Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Christmas Markets 2018: Day 5...Bamberg

Bamberg.  We had deemed it the unicorn city.  We attempted a visit in 2016 and failed to get there.  We went last year and it did not go at all as planned.  In all honesty, we were just waiting for something to happen to keep us from getting there on this trip.

We thought fate was going to keep us from Bamberg yet again when I could not find the confirmation for our train tickets.  As it would turn out, my credit card declined the purchase due to it being international and I needed to repurchase them after I gave my credit card company the okay.  The confusing part was the transaction appeared to go through online so I did not repurchase.  Alas, we were able to buy tickets to Bamberg with the Bavarian ticket.  It was just a little slower of a train ride than an ICE train, but waaaaayyyy less expensive.

So, we were on our way to Bamberg.  In the daylight.  We were both pretty sure something would happen and keep us from finally making it there.  Imagine our surprise when we got off the train and realized, we had made it!

We left the train station and started walking towards the old town.  Our plan for the day was to visit a few breweries and visit the Christmas market.

Our first stop was Schlenkerla for their famous smoked beer, the Maerzen.  Ken enjoys this beer, but I do not really care for it much.  It has a very strong smoked taste, but this is the famous beer of the Franconia area.


I love the signs of the breweries in this region

We left the brewery and walked around the river.  We found some really adorable houses near the water.

Some of the darling houses in Bamberg

Wandering around the old town

We finally got to see the old town hall in the daylight.  This was one of the best parts of the day.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip.  I am so glad we finally got to see Bamberg during the daylight!

The buildings are so beautiful and elaborate

The detail on these buildings are unreal.  Bamberg was untouched during WWII, so it is all original. 

Some of the Christmas details around town

We wandered our way all the way to Klosterbrau, which is one of the breweries we wanted to visit and did not get to.  


This was my favorite brewery of all in Bamberg.  I am not a big beer drinker, but I really enjoyed the beer I tried at this brewery.

Cheers from Bamberg!

Ken was very happy to be spending the day in Bamberg.

The funniest part of the day were the men behind Ken in the picture above.  They were having so much fun at the brewery and laughing so hard.  At one point one of the guys clasped his hands together like he was praying and was leaned over the table looking at me shouting "bitte, bitte!" (please, please) while his friends were all turned and staring at me.  Now, I know just a bit of German, but I have no idea what was going on.  Ken and I started laughing so hard and I told them that I speak English.  

They continued their antics and when we left, I spoke a little German to them.  I have no idea what was going on, but I think they kind of liked me just a bit.  

We left the brewery and went to the market for food.  The breweries in Germany usually stop serving food after a certain time and we were unable to get lunch so we were starving!

Seeing the streets of Bamberg made my day

The details of the signs is something I wish we did more in the US

The Bamberg market winds around the old town.  These were some of my favorite stahls

The Bamberg tree.  We saw this in the rain and the dark last year, so it was quite spectacular that we could see it again before the sun went down.

We chose market food for dinner.  Ken got some delicious fish and I chose curry wurst.  The market food is so amazing.  We had a little gluhwein and gingerbread for dessert.

Loving Bamberg so much!

We spent the rest of the night wandering around the market drinking gluhwein.  It was all we could ever ask for.  We ended the night back at Schlenkerla for Ken to have one final Maerzen.

The Bamberg Christkindlmarkt

Ken and his love for beer.

We left Bamberg feeling so grateful to have gotten to truly visit.  It was such a great day to be in Bamberg.

Up next, Mittenwald!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Christmas Markets 2018: Day 4...Munich

Friday started with our usual breakfast at the hotel and my normal run around Munich.  I really love running around and checking out the different areas.  I usually find a restaurant or Christmas market for us to check out.

Ken was feeling a little tired, so he decided to rest for a bit while I went out to explore.  I had big plans to find a store to buy some candy to take home!

I walked around the Marienplatz and over to the Vktualienmarkt.

I think the main market in the Marienplatz is so beautiful, that I find it impossible to not take a picture whenever I walk through it.

One of the best gluhwein stands in the Marienplatz

After I returned to our hotel room, Ken and I headed out for the day.  Our main plan was to check out all of the local markets.  Our first stop was the Medival Market.

We had tried to visit this market during the evening two other times and it was so unbelievable packed that we never got to enjoy it.

The Medival Market gluhwein mugs.  Some drinks are served in clay goblets, which were really cute.

The market had stahls with a lot of food options and unique gift items

The market really did have a Medival vibe.  We bought some candied nuts to have as a snack for the day.  

After we left the Medival Market, we made our way to the Residenz Market, which we visited last year.  We were excited about seeing it during the daytime since we visited it during the night last year.

The Christmas Pyramid never disappoints!

I tried a rose gluhwein at this market and found it to be delicious!

After the Residenz, we went by our hotel to drop off our goodies and to start walking towards Tollwood, which is a Winter festival located on the Oktoberfest grounds.  On our way, we stopped by an Augustiner for a little lunch.  We both enjoyed a little schnitzel, because when in Germany!

We arrived to Tollwood, which is a giant festival with tents with indoor shopping and bars.  We decided to stop into one of the bar tents that had living music playing.

Live music at one of the bars.  I enjoyed an Aperol Spritz here, which was a great change from all the gluhwein.

Tollwood grounds.  I cannot even imagine how packed and busy this would be for Oktoberfest!

Tollwood grounds

Having fun at the Tollwood Winter Festival

We had one small issue here where the bartender did not give us tokens to return with our drink glasses to get our deposit back.  We knew nothing of the tokens until it was time to turn our glasses in for a refund.  It was pretty annoying, but there was nothing we could do about it.  That is 4 euro that we will never see again.

Inside one of the science tents.  The science tent had a lot of different experiments.

Tollwood after dark

We enjoyed checking out Tollwood, but we would most likely not go back again as we felt that we saw everything we wanted to see.

We left Tollwood and headed to Englischer Garten Park for our favorite market in the park. 

Chinesischer Turm Christkindlmarkt

I love the atmosphere at this market

I found and bought my most desired item of the trip at this market:  My very own Christmas Pyramid!  I was so excited to get one to bring home.  Obviously, mine is much smaller than the ones in the middle of the Christkindltmarkts.  

I enjoyed an apfel crepe at this market along with a lot of gluhwein.

Speaking of gluhwein, Ken had a little mishap when he ordered our gluhwein.  We were still on high alert after the token incident at Tollwood.  Well, since we visited this market last year, we knew that we would get tokens with our gluhwein mugs for our deposit.  After Ken ordered and paid, I asked him if he got our tokens.  He said no and walked back up to the gluhwein stahl and put his hand in what he thought was the token jar only for it to be the tip jar.  The lady selling the gluhwein looked at him like he was crazy and Ken immediately realized what he was doing.  He felt awful.  Meanwhile, I was about to pee my pants from laughing.  It turns out, there was no deposit or tokens needed this year.  Ken made me purchase all of the gluhwein for the remainder of the evening.

We spent the rest of our time at the market watching people play this shuffle board/curling game.  It was really fun to watch.

I love the Chinesischer Turm market!

We closed the market down and walked back toward our hotel.  We stopped off at Augustiner for a little goulash and drinks.  We had a great full day in Munich!

This happened walking back to our hotel.  I wish I could explain it, but I cannot!

Up next, Bamberg!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Christmas Markets 2018: Day 3...Salzburg

When we planned this trip, we said we were not going to go to Salzburg, having gone there last year and in 2016.  We were not going to go.  Well, we realized that there was no way we could be an hour and a half train ride from one of our favorite cities and not visit.  Plus, the Augustiner Brau is Ken's favorite brewery and how can we be THAT close and not visit.  So, off to Salzburg we went.

We took the 0955 train from the main station using the Bavarian ticket.  We were really hoping that by visiting on a Thursday this year that it would be less crowded than last year on a Saturday.  Our hunch was correct and we hoped the same held true once we arrived in Salzburg.

Once in Salzburg, we walked quickly towards Old Town and we were delighted to see snow on the ground.

Passing by Mirabell Gardens with views of the fortress.  Do Rei Me!

There is a small local market outside of the gardens and we stopped by and looked around for a bit before making our way to the main Salzburg market.  Once in Old Town, we found a stahl that was selling gluhwein for the Lions Club and they had disposable cups.  We got our first gluhwein and entered the market that was so crazy busy last year that we were nervous to go back.

Some of the smaller stahls outside the main market

Welcome to the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt!  

We were quickly delighted by how less busy it was than last year.  We could actually walk around.  Last year, we spent just minutes here because of the crowds.  I was so happy that we could actually enjoy it this year.

Gluhwein in hand and ready to hit the market!

The market stahls are all centered around the Salzburg Cathedral 

I loved the garland that dangled above the stahls, especially since it was covered with snow!

We were blessed with blue skies!

Salzburg Christkindlmarkt

The market had a lot of great options for items to buy.  From what I saw, the prices were a lot cheaper here than in Munich.

One of the many stahls selling Christmas goodies

We wandered all of the market.  It actually winds through the streets and is bigger than I was expecting.  We even stumbled upon a beautiful view of the fortress.

The Hohensalzburg Fortress

We were wanting a snack for lunch and we decided on this massive pretzel that was complete with bacon and cheese.  It was seriously one of the best things I have ever had.  The lady that sold it to me spoke zero English but we were able to communicate about her heating it up for me and it was amazing.  We did not find these again at any of the other markets we visited.  We also tried orange punch and prosecco punch at this market.  It was okay.  

Enjoying my prosecco punch at the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt

A fun day in Salzburg

After enjoying the market, we decided to hail a cab and drive to Hellbrunn Palace to visit the market.  We visited this one last year during the evening and we thought it would be fun to see the castle grounds during the day.  Our cab driver was a hoot.  She had just moved to Austria from Bosnia a year ago and she talked about a hundred miles an hour.  She told us how much she loved Oktoberfest in Munich.  She was really sweet.

Hellbrunn Palace Advent Market.  It was beautiful to see during the day.  The windows on the yellow building area a giant advent calendar.

A very happy husband enjoying his gluhwein

This market was less crowded than last year as well.  I am sure it was because it was day time versus night.

All of the evergreen trees were covered in snow.  The snow combined with the big red ornaments made it very festive.

Hellbrunn Palace Advent Market

Ken knew that one of the reasons we were back at Hellbrunn was to see the Sound of Music gazebo in the daylight.  I forgot which direction it was on the grounds, but Ken knew the way and when I saw the sign, I was so excited!

Ken was asking me if I knew what was around the corner!!!  Eek!  

There she is!  

For those of you that do not know, on rainy days, snowy days, or just flat out boring days, Theodore and I would lay in bed and watch the Sound of Music.  Most days the girls would join us too, but Theo was always up to watch it with me.  It was definitely his favorite.  Being able to see the gazebo again was just a sweet thing to do in honor of my Sweet Theo.

So excited!!!

The best part was while Ken was taking my picture, a couple walked by and insisted that they take a picture of the both of us.  Ken was less than thrilled but listened when the wife told him to make his wife happy, ha!  

I sang a few songs for Ken but he did not seem too impressed.

We wandered back into the market and continued to check out all of the grounds around the palace.  I found myself an ornament to bring home with me.

The market really is beautiful

The most important part of the market, the gluhwein stand

Enjoying my gluhwein

Big fluffy trees

Advent Market options

We ran into Krampus

Krampus and Ken, two peas in a pod

We found the trick fountain area that this palace is well known for.  Obviously, with it being freezing they were turned off, but it was still beautiful.

Hellbrunn Palace fountains

I am sure these fountains are a hoot when they have water flowing.

We wandered back towards the SOM gazebo and decided to go walk around the rest of the grounds since we were finished checking out the market.

Bundled up to walk around the grounds in the snow.

The grounds were so quiet.  It was just us and a few runners out.  The snow made it look so beautiful.

Isn't it beautiful?  I imagine this is a great spot to sit and enjoy during the Summer.

We walked all the way to the zoo and looped back around.  If the zoo had not been closing, we totally would have visited.  

We looped back to the front of the palace to get a taxi.  We saw the same lady that brought us to the palace so we had her take us back into the city so we could go to the Augustiner.  This is Ken's favorite brewery and pretty high on my list as well and I did not take one single picture, only a video of the inside.  We enjoyed our beers and ate some sweet peppers stuffed with cream cheese, which have come to be one of my favorite treats.  

Views from our cab ride.  The red onion dome is the abbey where the real Maria lived and worked as a nun in the Sound of Music. 

Augustiner Brau, Salzburg, Austria

We sat by a couple from Rosenheim, Germany and talked to them for quite some time.  It was interesting talking to them about places in Germany.  We sat there for a few hours and then decided to take an earlier train than we had anticipated so we hustled to the train station.  

We had a short train ride back to Munich and still had a little time to grab some dinner at the market.  I had been trying to get Ken to take a few more pictures of us together all day and on the walk from the train station, Ken decided to oblige and take a picture with me.

Not the picture I was hoping for.  

We got back to the stahls by our hotel and I ordered some kase spaetzle for dinner, which was one of the most delicious things to have.  We found the Wurst stahl that sells the footlongs and Ken walked up to order one with four left.  The people in front of us bought all four, leaving Ken without one.  This exact same thing happened last year and I was pretty certain Ken was going to cry.  All he wanted was a footlong.

I told him I was certain we could find one and we walked on to the Rindermarkt.  Sure enough, the giant Christmas Pyramid was selling footlongs!  

He finally got his footlong at the Christkindlmarkt!  Happiness, pure happiness!

The Christmas Pyramid came in clutch this year!

We found a gluhwein stand and enjoyed our market dinner and talked about day before calling it a night and going back to our hotel.  We were definitely full after our delicious Christkindlmarkt dinner, which is the best kind.

Up next, a full day in Munich!