Thursday, November 27, 2008


The days of Christmas are near when Krampus makes an appearance. My sister came for the Christmas markets the first year I lived in Germany. We had read about the Krampus Run and were intrigued when we learned about Krampus and Knecht Ruprecht, who join St. Nick on December 5th, only with more sinister intentions. Of course being good little American girls this was something we had never encountered.

When we went into the market I was horrified at how scary the Krampus actually were, even though I knew they weren't 'real'. We also got at good laugh out of a mini-Krampus who was a child dressed in a similar furry suit and his larger companion that smacked Stefan with his switches. Nothing delighted my little heart more than seeing my husband singled out for being a naughty one.

Salzburg gets an early start on their Christmas markets and started theirs on the 20th, while Munich will begin theirs on Friday the 28th. As I meandered around Salzburg's markets I was constantly struck by the devilish grin of Krampus on everything from masks better suited for halloween, to chocolates and gingerbread.

Then there was my favorite - an entire Krampus army made out of dried fruit. I also saw my other Christmas favorite - decorated apples.

On occasion we also have the 'Frohes Weihnachten' variety, as well as the hearts. They are made with stickers while the apples are ripening. I still have to admit they are pretty fascinating, which they should be considering they cost about 2€ for a single apple.

I decided to surprise Stefan with his annual advent calendar, which are quite a big deal around here. I thought the less traditional 'tea a day' was more interesting than the random chocolate. Besides, we don't need an excuse like advent to eat chocolates!

I was reminded on my tours that I absolutely love Salzburg in the winter. I'm not sure how I really forget it, or if I block it out so that it's always something magical. Mirabell gardens slowly take the back seat as all of the stunning colors fade to brown and the rest of the city shines with beautiful lights.

They have a large variety of different kinds of glühwein and plenty of warm mugs to go around. Then there is the ice skating rink in the middle of Mozartplatz that makes my inner teenager squeal with delight. All of it combined really make for a romantic atmosphere.

This year, only half of the Christmas market is up due to the continued excavations, which hold my interest. They must be fielding many questions because they have put up a sign denoting what exactly is happening there. It makes me wonder where they will sell their pitifully small and completely adorable christmas trees this year. The best items at the market that I saw were the wood carved animal pens. They have everything from rabbits, frogs, flamingos, and dogs, to sea horses and sting rays.

I'm really looking forward to getting paid to shop around at the Christmas markets, sample all of the seasonal foods, and of course being able to share this little gem with tourists from around the globe.


Bluefish said...

I'm not sure what to buy for my in-laws this Christmas...I heard that Cologne has the biggest Christmas market in the world. Is it true?

Emily said...

I never heard about the market there being the biggest. I know the Nürnberg market is one of the most famous. I'm hoping to get there this year because I know for a fact they have the most amazing cookies.