On a cold gloomy morning, I arrived at Leipzig, in Germany’s federal state of Saxony, with enthusiasm and anxiousness. My weapon against the cold was my warm jacket and fighting my anxiousness was a meticulously marked map of Leipzig in my pocket. Augustusplatz was exactly where Leipzig Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market place) begun for me. Dating back to 1458, Augustusplatz was only an extension of the actual market place in front of Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall).
I stood at the centre of Augustusplatz, from exactly where I saw the City Hochhaus on my left, the Gewandhaus (or the concert hall) a small ahead of it, Paulinum (or the University of Leipzig) in front of me and the Leipzig Opera on my ideal. My most important concentrate amongst all of this was the ornate Grimmaische Street.
The street was dotted with wooden stalls and buzzing with cheer, as fresh snow fell on us. Right here I got introduced to Germany’s Lebkuchen Heart– the heart-shaped gingerbread, Moravian stars (also identified as the Herrnhuter Stern in German), votive lamps and candles and the renowned glühwein (or mulled wine).
Study: Solo Location: Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
Soon after photographing the 500-metre street incessantly, I was taken aback by magnificence of Marktplatz (market place square). The Christmas Marketplace cosily rests in the heart of Marktplatz and consists of far more than 200 stalls.
Exploring the festivities of the labyrinth market place square, I warmed up with a glühwein in front of a stage exactly where an orchestra of musicians sang Christmas carols. A small away, youngsters cheered to their guardians from a merry-go-round and ferris wheel.
The aroma from meals stalls tempted me to attempt their conventional sausages. I took a although to determine in between currywurst (fried, spiced and sauced pork sausages) or bratwurst (uncomplicated German pork sausages). Armed with a currywurst and dunkle trinkschokolade (dark hot chocolate), I created my way to a shelter joining a crowd of nearby Germans. ‘Prost’ we mentioned in chorus and immersed in the Christmas fervour.
Later that snowy evening, as I walked back to my B&B, a smaller wooden cluster of huts on Augustusplatz caught my eye. Delaying my preferred to return to a warm bed, I walked into Südtiroler Dorf, a replica of South Tyrolean village. This old-fashioned wooden cabin market place sold South Tyrolean craftwork, great choice of liqueur, and also had a handful of alternatives of cheese and ham. I also heard loud music coming from a corner and pushed my way by way of the crowd to see an interactive duo singing in German on a mounted stage. A lively audience sang and danced as they sipped their alcoholic infusions. I joined the mirth by dancing alongside enthusiastically–etching a Christmas memory forever.
Only a 115 kilometres away, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt boasts of becoming the oldest in Germany. The baroque capital of Saxony is not only identified for its magnificent architecture and devastating history (it was bombed in WWII), but also sees a substantial influx of Germans for its Christmas Marketplace.
The 583rd Dresdner Striezelmarkt sparkled at the centre of Dresden’s Altmarkt. At sunset I walked up to the cupola of Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) and saw the Striezelmarkt hugged by the modern day Altmarkt Galeria, baroque Kreuzkirche (Holy Cross Church) and Philharmonie (concert hall). As the historic Christmas market place lit up with the sun going behind the hills, the crowd gravitated towards its centre.
From the height, I could see distinctive alleys diverge to smaller sized and secluded corners which comprised comparable wooden stalls. Every single component of Altmarkt and Neumarkt have been lit with fairy lights in shapes of stars, trees, snowmen and other individuals. At a especially dark enclosure I noticed a Christmas market place but bearing a distinctive theme.
I descended the cupola and walked across the a lot of ghühwein kiosks of Neumarkt, in pursuit of the dark enclosure. Quickly I study ‘Stallhof’ which loosely translates to Steady Yard. No sooner I entered this medieval Christmas market place, the massive wall on my left was superimposed with flaming torches, Saxony flag and coat of arms, and snowfall. Every single element of the market place abide its theme.
Study: Solo Location: Dresden, Saxony, Germany
I saw females and guys dressed in bigger hoods and there was no use of electrical energy. Beverages have been served from kettles into wooden mugs. German or European handicrafts from wooden furnishings, leather bags and garments, wrought-iron objects, massive knives and daggers and fragrances and candles have been sold in this exclusive market place.
In a sharp contrast, Striezelmarkt only a 600 metres away, took me back to the twinkles and modern components of Christmas market place. At its centre I saw a 15-feet Christmas pyramid, which originated in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) and is a rotating carousel that rises to a number of tiers. Flanked on either sides by a medium-sized ferris wheel and a spinning carousel for youngsters to play. I attempted to peer at the overall performance on the stage, even though unsuccessfully. Young children sat on their parents’ shoulder and enjoyed the jovial overall performance by Santa Claus.
I saw a shop with the renowned Dresden Stollen. Conventional to the city of Dresden, Stollen is a fruit cake which is baked in October so that the flavours mature by Christmas. I attempted a smaller piece of the Christollen from the tasters kept outdoors a wooden stall. Fruity and moist, I understood why the cake was a favourite amongst locals.
Continuing my exploration of the old market place, I saw the arched candleholders elaborately displayed in a shop. I asked the shopkeeper (who fortunately spoke small English) what was the significance of these stands. He told me that these originated in the Ore Mountains in 1726 and have been known as Schwibbogen. The style is inspired from the semicircular burning lamps of the miners in the area, which indicated their final shift just before Christmas.
These candle stands elevated my enthusiasm to discover Seiffen, a smaller town in the Ore mountains, on the border of Czech and Germany. I saw every and just about every window lit by these holders in the toy town of Seiffen.
Snow covered edges of the narrow street and pastel coloured homes had ornate show windows. Some had the pyramids. Other individuals snowmen, snow globes and Santa Claus. Even even though the precise show changed, two components that remained continual have been Christmas and the characteristic toys of Seiffen. Seiffen straight away won my heart.
The Nutcracker is synonymous to Seiffen. Produced of wood, the Nutcracker was initially created about 1870 and created in shapes and colours depicting the royal lineage or military soldiers. More than the years these have evolved and taken distinctive shapes and types. In the Seiffener Schauwerkstatt (or demonstration shop) on Bahnhofstrasse, I saw the conventional Nutcracker, angels and miners, snowmen and an exclusive merchandise created for Christmas (which incorporated unforgettable figures of choir boys).
Study: Solo Location: Seiffen, Saxony, Germany
On my final day in Saxony, the climate remained unchanged from the initially. It rained and sometimes snowed in Seiffen as I packed miniatures of the Nutcracker, Dresdner Christstollen, Leipziger Allasch (liqueur) and a lot of souvenirs from my initially Christmas in Germany.
Study: Photo Story: Christmas Vibe in Zermatt, Switzerland
Which is your favourite Christmas location?
I travelled to Saxony, Germany on assignment for Outlook Traveller India in December 2017. You can study the edited story right here.
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