Dresden Christmas Markets

12 Jan

Yes, I realize it’s January, past the Christmas season, but I never had a chance to blog about Dresden before I went home for Christmas. And all that talk about maybe doing some writing when I was home for the holidays was a joke, because as it turns out when you are home visiting from a foreign country for less than two weeks you don’t have time to see all your family, friends, your newborn niece, apply to graduate schools AND write blog entries. Who knew?

The first weekend in December Wattsenglish organized a trip to Dresden to visit one of Germany’s oldest and most famous Christmas markets. I use the term “organized” loosely because we ended up having to arrange our own accommodations and transportation, and due to train delays because of snow in the morning Jess and I missed the designated meet-up time on Saturday afternoon. So we saw all of one of our colleagues during the weekend, but that’s alright because we know it’s about quality, not quantity 😉

Similarly to how last year everyone in Sevilla told me about the beaches in Huelva, everyone in the Czech Republic told me about the hot wine (gluhwein) at the Christmas markets. They were not lying nor exaggerating. The hot wine is a staple of the Christmas markets. Or, perhaps, I should say it is the staple of the Christmas markets. You had to put down a 2 euro deposit for a mug, and only a few certain places had gluhwein to go, mostly it was served in a ceramic mug specific to the market (Dreseden had  several areas of markets, that were each technically their own market). We saw no less than 15 different flavors throughout the day. We tried maybe 5 or 6 different ones between the two of us; my favorite flavor by far was the apple gluhwein. Imagine hot apple juice with some cinnamon and spices added in, mmmmmmmmm.

In addition to being very tasty, the hot wine served the dual purpose of keeping you warm–both internally and externally. As long as it was still hot, that is. I am not exaggerating when I say I have never been in weather so cold my entire life. Last year when I traveled in Scotland and England for Christmas and New Years we had some freezing temperatures but I don’t think it was as cold as Dresden. There was one point in the afternoon (it was only 4:30, just getting dark) where I was near tears because my frozen hands hurt so bad and I thought they were going to be damaged by frostbite.

So basically that meant you had to drink the hot wine fast and often. You can imagine where that got us by the end of our 6th hour at the markets… actually maybe you can’t. We ended up inside a hot wine market stall after making friends with the vendors. And I may or may not have not been surprised when I woke up on Sunday morning to see all of the ornament purchases I made Saturday night…

So yes, in addition to glorious hot wine, the markets were full of neat Christmas ornaments and decorations. There was also tons of delicious food: sausages, bratwursts, cheeses, roasted almonds, sweet breads… All in all I had an awesome time experiencing a German Christmas market (despite the cold). To attempt to capture the atmosphere I took a video on Sunday morning. Enjoy!



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