The festive season seems to creep up on me earlier and earlier each year and this sometimes annoys me but in Munich it is impossible not to be dragged into the magic of Christmas as it is such an elaborate affair here that is pursued with nothing but enthusiasm. I mean the Germans even invented the Christmas wreath and the advent calendar. And for that I thank them!
The original Christmas markets orginated in Germany. They had winter open air markets in this country even before people celebrated Chrismtas with some of the earliest dating back to 1296. The first documented real Christmas market was held in Munich in 1310. The Germans are proud of this – but to me the importance of history is not about the dates and not about the numbers – it’s about the stories. And there are so many.
The halls have well and truly been decked and Munich is really putting a show that impresses this season. The Germans really know how to celebrate Christmas in style.
I was also lucky enough to visit Fraueninsel (Island of the ladies) on Saturday and its Christmas Market that was full of handmade Christmas goodness. Oh.. and also some friendly Alpacas?
The Germans just really know how to do Christmas. My favourite shop DM (sort of like Boots) even has a station where you can just go and wrap your presents. I snapped a quick picture because I was so impressed, what a great idea. How very praktisch.
The Germans gave the world the advent calendar and I have jumped right in to the spirit of Saint Nick and have bought myself an Tea Advent Calender a.k.a the best thing ever. For each day of advent you get a different type of tea. I have even also got myself some German Christmas tea which makes me feel like I am literally drinking season’s greetings.
I am also very excited to get home to spend Christmas with everyone. I am starting to even miss the familiar ‘oh it’s a bit nippy out this morning isn’t it?’ ‘Yes it is a bit on the chilly side!’ type conversations that you have with everyone at this time of year in Britain that once irritated me. I suppose this slight homesickness has only been spurred on by the fact that yes it is the season of love and joy, however it is ALSO the season of sorrow and pain (exams). And so not so much expanding of the horizon has been happening recently and instead lots of sad studying has been the routine. This pain of exams has been added to by the fact I did not realise that I had taken a Masters course by accident and now realise that I am perhaps in slightly (a lot) over my head. But hey, who doesn’t like a challenge? Ha.
And I did say that I would do as the Germans do when I was here and part of this is in fact studying. The German students are incredibly hard workers. For example, classes start at 8am at this University. I can’t even imagine what the attendance would be like at Edinburgh University if it started at 8am! The 10am lectures are bad enough! Ach well, I just need to get my head down and work and there’s no bad study mood that some fresh stationary cannot fix (no but seriously what is it about a fresh notepad and coloured pens that makes me so happy?).
There are also lots of other markets dotted all around the city. There’s a medieval market and an alternative market which I’m going to visit tomorrow as a study break.
The city smells of a mixture of Glühwein (mulled wine) and Cinnamon and I have a new found love for Gebrannte Mandeln (toasted Almonds). The Christmas markets are just adding to my list of Munich’s magical moments! Frohe Weihnachten!