Way back in 2007, a very broke couple decided to take a fifty backpacking trip throughout Europe. They went to eleven different countries, had many strange and eventful adventures, and saw many amazing sights along the way. At every stop they would ask themselves if they could live in each of the spots they stopped at. It became the seed that eventually led to them seeking jobs as teachers overseas, and transplanting in Asia. But there was one town that they came to that captured their hearts. It was a medieval city preserved over the ages, and ever since the couple of nights that they has spent there, they always want to go back.
Why would anybody who saw this place, not want to come back? The people were cheerful, the food was amazing, and the atmosphere transported them back into time. There was a wall surrounding the city that overlooked a moat that was originally used to keep invaders out. Though people still lived in these walls, they had retained the original buildings and the markets still had that medieval feel of large tables and fireplaces to keep them warm.
There was one store that really captured the heart of this city though. It was so popular that it had three different locations within the small confines of the wall, Kathe Wohlfahrt. It specialized in Christmas. It sold ornaments, cuckoo clocks, and various forms of decorations. Even though it was the middle of summer, the couple could feel the warmth of the holiday season just by being in this store, and they knew that one day they would have to return to this place when the weather was cold and snowy so they could experience it as it was meant to be, a holiday wonderland.
This was the seed that was planted in my mind twelve years ago, and ever since then I always wanted to return to Germany for Christmas. When we got the jobs in Thailand, it seemed like the perfect place to go to get away from the heat and really get to feel what it should feel like to experience Christmas. More specifically, I wanted to return back to this specific medieval town, Rothenburg, and see how they celebrated this holiday. I knew that they held one of the more popular of the Christmas markets, but I had no idea what that meant. This town packs to bursting with the people coming here to drink mulled wine, eat German sausage and spaetzle.
I was not disappointed either. It was exactly the way I envisioned it. Children were running all over the place as there parents gathered around tables to talk about the events of the season as they sipped their hot spicy drinks. The only thing that was missing was the snow. I found out later that this was not really a part of how the market has ever worked. This part of Germany is more inclined to have misty rain this time of the year rather than snow. It does come from time to time, but those moments are very rare.
It did not stop me from coming out and to enjoy this little corner of the world. The place was even more magical than it was when we were out here twelve years ago. The smells of roasted nuts, and fresh chocolate just added to the excitement of the day. I do have to say that a lot of the Christmas items were way overpriced, but that is due to the fact that it is only a couple of days until Christmas, and people travel from all over the world to spend there money here. But as long as you resist the temptation to buy any of these trinkets, the food and the drink is reasonably priced, and it just adds to the flavor of the day.
And when the lights came on, it made the picture complete. I was transported to those small little ceramic towns that people put up during this time of the year, and Rothenburg had to be the inspiration behind them.
I am glad that I have been able to come back here during this time of the year after that trip so long ago. It should be the goal of every Christmas enthusiast out there because they will get to experience Christmas the way they see it as they decorate their house. And if you are one of those enthusiasts, I hope that this post has inspired you to one day try to make it out here one cold wintery day in the future.