Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Munchen to Frankfurt via Nurenburg

Our last day in Germany visiting Christmas markets!  We left our hotel in the town of Starnberg south of Munich under very cloudy skies but by the time we got to Nurnberg the sun was shining.  We drove through a region where they were growing hops.  Field after field!  We exited the autobahn to get a photo of the hops and as we drove through a village I saw a farmer working with his cows in the barn.  I quick took a photo of his barn yard. 
Hops Fields

Barn in Town

Due to our time constraints we were on the autobahn most of the day.  Cal was feeling pretty smart when he was driving 100 mph, but then this little red sports car blew by us as if we were standing still – Wow! They had to be going 120mph, as they were out of sight in no time.  They sure knew how to burst Cal’s bubble!   

We walked into the Nurnburg market just as things were opening.  The longer we were there the busier it became.  Busloads of people were coming!  We went into the main Cathedral around noon – they were apparently having a simple Mass.  A men’s choir was singing and Alpine men were played instruments during the service. The Cathedral was packed for the concert/service – standing room only.

It is interesting, even though most Europeans do not attend church, they definitely celebrate Christmas and the meaning of Christmas is everywhere. It is amazing how many booths sell creche’s or items to design your own creche’. 

The oldest Christmas market is Nurnberg’s which began in 1697.  Unique to Nurnberg are the ’prune figures’.  The legend has it that a farmer was too poor to have Christmas for his children, but he remembered a prune doll his grandmother made for him so he made some that year to sell at the Christmas market.  They sold so well that he not only had Christmas for his family but had enough profit to make it through the hard winter. The dolls have now evolved to have prune bodies with a walnut head on which faces are painted.  Some of the dolls now include fig bodies, and have accents of raisins. They were very interesting and this is the only place we have seen them. 
Famous Nurnberg Building on the River
Nurnberg Christmas Market

Friendly Store Keeper

Marzipan Fruit Candy

Nurnberg Date People

Nurnberg is also known for its gingerbread.  Gingerbread was everywhere.  We bought a piece that had been dipped into chocolate.
Around 12:30 the market was so packed with people, you could hardly move. They say 2 million people visit the Nurnberg market each season, well I think 1 million were there today!  It was no fun any longer, plus it was beginning to sprinkle.  The sun had disappeared and heavy clouds were everywhere.  By the time we reached the car we were wet! 
Solar Panel Fields
 It rained most of the way to Frankfurt, very had at times – actually a miserable drive.  We drove directly to the hotel we had reserved, checked in and unloaded our stuff.  We returned the car to the rental company at the airport before catching the train into downtown Frankfurt.  It is Sunday night and here again the crowds of people were horrible.  We walked through the market and bought some food before returning to the hotel to repack for our flight tomorrow morning. 
These three weeks in Germany have been great, so glad we came -we have seen and experience so much.         

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