Christmas markets diary notes

This November and December my wife and I have been travelling, mainly in Germany and the Netherlands, but we did include a quick drive to Krakow and Prague. We will be back in New Zealand in time for Christmas at home with the family. This post is essentially a diary.

In mid-November we were in the Ruhr Rhine area and Osnabruck, where the markets, street lighting and building decorations were being put up. Point to note: Health and safety is about being ‘reasonable and practical’; Germans are not keen on hi-vis vests, cones and cordoned-off areas. Photo below from Wuppertal Von-der-Heydt-Platz

Back in the Netherlands, Christmas was more personal in terms of the displays, with the lighting of streets, houses and window displays.

Near the end of November we were in Berlin. The retail stalls were still being set up, but the drinking/eating areas of the markets were busy and crowded. We then moved on to Krakow, where the market was ready to open but waiting for the official opening date.

On 1 December we had a day in Prague. It snowed, and it was picture perfect. The photos below are from Namesti Miru square, where there are about 50 small stalls selling a mix of decorations, food and drinks. It was a really nice place to be, and stayed comfortably busy well into the night. Point to note: evening public transport that is reliable and frequent is a must if you want a lively city in the evening

In Rothenburg there was a fantastic Christmas market band playing; the setting was like being in a Disney movie.

Heidelberg had six markets along its main street, which added another reason to visit this beautiful city.

Baden Baden was different again; here the quality of the merchandise was above average. It felt a bit like Queenstown without the lake.

Then there is the Karlsruhe example. There are two Christmas markets, the larger in Friedrichsplatz and the smaller in Marktplatz. The photo below is of Marktplatz, where they do the opposite to what we have in Hamilton with its focus on a large tree; Marktplatz’s focus is on social activities, drinking and eating, without the large Christmas tree.

The advantage for Marktplatz is in having a frequent public transport network as part of the market, so no-one thinks they need to drive.

Something to think about: is there a link between public transport and social place – Boxing Day buses free in the Waikato – go shop, eat and drink.

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