Around November of every year, German cities and villages host Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas markets. Actually, I think most cities in Europe host some kind of Christmas market. When I visited my friends in Budapest after Christmas, there were still food stands at the Christmas market. I had a nice spicy kielbasa there.
But in all honesty, this Christmas market is the one I remember the most. This was the one time when all the remaining interns went out as a group to a Christmas market. Sure I had some fine mulled wine at the Stuttgart market every now and then. But then again it doesn’t compare with enjoying it in the company of all your good friends.
After work, everybody met up at the main train station to take the regional train north. Bad Wimpfen is north of Stuttgart in the Heilbronn region. We were all covered up pretty well. I was wearing thick socks, thermal underwear, gloves, a scarf, and a black beanie. It had just started to snow in Stuttgart recently and the weather has cooled significantly.
As we approached Bad Wimpfen, I noticed that it was a walled town. This would only be my second town in Germany with old city walls. It was a small town and it definitely seemed like very nook and cranny within those walls were decorated as much as possible. It was more Christmas village than Christmas market. Going through the entrance gate, it was like stepping from a cold field into a warm, lively party.
We walked around a bit and went up the tower to get to the highest point of town. From there, we saw the entire town spread before us. On the horizon, I saw glimpses of the civilization we left behind. Lights from the suburban areas twinkled in the distance. Below us the market was lively with families having fun and friends drinking mulled wine together.
At this point we all decided to get some wine and food. Together, we bought wine in souvenir boot cup. It is a piece of kitsch that is dialed to maximum. But I ate it up. The boot cup had Christmas designs all over it and said Bad Wimpfen on it. Most people return the cups so they could get their deposit back. You could always keep the cup, which I as tourist did. I also had leberkäse on a kaiser roll. Leberkäse looks like spam but tastes like a meatloaf. It was a warm treat on this cold night. Since I was still hungry, I had ordered some bratwurst to go.
We did a little bit of window shopping. Some of my friends bought Christmas gifts there. One friend got a nutcracker for her sister. I bought a neat little candle lantern. There was one curious store that sold all things witches. There were witches with long noses hanging as decoration all along the ceiling. It was a strange sight for a Christmas Market.
As we made our last rounds along the streets of Bad Wimpfen, I saw a little exhibit called Children’s Christmas Village. It reminded me of my days as I child going to the Christmas market in Bonn with my family. Despite being so far from home, I had my Stuttgart family with me. We spent a fun night here and we took a late train back to the city.