Christmas is just around the corner, and whether you celebrate it or not you can feel its magic in the air. Millennium Square is lit up by fairy lights and you can enjoy the sound of Christmas carols, a jaunt on the carousel and traditional german food. Just in front of the Civic Hall each year there are over twenty food stands serving a variety of classic dishes from Germany from mid November through to December 20th.
As you make your way between the stalls selling all sorts of craft items, from candles to carved wood, you are drawn to the delicious smell of ‘frankfurter’, french fries and fresh buns. You can enjoy having a bite to eat while taking a walk between the stalls or take a seat in the “Frankfurter Scheune” open Monday to Saturday from ten thirty and from twelve forty-five on Sundays. Once you walk through the doors on the left you can order from a meat based menu, but before you take a seat make sure to check to your right where you can order a pint of beer or a glass of mulled wine.
If you wish to spend some time relaxing and listening to german music you can also check out the ‘Bavarian Styled Restaurant – Alp Chalet’ (reservation available) or “Kuh Stall” open all week from ten thirty. Just next to it you can try an interesting combination of chopped sausage with curry sauce and curry powder served with bread.
Vegetarians can try the potato pancake with different toppings of your choice, such as applesauce for a sweet taste, and if you have a particularly sweet tooth there are plenty of places where you can have a nutella crêpe, candy floss or sweets from the Haribo stall. There’s more; churros, sweet toasted almonds, peanuts and nuts or filled doughnuts at the “Germany Christmas Bakery” are all available.
However, if you stop at the ‘Honey House’ you are in for a treat; a friendly lady from Hawaii and her two German friends will let you try their ‘honey bombs’ for free, a little taste of warm sweet wine, you shouldn’t miss ‘Honey Mead’ and ‘Viking Blood.’ Just next to it you can purchase everything honey; honey candles, honey lip balm and much more.
Despite all of these options however, the most popular attraction remains the Civic Hall, with people queueing every night to get inside for a warm meal and to listen to live German bands. There are morning and evening sessions and it’s free entry, although children are not allowed in at night. The market is still family friendly though, as there are different carousels and a giant Frozen themed, where parents and children can play, and on Sundays there is face painting and sing alongs.
Although some claim that the Christkindelmarkt doesn’t vary much from year to year, it seems to be getting people in the Christmas mood. It’s treasured for it’s atmosphere and of course appreciated by students for the beer (if you don’t mind queueing in the cold for hours for the beer tent and having to be very careful that no-one knocks over your stein).
It’s a cheerful place to spend time with family and friends and pick up small thoughtful gifts: after all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Image: BBC News.