Sunday, December 7, 2014

Munich Christmas Adventure: The Christmas Markets!

The Christmas markets in Munich are considered some of the best, and while we don't have anything to compare them to, we thought they were pretty great. Well, I thought they were great - you can imagine that Brian was less impressed with a craft market, but he was a good sport and put up with the cold for me.
The first thing to understand about the markets is the Gluwein. This is a hot mulled wine concoction designed to keep the cold at bay so you can do more shopping. We saw a lot of Gluwein drinking and not a lot of shopping so not sure it's working as intended. Here's Brian warming up at one of the many we visited.
Here's a view of one of the Gluwein huts - pretty festive!
You are served the drinks in real mugs and you pay a 3 euro deposit, which you get back when you return the mug. Nice environmentally friendly way to deal with all those drinkers. It's also important to note that there are many types of hot drinks at the Gluwein stands. The traditional is a red mulled wine, but there is also an apple-based mulled cider, orange rum punch, strawberry rum punch and an egg nog type drink served with whipped cream. Yes, we tried them all!
Here is a really elaborate Gluwein and brat stand. It turns just like those little holiday decorations with the candles that make the rotors turn. 
Each market also has a nativity somewhere - we heard that one was a live nativity, but didn't run across it. This was a particularly pretty one.
The best time to go is dusk as the lights are coming on and then staying until full dark. The markets run from about 10am to about 8 or 9 pm, depending on the location.
Here's a good view of one at the Munich Royal Residence. We were in the museum so could capture the market from above. This one had a live performance stage in the middle and then lots of craft booths along with Gluwein and sausages.
The markets sell everything Christmas - ornaments, candles, decorations, soaps, cookies, candy and warm weather hats, socks, mittens, etc. Like a craft market with a Christmas theme. We visited four during our stay and were told there are more than 15 across the city. There's even a small one at the airport!

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