It was the best of times, and the worst of times. Who couldn’t ignore the magical charm of fairly tale-like stands and shops full of gingerbread, Christmas decorations and novelties? Of course, sifting through tons of unique items in an outdoor Christmas market sounds like a nice afternoon, but when rain falls heavily from a sunless sky, the ambience seems less than perfect.
My family and I visited the annual Mannheim Christmas market last week, because no Christmas in Germany is complete without stopping by the stands circling the city’s water tower. Although Christmas markets, or Weinachtsmarkts, are quite ubiquitous throughout the country, we’ve shopped Mannheim’s holiday attraction for almost 10 years. More than a simple trip, a sojourn to the southwestern German city brings back fond memories of my youth – from eating cookies laced with colored frosting to witnessing mesmerizing tree ornaments so shiny I could see my reflection.
Below are pictures I took while wandering the market whilst attempting to keep dry.
Adults can buy toys for their children while sauntering about as well – actually, Christmas markets are a kid’s paradise. Toys, candy, carnival rides and more furnish a fun atmosphere, and for once, dreary weather can’t damper a child’s afternoon.
No Christmas market is complete without some glühwein, or spiced wine. I didn’t stop for a drink, but I highly recommend it. You can even purchase mugs made specifically for the market as a keepsake to remember your time shopping in the snow.
Although the market closes today, I’ll forever remember the first time I visited 15 years ago when I first lived in Germany. Now, I can legally drink glühwein unlike then, but for some reason I still felt like a child when crossing into the familiar territory. And I was thrilled.