Christmas conjures images of frosty nights with snow falling outside the window, huddling around a fire eating warm cinnamon treats, glowing lights and candles brightening the early darkness and Santa with his elves visiting children as they sleep, all rugged up in bed.
Not for those of us that grew up in Australia! This idea of Christmas is more a dream that we learnt from carols and movies. Our holidays were instead spent celebrating over a smorgasbord of seafood then at the beach trying to keep cool eating icy delights. Needless to say, J and I were excited to live out our childhood dreams, starting in the magical city of Munich.
Although Munich is a place of many charms all year round, from its beautiful castles to social beer gardens, there is no doubting that at Christmas time it truly comes to life.
After making the almost 28 hour trip from Australia, we were determined not to waste a minute. So, after a quick pretzel and coffee at our hotel we were off.
It didn’t take long to find a Christmas market, as there was one right around the corner from our hotel at Sendlinger Tor. A small and cozy market set in front of an enchanting medieval wall, it was a good introduction of what was to come.
As we got closer to the center of the city, the Christmas spirit was building.
There were people playing carols on pianos in the street.
Even construction cranes were getting festive.
Beautiful indoor arcades revealed elegant foyers to private residences, each with perfect fir trees welcoming their owners’ home.
By this stage we were starving and on the look out for a restaurant we had been recommended called the Weisses Brauhaus (just near the Marienplatz). This traditional Bavarian beer house was the perfect place to refuel (if I am being completely honest, more like overfuel) and kick off a week of indulging in hearty German food.
As the sun began to set (at around 4pm) we ventured into the magical scene of the Marienplatz.
The almost 30m tall Christmas tree shed a beautiful, glowing light over the markets that filled the entire square. There were all kinds of people bustling around, young families enjoying the festivities, adults meeting up for a drink after work and tourists like us, soaking it all in.
There was one thing for sure, every single person had a bratwurst in one hand and a gluwein (or kinderpunsch) in the other. The never fail way to stay toasty in the chilly evening air.
Each stall that sells gluwein has a unique mug with an illustration of the market and it’s name. I couldn’t help myself but collect a few mugs along the way. They are the perfect size for a morning coffee!
We tried many tasty goodies as we wandered. Reibekuchen, a fried potato pancake was a particular hit, so much so we went back for seconds.
With weary feet and tired eyes we began to wander back to our hotel and were lucky enough to find one last charming market, the Sternenplatzl or 'square of stars'. The buildings lining the tiny square (Rindermarkt) had beautifully painted façades but the real magic was when you looked above the stalls. Elegantly carved sleighs and rotating nativity characters were surrounding us.
Nostalgia is the theme of this market with beautiful carved wooden toys a particular speciality.
Although it was hard to believe our luck, tiny snowflakes began to fall! They didn’t last for much more than a second once they hit the ground but we didn’t mind. Perfectly content with Christmas spirit we were finally ready to call it a day.
Weisses Brauhaus - http://www.weisses-brauhaus.de