Three years ago I went all out Christmas on both blogs, and posted here a series on the various Christmas markets I'd visited in Belgium (Liège and Brussels), the Netherlands (Maastricht) and of course Germany (Aachen and Cologne). There's really something magical about those markets... a concentrated dose of Christmas cheer, plus great food and drink! They're a great place to hang out with friends when it's in your own city, and they're fun to visit and do some of your holiday shopping (when visiting some of the really nice ones). And boy do I miss them!!! Each year, when December rolls in, I get all nostalgic for the northern European Christmas Markets... Alicante is a great place to live, but when it's still around 20ºC and not much in the way of decoration and holiday music... it doesn't feel much like you're leading up to Christmas!
German Christmas markets are usually considered the best, so this year I wanted to take advantage of a 4 day December weekend in Spain to head north and catch the ambiance while visiting some friends who are in their last month of a 3 1/2 year stay in Mainz. Since I've tried to organize a trip to visit them twice before, but something always got in the way, I didn't take any risks this time and bought the tickets back in September! Little did I know back then that my job would be sending me to Austria and Germany the week before that trip, right at the beginning of Advent and the Christmas market season...
And I think I might have a little nuts with all the Christmas markets and glühwein in those extended weekends!!! The proof:
|Glühwein mugs from Christmas Markets in Austria & Germany (2015)|
That's one mug for each Christmas market where I had a glühwein (and I visited 2 others where I didn't have anything to drink). It's not as bad as it looks since it was really just 1 or 2 mugs of mulled wine per day...
I love the glühwein mugs! I've been collecting them since I lived in Liège and first visited the market in Aachen. They're a great souvenir from your visit to the market since they usually just cost the 2-3€ deposit you pay when you get your drink. Don't want to keep the mug? Just return it and get your money back! Otherwise, it's all yours!
Before these two trips, this is what my collection looked like:
|Glühwein mugs from Liège, Brussels, Aachen, Köln and Maastricht|
Now... it's almost doubled to this:
Not bad! I keep them carefully put away, bringing them out each year from December to January 6th to enjoy my tea in every day. :o)
Hmmm... I seem to have gotten carried away discussing mugs! This was just supposed to be an introductory post to the Christmas markets of Graz and Vienna (Austria) and Berlin, Mainz and Heidelberg (Germany) which I'll be writing over these Christmas holidays. Until then, pröst! :o)