What I missed most during my exam period and the pre-Christmas season in Norway were German Christmas Markets. By now it seems that Germany is established as THE December destination in the blogging world and I've already seen a lot of posts on Christmas Markets in Cologne, Nuernberg and other cities. As I however grew up in the middle of nowhere, Western Germany, I want to take you on a tour to a rural German Christmas Market today.
My hometown is in Westphalia, an area that is pretty rural, traditional and catholic. Not really my cup of tea so I always wanted to move, as far away as possible. When I tell people of my hometown however, they are all pretty fascinated by its medieval architecture (something that I personally find absolutely boring). When I visited the christmas market in Paderborn a week ago though, I certainly began to understand why this area of Germany could be appealing to people. The old town hall and the cathedral in the background of christmas lights looked definitely pretty.
Now Paderborn is about 30km away from my hometown and is the nearest "city" in the area. I use quotation marks because in my view, it still is a pretty boring city that doesn't offer too much (although it's a lot bigger than Tromso). It's a very traditional, catholic and rural city and characterized by its cathedral and various catholic holidays and festivities and its university, that, of course, is attended by people who do not want to move away from home ever.
Anyway, the christmas market there is situated partly in the pedestrian area and partly in front of the cathedral. It's naturally a lot smaller and less crowded than the markets in for example Cologne. It however also is a lot more regional in that you can buy regional handcraft and meat there as opposed to Cologne where sellers come from all over the country. So a few of the most typical products of the market in Paderborn are Westphalian sausages, often sold as 0,5 metre sausages and Christian Christmas decorations. Of course you can also find all those food booths with fries, popcorn, gingerbread hearts, roasted almonds and other delicacies there as well as bars that serve mulled wine, hot cocoa and various Christmas specialties like Feuerzangenbowle and Lumumba.
This market is not visited by tourists from all over the world, as it is the case in Cologne, but by people from the greater area. Families, couples, friends and of course clubs and societies visit the market jointly to mainly eat and drink a lot. It's a nice way to celebrate the Advent season, I have to admit that, and I definitely looked forward to visiting the Christmas market and eat some fries the most while I was still in Norway. I don't know why the Norwegians don't have such a great Christmas market (or chip shop) culture as we Germans, but I'll definitely come back to Germany for Christmas in the future. Even though there's no snow, visiting a Christmas market is just the most festive thing you can possibly do!
Have you ever visited a German Christmas Market? Where? And would you like to go back?
(This is my last post on the holidays. If you want to know what Christmas is like in Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands or if you still haven't decided whether you want to spend Christmas at home or away, head over to the blogs of Kaelene, Eva, Cecilia, Cynthia, Sophie and Kerri who were my lovely guest bloggers these past few weeks!)