(Framily: Webster dictionary defines as people you would do anything for, not because you have to, because you choose to. Some friends are framily, some family are not.)
Christmas markets and framily time, those are the prime objectives of this trip. It is an amazing thing to have an opportunity to visit a foreign country where framily also live. This trip is a stark contrast to last year’s adventure. Our adventure last was meticulously planned for each stage, what we wanted to do and where we wanted to stay. This year, we have the benefit of Bob & Rachel’s as a home base and their knowledge of the surrounding area to guide which Christmas markets are within reach and how we might best get there. As the old adage goes, either know what you’re doing or be with someone who does.
Our first couple of days in Germany were pre-planned to be of the quick-win variety. As the first post might have implied, Brianna and I arrived in Germany a little more fatigued than normal and the normal kind of fatigue after a 9 hour flight can be substantial. Rachel picked us up from Frankfurt airport and back to home base where we were met with hugs and kisses from the kids.
Day 1 in country left us with the option to either hit the Wiesbaden Christmas markets or recover on the couch, we choose Wiesbaden. I’m not sure if it still counts as “hair of the dog” when nearly 24 hours have already passed, but we jumped right back into it with several cups of mulled wine, or gluehwein, immediately upon our arrival to the market. Gluehwein is served in a variety of festive cups, each unique to the specific market. Vendors charge a deposit of 2€ for a cup and that cup can be refilled and kept as a memento or returned for the cash before you leave. We will post a picture of the cups we collect, but to give you a general idea, they are 0.2l in size and 2-4€ per fill.
The Wiesbaden market area seems larger than the sum of the small town’s parts when Christmas markets are in town. Early Saturday evening of the opening Christmas market weekend was packed. Food lines were long but Rachel and Brianna were on the hangry side and would not be denied. Brianna and I shared a falafel sandwich while everyone else got their own “meat on a stick.” It’s not that we are going meat free or anything for this trip, I plan on putting many German meats in my mouth, it just seemed like a safer stomach decision at the time.
Our pictures probably describe the Christmas market sites better than I can here, so check those out on our Instagram. I will say that the existence of Christmas Markets in the not-so-religious country of Germany creates an illusion of Christianity that is not too different than what we see with general Christmas shopping back in the USA. There are beautiful nativity scenes, all lit up and on display, but the markets are more about tradition and culture than piety or servitude. It makes sense though, participation in Christmas festivities is not based on religious participation in America either (Fun Fact – many Christmas markets were originally referred to as “December Markets”).
Tomorrow we visit the Frankfurt Christmas markets!