After my Salzburg adventure, I have barely slowed down. After getting some good work done on Wednesday (I had my first interview for my dissertation research!), I spent the rest of the week working on getting ready for going to San Diego over the holiday.
Friday I continued my quest for Weihnachtsmarkt greatness! I spent the day with my friend J, from the department store excitement photo here. We first took a quick trip to Siegburg, which is a small town near Bonn. Siegburg is actually fairly significant, as one of Germany's main fast train lines runs through Siegburg on its way to Frankfurt Airport. I haven’t taken a train from Siegburg before, but lots of train searches suggest that I do so. Siegburg has a medieval Christmas market. What is a medieval Christmas market, you may be asking? Well, they aren’t that uncommon in Germany. Apparently Bremen has one, as well as other cities. In Siegburg, visitors are treated to a medieval atmosphere: some of the vendors use an antiquated version of German, vendors only use candles to light their booths, ancient delicacies, like “Met,” or mead, are offered to visitors, and most of the wares are hand-made. I was very tempted to buy this guy:
J and I got mead and walked around, checking out the guys in jester costumes and watching some of the craftsman build their products on site.
|Kids were also trying their hand at wood carving. The carousal in the background was also hand-powered!|
|Here is a good example of the candlelight and lamplight at the Medieval market.|
|Mead, or "Met," is an alcoholic drink made of honey. I found it to be very sweet, but I should have expected it! All of the mugs in Siegburg were made of clay - very cool, and authentic, I guess!|
|In case you needed some pottery, this place had you covered!|
We then left Siegburg for Aachen, a city on the Belgian-Dutch-German border. I have wanted to go to Aachen for awhile, as I had heard the city center is quite beautiful. I also heard good things about the Christmas market, so we checked it out for a couple of hours. Some of the highlights were visiting the cathedral, finding a boot-shaped Gluehwein mug, and eating Flammkuchen.
The Christmas market is located around Aachen’s cathedral and city hall (Rathaus). Aachen is surprisingly hilly, and the Rathaus is up the hill from the cathedral. Aachen was a significant part of the Holy Roman Empire, and Charlemagne (Karl der Grosse) hung out there for a bit. The cathedral’s octagonal structure was first built in the 8th(!!!) century. The mosaic tiles are so beautiful. It reminds me of Ottoman architecture and style, thanks to the inclusion of lots of blues and abstract images (vines, flowers, and shapes), as opposed to portraits (although this church has those too!). I need to go back during the day, and it was difficult to take photos, and the sanctuary portion of the church was very difficult to see in the dark lighting.
|Here is a good example of the blue mosaic tiles and the different shapes on the ceiling.|
|Yet another example of the beautiful tile work!|
|Finally, the long-awaited boot-shaped mug! I liked the color too!|
|Giant inflatable Printen man! I don't think I would try to eat this one!|