The drive to Munich ended up taking Foreveeeerrrrrr. It was supposed to take 3 hours, and we drove all day and it was 3 hours away the whole day. Haha, we stopped somewhere for lunch and traffic had backed up so it was back to three hours again, then after getting maybe an hour closer we decided to take a detour and stop to see one of the castles advertised on one of the dozens and dozens of historical landmarker signs we saw on the roadside, and after we finished with that, we still had a 3 hour drive to Munich. We laughed about that for a while. "Yep kids, still a 3 hour drive to go!" We left Rothenburg probably around 10:30 and didn't get to Munich until maybe 6 or 7? Haha. But once we actually got to Munich and found some dinner (a surprisingly satisfying Mexican restaurant, of all things, that was close enough for Max to walk over to) and went to bed... here's what it looked like... the next morning :)
This scene was en route to the market:
As we were walking towards the market, all of a sudden the buildings parted and the view opened up and we saw that amazing tower so stopped for a picture,
And then took one with Max as well (and an excellently German looking gentleman).
...and then asked someone to take a whole family shot...
...and then asked someone to take a whole family shot...
...but we realized too late that we probably should have just walked another 50 steps past the two buildings that were blocking up the view:
This square, Marianplatz, is where the main Christmas Market of Munich is held.
I regret not purchasing one from this first ornament stand - they were so delicate, made fom either extremely thin pieces of wood or dried grass/reeds. So pretty.
I know I just keep showing the same things over and over again in this video haha, I just couldn't stop, it was all so magical!
Oh it was so fun. I loved Munich. At least the very, very small portion of it that we saw. Which was basically just walking from our hotel to the huge, main Christmas Market. But it was enough to really love it.
I tried to describe the whole German/Christmas/Christkindlmarkt feel and atmosphere really vividly in my post about Rothenburg. And it was very similar here in Munich - maybe not quite so intimate a vibe because it was a much larger city, but a similar festive feeling. What a fun atmosphere it is! Rows and rows and rows of stalls full of beautiful ornaments and Christmas trinkets and delicious looking gingerbread cookies, pastries, and other sweets, all sparkling and glittering and festive. And always a steady flow of people all bundled up, calmly milling around. It creates such a unique sense of coziness and community. Christmas is special in the nature of how it can bring people together. At its very heart it honors and celebrates the joyous news of the Savior of the World, and when you come together as a community to celebrate Him, the Prince of Peace, this sacred root of the holiday permeates the nature and ambience of the festivities. So I guess walking around the beautiful markets would naturally feel calm and peaceful, since underneath the layers of sparkling fun and excitement, and the buzz of people and voices is the birth of the Savior. Yes, I can see why these markets have been a continuous tradition for centuries!
Ogles Family selfie!
I had thought that was a beautiful church behind us but have since found out it is the New Town Hall. The huge tower is a clock, not a bell tower. And at noon it has a display of dancing figurines about halfway up.
This is after we got a little further into the market, actually walking between stalls. I was moving the camera a little too fast! It's hard to see everything, but it still gives you an idea.
Examining Nutcracker ornaments. I wish we had gotten like 10 of them. We only got 1 for us and a few as gifts to friends. What was I thinking? Haha.
We had to take a photo in front of Such a gorgeous nativity scene!
We passed a stall that was selling delicious looking pastries and hot cocoa. Since we were all already freezing our tushies off, even though we'd basically just arrived at the market (but including the walk from hotel it had been maybe an hour outside?) we decided to stop and warm our insides up with some cocoa and hot pastries.
Claire eyeing the crowds as we wait.
Claire eyeing the crowds as we wait.
She got bored pretty quick so started taking her socks and boots off. Despite the frigid temperature. Crazy baby! I tried my best to keep them on her, but when she pulls them off all the time it's hard to keep up. Eventually I tucked our thick wool blanket around her legs and that seemed to deter her bored hands well enough.
The cocoa felt good on the hands and in the belly.
This my friends is an Auszogne.
A giant, fried, sweet, powdered-sugar-covered bread.
Bigger than their heads!!
Lots of powdered sugar dusted on those satisfied little mouths!!
We also got some Nutella and marmalade (red fruit jelly) filled Krapfen, which were similar to a filled donut but less sweet and more bready. Also suuuuuuper yummy.
I'm having a hard time remembering but I think this may have just been our lunch for that day haha. After eating all that yumminess none of us were very hungry!
Claire lovin' on her huge hunk of fried sweet bread haha.
Once we finished eating all the scrumptiousness it was on to more booths and more ornaments and more CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
They were just all so cute! I literally could have bought one of each and loved them all. That's probably why I only got two, there were so many that I loved, I just couldn't narrow it down!
Alice loves snow globes, her and Max examined quite a few of them. We had already picked up one for her in Rothenburg as a surprise Christmas gift, so didn't get one here in Munich.
Right next to the market was a large shopping center and all the windows on the ground floor were filled with these adorable, amazing, wintery, Christmas scenes, with automated figurines! The girls loved it!! They were so adorable, I wish I had gotten a video of them! And there were seriously so many of them, like 20 different scenes, maybe more.
And more ornaments again....
The ornaments at this stall were all handmade, with pretty little figurines, glass and wooden shapes, ribbons, felt squares, sweet little plastic holly and evergreen sprigs, and pinecones. They were so cute! I wanted ALL of them!
Oooh, and look, more of these beautiful stars that I loved so much in Rothenburg!
By this time we were all super frozen again so we headed inside that shopping mall and made our way upstairs to sit in the foodcourt for a while and warm up. I think we ended up staying in there for the better part of an hour! I don't think we even ordered anything haha. We all used the toilets, I pulled out a few snacks, some fruit leather, apples, and granola bars, and we just chilled, played "I spy", looked out the window over the city as we thawed.
After we all finally started feeling warm again and the kids started getting antsy we headed back out into the cold to explore some more. The feeling of the cold doesn't translate through the photos I took, especially since we all look so warm and bundled up, but man, it was REALLY cold! Not quite as cold as Rothenburg if I remember right, but still very very cold. Poor Jane and Alice started crying a couple times cause their feet were so cold. That was our cue to get inside and thaw out for a bit haha. While there we noticed that many of the children walking around were wearing full on snow suits and snow boots to keep warm. I regret that I didn't think to at least get them a pair of nice warm boots before the trip, once the feet are cold it's really hard not to be miserable, especially as a kid. I remember those days (most of them were on the ski hill haha).
We continued wandering down the length of the Christmas market and at the very end of it we found an ice skating rink! We didn't skate, but there was an observation area where we sat for a long time watching the people go round, the kids (and some adults!) fall, and of course the zamboni doing its work. That was very satisfying to watch, for the whole family! Highly entertaining for the somewhat bored, pretty tired kiddies.
Max found a sweet polar bear while he was sitting behind us with the sleeping Claire in her stroller.
I looooved the beautiful, festive candles in all the windows of this pretty building, and tried to get a picture of the girls in front of it. Alice refused to smile, Jane refused to even look haha.
Sooooo done with all Mom's photo opps.
But, I mean, just Look at all those lovely candles! In every single window! It's definitely worth a picture.
Once dusk came the sun went down pretty quick. The darkness, accentuating all the twinkling Christmas lights everywhere, just added to the festive ambience. So magical.
Kripperlmarkt means crib (nativity/manger) market, they have a whole section of the Christmas Market with stalls Only selling nativity and manger scenes, some of them had tables completely filled with hundreds and hundreds of tiny little figurines - shepherds, donkeys, angels, sheep, Joseph, Mary, stables and mangers and more and more.
It's dark but if you look close you can see us in the bottom corner of this photo.
We walked past the same pastry stand as before and figured we'd better get some more of the delicious goodness! So we got more Krapfen (Nutella and marmalade filled) and tried another, very traditional, regional treat called dampfnudeln. As we were eating our pastries earlier I had seen someone else eating one and had asked them what it was. It looked like a huge soft ball in a shallow bowl with a pool of creamy looking sauce all around. I didn't know if it was savory or sweet! She said it was a popular dessert that this region is known for, a kind of huge dumpling with a sweet creamy sauce. It was very good!
I had to document the stand that created such delicious treats!
Really really soft, silky, pillowy, sweet bread with a delicious, warm sauce. Perfect for a cold, wintery night.
And of course another Krapfen!
A couple stalls down they were selling bratwursts so we decided to grab a few of those too, for dinner. Haha, dinner came after dessert on this night!
I really loved their version of bratwursts - basically just a delicious bun made of quality, fresh bread, and hot, juicy sausages. Super simple. Super yummy.
After finishing our food we decided to duck into the church we were standing in front of. It was time to get warm again. We were all freezing! We really could only withstand being outside for short, maybe 1 hour, segments of time before the kids were just completely miserable from the cold. And Max and I, although not incapacitated by it, were also freezing! The church was massive, and so gorgeous. I loved enjoying its reverence. We've been in a lot of churches in our travels but this one seemed to house a very peaceful spirit, probably because it was so near Christmas. Small candles were being lit everywhere and there were people there worshipping and waiting to confess. We were also able to listen in for several minutes to the incredible choir practicing! It was seriously such a treat.
After a good 20 minutes or so we felt thawed enough to venture back out, plus we felt we had already interrupted the reverence and the choir practice enough times with our crying/yelling kids. So we went back out for a few more looks around at all the twinkle lights and the giant Christmas tree before heading back to the hotel.
Just look at that tree.
Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle lights.
Goodbye Beautiful, beautiful Munich Christmas market.
After we got back home to Oxford I lost no time in putting the ornaments we had purchased on our tree... despite the fact that Christmas was the next day haha. They still had a good couple weeks to hang there.
These are the ones I chose. It was so hard to pick!
Little nativity in a walnut shell.
And this big chunky, pinecone star. These were both from one of the handmade stalls in Munich.
In Rothenburg we got this delicate cuckoo clock. The metal is so thin, we'll have to be very careful with it.
And then two nutcrackers. I'm not sure why we didn't just get 3, one for each of the girls... That would have been a good idea.
What a wonderful Christmas tradition! I wouldn't mind attending a German Christmas Market every year. They really are something special. If you ever have the chance, you should definitely go!
It is now closer to next Christmas than it is to the one I've just described, I'm looking forward to bringing out all the sweet keepsakes we've collected this past year. Maybe I can manage to actually document Christmas day of 2016 before Christmas 2017 rolls around ;)