Welcome to my new blog! Following many years of graduate study in musicology (see my bio if you don't know what musicology is), I am finally embarking on my fieldwork portion of my degree, spending one year in Germany. For all the latest updates on Music, Life, and Travel, read on, friends!

Thursday, December 20

Post-Salzburg Bliss!

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:

Dragon wind chime. This is something that no one needs, but it was really cool!
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.
Here is a shot of the market from the Rathaus. It was very pretty at night.
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.

Mother Mary

Yet another example of the beautiful tile work!
I knew the Christmas market was a real winner when I saw that they had boot-shaped mugs! I am not one to collect things, as I still maintain a semi-nomadic lifestyle as a graduate student and I don’t have the muscles or the space to transport and store objects. I do, however, have room for another boot-shaped mug a la the mugs from Chicago’s market. B and I have three different mugs from Chicago, and I finally have chosen a German mug to take home with me to add to the Gluehwein mug collection. I got another Eierpunsch at this market, this time with whipped cream and no cinnamon. I still compare the experience to drinking cake batter – sweet, and semi-thick, but hot! I also got Flammkuchen, which is a thin, pizza-like food with a cream sauce and toppings, like onions, bacon, and green onions. It was soooooo good! It certainly was a nice change from the greasy items, like Reibekuchen, that I still love, but probably don’t need to eat any more of this year. J got a fried fish filet, which she said was also great!

Here is my Flammkuchen. It was very tasty!
Finally, the long-awaited boot-shaped mug! I liked the color too!
Aachen is also known for Printen – a gingerbread-like cookie specific to this region. I bought a couple bags, tried a couple of types, and I really liked them! Some are hard, some are soft, some are covered in chocolate or sugar, others are plain. Aachen also has a confectionery that makes “Dominosteine,” which are chocolate-covered cubes of gingerbread, apricot, and a bit of marzipan. So wonderful!

Giant inflatable Printen man! I don't think I would try to eat this one!

Enjoy your last days before Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. I was in Aachen between a conference and some research. I got to see the cathedral, which is quite beautiful. However, I mis-timed my visit to the crown jewels, so they had closed. All the other touristy stuff was closed too (it was a Monday), so I spent a looong time in the train station waiting to get back to Dortmund (like 4-5 hours). Plus, the postcards I had bought as souvenirs got crumbled beyond use in my bag, so I don't have very good memories of Aachen. :-/