Fewer hours of daylight and chilly temperatures might having you thinking about waiting till the spring to enjoy European travel. Don’t let any of those obstacles keep you away, especially in the magical month of December.
The Christmas Markets in Europe usually open the last weekend of November. Bringing holiday spirit throughout many cities. In Frankfurt at the Römerberg Christmas market I found stalls piping out holiday music. People shopping for treats and glass ornaments. Children twirling in circles on the beautifully adorned carousel. A choir singing beneath a huge Christmas tree. All taking place outdoors amongst hundreds of stalls.
I wandered throughout the market enjoying the beautiful displays.
With a plethora of food stalls make sure you come to the market hungry!
I recognized the smell of cherry. Kirsch (cherry liquor) is a component of fondue. I was drawn to the stall where I met Lena and her brother, both fondue makers. They were melting copious amounts of cheese in their beautiful copper vats. Traditional fondue in the swiss style, however, made with a german farmer cheese. Lena offered me a sample and that was all it took. The taste was rich yet delicate and the cheese silky. I chose bread for an accompaniment. Seriously, how can you not. Perfect afternoon indulgence!
I wanted to partake in tradition of huddling in a stall standing drinking an adult beverage. I knew that hot mulled wine known as Glühwein was the drink most enjoyed at Christmas markets. It’s makes spending an afternoon or evening outside in the cold for a few hours much easier. Glühwein is red wine heated with spices, lemon, lots of sugar and a dash of cinnamon. You purchase your mug filled to the top with the piping hot wine and if you want to forfeit your deposit of a couple of euros the mug is your’s to take home. Personally I find mulled wine a little to syrupy and fruity so a German beer for me it was. I made my way to a table to admire the decorations and people watch. I was soon joined by four other people. We were all there for the same reason. Historic tradition, festive atmosphere, local treats and a beverage to warm us up.
They were celebrating a birthday and I was celebrating the moment. We became fast friends.
Frankfurt is just one of the many cities offering Christmas Markets around Europe in December. Each city offers their own special flavor but all offer the sense of stepping back in time. Reminding us that the Holiday season is when you should connect with your friends and gather with your family.
Let the sparkling lights and the magic of the season fulfill your wanderlust for an new year.