Saturday, 17 December 2011

Weihnachtszeit - Photos - Bavarian Christmas

Well, my trip to Bavaria was good. I don't have too much time for writing this blog at present, but I thought you might like to see some of the Christmas photos I took during my trip. They're mostly of Regensburg and Coburg.

Yes, it's a cliche that the Germans do Christmas better than anyone else - but I really think it's true. Many towns have a Christmas market (or several) and the shops, restaurants and churches can be most elaborately and painstakingly decorated. This is one of several exquisitely baroque windows from a confectioner's shop in Regensburg.
Here's another, in quite a different style, from a shop in Coburg. You see the tiny men (about 3 cm high) labouring with chocolate to create a gigantic truffle. What I like is the way that someone has made each tiny plastic man a tiny Christmas hat. 
The markets usually open during the day, but sometimes they're fairly quiet, and things start to get going  when darkness falls. There is sometimes an area for kids with a merry-go-round or two, and perhaps a nativity scene
As it gets darker, more people arrive.....
This was sunset in Coburg, and the big orange awning to the right was the bar. This had been quite busy for a while, mostly with young men who didn't seem to have much else to do in the daytime but stand around and drink.
But they were soon outnumbered as ordinary people came along from work, with their families, or coming to meet their friends.  (Look at the brightly painted old buildings in the background, by the way - they almost seemed like part of the festive market atmosphere).
By the time night had fallen, the bar was full of people socialising with friends. Some seemed to have come along straight from work for some gluhwein and a snack.
You can perhaps see the statue of Prince Albert (husband of Queen Victoria) peering over the top of the bar canopy.  The statue was given by Victoria to the city, because of course Albert came from Coburg, and there were several interesting exhibitions about him scattered throughout the town to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his death.
It was quite cold and this stall had a brazier in the middle which gave out a fair bit of heat.
 The hot drink was a beautiful plum colour.  I didn't know what "Padzera" meant.
The stalls in the Christmas markets I saw had all kinds of things for sale.  Some sold home made cookies, or the ubiquitous gingerbread hearts

There were all kind of food stalls, selling everything from sausages and chocolate, to ham and cheese and crepes in various flavours .

And of course lots of people drank gluhwein and ate sausages

This stall specialised in wood carvings and tree ornaments. I thought it made a fine display
Here's a close up
I saw lots of nutcracker soldiers in Bavaria.  Originally they came from a mountainous area called Erzgebirge, which specialises in woodcarving. I think they're incredibly ugly, and a bit frightening, and I'm not really surprised that the Brothers Grimm thought they were malevolent.  Here they are with some "light arches" - a kind of Christmas candlestick. 
You see a funny mixture sometimes of religious and fairytale imagery. This fairground-looking angel was rather pleasant - I think she presided over a food or drink stall.
But I found this little corner quite creepy.  Admittedly, the market hadn't got going when I took it but do you see the witch sitting on the chimney of her gingerbread house with her pet raven, and that flaxen haired goose girl or whatever she is? She is life sized, but not real, and later on, when there were real children about, she looked even more peculiar.
Some of the stalls sell tiny little houses.  I'm not quite sure if these are used in Christmas decorations, since only a few of them are covered in snow.
But there are stalls selling all you could need for making a Nativity scene - tiny little farmyard animals, mangers, figures..... this child really liked them.
For a child, there's something specially exciting about going on a carousel and seeing bright lights at night.
Late one night we went across the town square in Coburg and saw a full moon.  With all the steep old houses, the whole thing looked a bit like a Christmas card. The next day, it snowed, but I was on my way to Munich by then.


  1. Have to agree, nothing like Germany at Christmastime.

  2. So many beautiful images here. I adore the photo of the little child peering at the nativity pieces.

    Your header and beautiful!

  3. Oh my heart just stopped! You had me at "nutcracker"! I've been collecting them for many years, some expensive most are not, a few yard sale finds, but nonetheless each one is precious to me.

    I could sense the excitement and smell the sausages!

  4. Love the festive atmosphere you captured there, Jenny. :)

  5. Wow! Wow! Wow! So very glad you shared these with us. I enjoy my vicarious travels with you so much. I was especially fascinated by those wooden ornaments for some reason. I am not a fan of the nutcracker soldiers, either!! Glad to hear somebody else thinks they are creepy and ominous--LOL! All the lights and the people and the foods and the treasures...just wow! :)

  6. Thank you, Jenny - what could have been a more fitting company to my morning coffee on the 4th Advent Sunday than this post? :-)
    Pazdera has nothing to do with apples; the "Pommes" in the writing on the bar board refers to what in England is called chips and in the US french fries, in German it is "Pommes frites" (yes, that's French and literally means fried apples, but believe me, it's spuds). And the name on the glass is simply and advertisement for the company, they are "travelling landlords", as you can see here:
    The friendly angel is looking down on a stall serving Punsch and Glühwein, as far as I can tell from the name of the stall and the sign dangling from it :-)
    You are right, the scene with the witch and the little girl is rather creepy; I know I would have been fascinated by her as a child, I would have been 100% convinced that she would come alive when nobody was looking. I suppose the scene is based on "Hänsel und Gretel", but where is Hänsel?
    Oh, and I love the shop window with the tiny men working on the chocolate truffel! What a wonderful idea!

  7. @librarian , thank you for the explanations, I m glad to know what Pazdera is. - I guess they must take their brackets and stalls around to fairs and markets. Yes I confess I forgot "pommes" was French notGerman and so I thought it must be selling some formof hot apple drink- chips were the one thing I did not see at the Market! I too looked for Hansel but didn't find him and I don't know if you can see but the girl is dressed in old style clothes. I thought she WAS real and was amazed to see someone still wearing plaits... Yes I wish I had made a mission to photograph chocolate shops, never seen anything like them.

    @Rita - the ornaments were indeed fascinating, specially the finely carved intricate silhouettes. Lovely for the tree although they would also look pretty in a window.

    @floweringmama - the biggest nutcracker I saw was a life sized adult one in the doorway of a toyshop I think it was in Nuremburg. He looked so fierce I was really scared to go in the toyshop! :)
    @Lina, @Jill and @Gemel, thanks and I am so glad the festive feeling came over. It really is special.

  8. A real trip down memory lane for me having spent a wonderful holiday in the Black Forest at Christmas time and the markets especially the one in Stuttgart were fabulous! Hot gluwein and a roll stuffed with barbequed mackerel eaten in the freezing winter market - mmmn wonderful!

  9. The footprints in the sand make me wish it was summer. I adore the German markets. Your mention of the witch reminded me of those houses that had a witch on the roof - all year round. It might have been an Austrian thing. Anyway, I never did discover the reason. Must look it up.

  10. The goods sold on the stalls looks so different from those in japan, and I cannot help gazing them. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous photos.

  11. Thank you to make us dream! i'm feeling like a child again, and it's soooo good!:o)

  12. German Christmas markets are the best in the world! I have had time to do any recently and i regret it! They are so festive.

  13. Wow! Beautiful pictures! I love German Christmas markets...

  14. What stunning photographs!!!! Germany looks amazing at Christmas time and surprisingly, it was never really on my list until I saw this post. I just love the little truffle makers but unlike you, my favourites are the nutcracker soldiers!!!

  15. Wonderful photographs evoking a great atmosphere. Thank you for posting this.

  16. The Germans do make a big thing of Christmas right enough. That looks much better than the tacky scenes British towns offer.

  17. These are phenomenal Weihnachstmarkt photos!

  18. Oh to have markets like that here, where people go to buy good food and quality goods and not expect cheap tat and low prices!!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog-interesting to see other blogging friends have been here before me!

  19. Thanks so much for ALL the comments, each and every one is appreciated. Yes, @Adullamite, I really feel quite cross at some of the pathetic stalls you see in England. I suppose we didn't even have any till a few years ago. There's a nice Winter Wonderland in Regents Park though with good things (not as nice as the German ones of course) and actually a number of the stalls are run by Germans. @Emm, glad you might put it on your list for next year, I suspect that markets in small towns might be better than some of those in cities. @DeeBee, thanks for your continuing comments here, I still can't comment on your blog and never got a reply from Google (so-called) Help. Actaully having said that I will check again and see if things have improved since I was away. @Valerie, I never heard of houses with witches on the roof *(which is not to say there aren't any) I do remember in Northern Germany there were (real) storks nesting on roofs and I think that also happens in parts of Denmark. They seem to be pretty huge birds, and being the unromantic soul I am, I can't hlep thinking about all that bird-pop trickling down the walls :)
    @Marigold Jam, I actually went out and bought a buttle of mulled wine today, I ought to get myself over to France and get some cheapo wine to make it myself next year. I bet the Black Forest at Christmas was been wonderful.

  20. One can really see that our images of Christmas came from Germany! Everything is so storybook, exactly the way E.T.A. Hoffman or the Brothers Grimm relayed. Lovely photos!

  21. Wonderful post, Jenny. It brings back so many great memories of my times in Germany. I'm looking forward to the Regensburg photos.

  22. The photo's particularly delighted me since I was born in Coburg... no that THAT Coburg but Coburg, Oregon, USA. It is a tiny little spot in the road and not much decorated.

  23. I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who takes vicarious vacations with you! This is a wonderful post--I felt I was there and full of Christmas spirit(s). Marjorie

  24. Brilliant!! Love this. My MIL is originally from Bavaria... so it is good to see something of this place

  25. Hi, Jenny! I’ve been to Bavaria in the middle of autumn. We drove south toward the Alps and entered Austria. The medieval towns along the road was simply charming. I remember a bread and sausage at the street vendor was very delicious. I wish I could return at this time of year! Travel to Germany around Christmas is very popular in Japan. I’m a little envious of European people as you can cross borders much easier and no need of long hours spent in the airplane. Thank you for taking us along to the Christmas Market. I can almost smell the aroma of delicious food and feel the excitement in the air through your fabulous photos.

    Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


  26. Wow! These images are great! I thought we over did Christmas but these are awesome! Happy Holidays Jenny!:)

  27. Ahhh. I've been to the area four times but have never made it for Christmas. One day. Where did you stay in Regensburg?

  28. Thanks for sharing your wonderful visit to the markets - the images make me want to be there.

    Of late the city near to where I live holds a continental market near Christmas - but the wonderful German magic is not there. The Germans do do Christmas expertly!

    Frohe Weihnachten Jenny!

    Anna :o]

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  30. Hazel, I stayed in the Sorat-Insel hotel at Regensburg, which was lovely, a converted mill just at the far end of the famous bridge, on a little island.
    Yes, Yoko, it's great to be able to see so many different countries relatively easily - without a visa. Of course to us, Japan and nearby places all seem fascinating and mostly so far away that it's hard to imagine getting the chance to see them. Darla, I hope that YOUR Coburg has happy memories anyhow.... yes, it's funny how places with (almost) the same name can be so different. York and New York. Hm. :)
    A very happy Christmas and Frohe Weihnachten to everyone!

  31. This was great, spending time poring over the stalls and shops. Actually, I've always liked nutcrackers, even since a young child and I particularly like the little German Christmas houses.
    Thanks for the trip.

  32. Coburg seems to be an awesome place!!! Hope you have an awesome Christmas, and if I don't have time to post on my blog before 2012, a happy new year as well :-)

  33. Not sure how I missed this post, but I am glad to read it today. It was a like a Christmas present to myself. Speaking of that...
    I asked for and received YOUR BOOK for my Christmas present!!! I am so excited that was under my tree!
    Not much time for reading today but am so looking forward to it! :-)

  34. Kay, I'm really honoured! Thank you. I do hope you like reading the book.

    Dominic, thank you, I always enjoy your great photos!

    @Rubye Jack, you're right, several people disagree with me about the nutcrackers. I think I was probably frightened by them as a young child and never quite got over that strange feeling when I see them :)

    @Welshcakes Limoncello, thank you for your good wishes, and I hope your SIcilian Christmas was a good one!

  35. i loved taking this walk with you! I think the creepy house is the gingerbread house that Hanzel and Gretel were mezmerized by! It looks like something from the storybook. I could never figure out why anyone would want to socialize out in the cold. Give me a warm hearth to sit by sipping something warm and delicious over standing out having my backside chilled! lol I do love visiting your posts!

  36. Thanks Linda! Definitely one creepy house.


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