I love Christmas time. It's the only good part about winter. I'm not a winter person; I feel more chills than a normal person, my shoulders start hurting after wearing 3 sweaters + thick coats for hours (yes I layer up like crazy!), night time approaching at 4PM - I loathe all of it! And that's when Christmas time swoops in like a knight in shining armour and rescues me from the dark gloomy days ahead. And Munich's knight in shining armour is even more awesome because it has Christmas markets! The Distillery District in Toronto does it as well but I think that runs for only a week or so? Anyway, streets filled with lights and wooden stalls and food and sweets and gorgeous handmade crafts and music, what's there not to love?!
These street markets start four weeks before Christmas, marking the beginning of Advent and run every day all four weeks. My research tells me the Christmas Markets started around Late Middle Ages. Those Middle ages folks really knew how to have fun! Someone please invent a remote control for life that allows you to rewind time - I'd like to go back to the middle ages! Especially after going to a few medieval towns (Bruges, Nurnberg, Regensburg) and reading a book based on medieval times 12th century England, I think it'd be really cool to experience the old world feel and charm. As a watcher. I don't want to live in medieval times because I love my iPhone and green tea too much. But it'd be cool to just watch Europe back in time. Like, you see them but they can't see you. They would be walking and you'd make fun of them and they wouldn't know! Sounds borderline creepish. BUT HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?!
Anyway back to the weihnachtsmarkt! There's quite a few in Munich. One of the smaller ones is in the area Munchner Freiheit I mentioned. There's a really big one in Marienplatz. You can see it in the video below:
My favourite one is a medieval themed one. The stalls and their vendors are decked up like medieval times and sell items that evoke feel of that period! Someone make time travel happen! I did not have my camera on me when we were there (and we were there at least twice) so here's a couple crappy pictures from my phone:
|a kiosk with old kitchen tools and cutlery!|
|Hot apple drink to keep me warm - cute cup!|
I really should start taking more pictures of Munich. I realize I only really use my camera when we are outside of Munich. Christmas Markets also have tons of lebkuchen, it's a special kind of gingerbread cookie these Germans like to have during Christmas time.
|chocolate covered warm cream puffs in one of the indoor market.|
This takes place on the same grounds as Oktoberfest. So it is huge as well. Tollwood festival is not just limited to Christmas Markets. They start around 4 weeks prior to Christmas but actually run till the new years. They do have their own Christmas markets as well. However, what sets them apart from the various Christmas markets are the huge tents with huge indoor markets selling all kinds of ornaments, handicrafts, other cool stuffs with each tent providing it's own lounging area/eatery and entertainment. There is a lot to do at the Tollwood festival. Some tents actually cost you money because they provide special entertainment such as music and theatre. We were only able to go there once but it was fun! And they had so many food options, we couldn't decide what to eat! Finally we settled on yummy gorgonzola cheese pizza.
New Year's EveIf there is one thing that did not please me about Munich, it's the way these Germans celebrate New Year's. It actually is not limited to just Munich. It's the entire German nation. They go nuts. Absolute nuts. And I wish I was exaggerating when I say this but the city that usually is charming and chill, on new year's becomes a chaotic mess of a war zone. Fireworks are not conducted by the city. And fireworks and rockets are available in stores for public buying. Now you can imagine what ensues when all these Germans buy their own fireworks and rockets, go outside and fire them off haphazardly in EVERY DIRECTION POSSIBLE. Umair and I couldn't decide what to do on new year's so we thought 'oh, why don't we go to the city center, they'll maybe have nice music on and fireworks. Maybe a concert.' And when we get there, I kid you not, I wanted to run right back down to the subway. It was madness. And it was only 10.30 PM! We found a sheltered spot to view the chaos, but every now and then, I would cover my eyes or head or pull Umair back because there would be a rocket coming our way. I had a few sparks go off on my jeans - and that's when I told Umair that I had had enough! So we decided to head back. But there was another issue - we were in a somewhat sheltered spot. To leave, we had to walk through the battlefield. And that was impossible. So we waited till midnight. It got even more crazy at midnight. And by that time I was so terrified that I was ready to run through that battlefield just so I could get to the subway and be home safe in my couch.
It was quite an experience, new year's in Munich.
I know being in an actual battlefield is something I cannot ever imagine as to what it'd be like....but this chaos was like nothing I have ever seen before and war zone really is the word to describe it. And once it all ended, the streets were a complete trash-mess! But everyone knows the efficiency of these Germans. When we woke up in the morning, the streets were all clean and Munich felt like the same charming Munich again. But one thing is for sure - I am never spending another new year's in Germany!