilgrimage Church, Wieskirche. It is in the small town of Wies, outside of Steingaden. It is magnificent as well.
After that visit, we drove to Füssen to check in to our hotel and change clothes. The temperature was steadily dropping throughout the day. So a few more layers, a warmer pair of socks (thanks Gretchen!), a vest and scarf and off we went for a unique event to Reutte, Austria. Reutte is a short distance from Füssen, across the German Austrian border. Tonight was the annual Krampuslauf, or Krampus Parade. If you don’t know, Krampus accompanies St Nicholas on the 5th of December…. St Nicholas puts treats in the good little children’s shoes while Krampus takes care of the bad ones, whipping and tormenting them. Here’s the FB live video I did…
Susan got a little too close to one of the Krampus.
That pretty much ends the day for us though. Tomorrow it’s on to Neuschwanstein Castle and then to Garmisch for a trip up the Zugspitze (if the weather is good).
Sleep well! Tomorrow, the morning will start with a great German breakfast (Frühstück).
The flight from Atlanta to Stuttgart couldn’t have been any better! They served a meal shortly after take-off and somewhere over Nova Scotia, I fell asleep and didn’t awaken until we were at the outskirts of London. Then they fed us again!
Shortly before landing, the pilot came back on and told us about the weather in Stuttgart…. 30°, cloudy and snow. That’s what I was hoping for… a little snow to add to the wonder of a Bavarian Christmas!
Immigration and customs was a breeze….the hardest part was walking from the plane to Immigration!! For those of you who don’t know, Stuttgart Airport is a little gem. While it is no where as small as Des Moines, for example, this airport is so much nicer to travel through than some other European mega-airports I’ve been in, like Frankfurt, Munich, Paris or Amsterdam. It’s one of the reasons I love flying here to Stuttgart! It’s easy to navigate through!!
The hotel we stay at here in Stuttgart is right across the street from the airport, another plus. The Mövenpick is a modern hotel but very quiet and comfortable AND it makes a great place for meeting up with groups arriving and departing!
Last year, I found out about a good Christmas Market while visiting with some German Lions Club members at the Stuttgart Market. They told me it was a smaller, old time market than Stuttgart. I love the small town markets so, this year, I thought it would be nice to go check it out. Eddie and Carey, part of our tour group, came a day or two earlier to “acclimate” to the time change, so they joined me in the reconnaissance trip.
Esslingen am Neckar is town smaller than Stuttgart with what is described as a medieval Christmas market. Well, while it is smaller than the Nürnburg or Stuttgart Markets, it is by no means tiny. Highly decorated with a medieval feel, this very festive Market has loads of people, great food and, of course, great Glühwein! There are also a number of stages scattered through the marktplatz (marketplace) with medieval style entertainment taking place. This market will definitely require a repeat visit!
Tomorrow… more people arrive for the tour and once they get here, we’re off for Füssen and visits to the Wieskirchen Pilgrimage Church and to Schloß Linderhof.