Our next stop in this (almost) whistle stop Christmas markets tour is Munich. We left Salzburg about 10am and the train to Munich is about 1 hr 40 minutes through mostly foggy scenery. One of the very brief stops we make is at Prien am Chiemsee, a small village on the very large Chiemsee (see=lake). The lake has an island and King Ludwig built one of his palaces (Herrenchiemsee) on this island (Herreninsel “Herren”= Men’s, “Insel”= island). We visited the palace many, many years ago, taking a small ferry across the lake.
After arriving, we had a snack in the Munich train station; even the train station is more limited in food options (since it’s under reconstruction), since we know that there are limited dining options where our hotel is located. The hotel, located in a suburb, means taking an UBahn and connecting to a bus. We bought our tickets at an automated machine; we found out long ago, you need a debit card for these, no credit cards. UBahn for three stops, then a bus for two stops. We’ve stayed at this particular hotel as recently as last September and it’s a good choice for us. When we boarded the bus, we noticed there was a local Christmas market adjoining the bus station. Germany and Munich takes their Christmas markets seriously!
Leaving the hotel mid afternoon, we took largely the same return route , but now to the Residenz, the former winter palace of the Wittlesbachs, Kings of Bavaria. There is a Christmas market being held in one of the courtyards; being a royal palace, it’s not a small courtyard.
You can see it’s crowded, but not as uncomfortably so as we found Salzburg. Since we really hadn’t eaten lunch, we had a bratwurst on a semmel (roll) “mit senf” (with mustard) and a gluhwein (see a trend there?). While we browsed the stands, we didn’t buy anything. One distinguishing aspect of this market compared to others was the presence (and number) of animated figures in showcases positioned along one side of the market. It was a big draw for young children.
From here, we exited the market and walked alongside the Residenz towards the larger Christmas market at the Marienplatz, but stopped to join the crowd enjoying a performance (YouTube video) by some musicians on Ludwigstrasse. Really quite good and it must be a chore to get the piano they have from where they brought it. The crowd is appreciative, with people making donations.
Further down Ludwigstrasse we pass Alois Dallmayr, a luxury food purveyor. It’s Sunday, so the store is closed, but they have some animated window displays. We entered the Marienplatz from the side to see it all lit up with a large Christmas tree in front of the Neues Rathaus with stands spread out across the entire square as well as down the side streets on both sides.
Looking down towards Karlspkatz from here (about 2/3 of a mile) it’s just a continuous array of more stands. For the relatively small parts of the market we’ve seen tonight, there are relatively more food stands in the main square. We had a Dampfnudel, a yeast dumpling topped with vanilla sauce. It’s something we saw others eating and looked around until we found it. It’s light, but heavy as you might think a dumpling would be.
On one of the side streets, there’s a small Christmas market of its own that specializes in hand carved Christmas figures and nativity scenes (Krippenmarkt “krippen” = crib) . At least one of the stands has works from a small city we’ve visited years ago called Oberammergau (also the site of the famed Passion Play or Passionsspiele).
We needed something to warm us up before going back to the hotel, so we ducked into Richarts, just on the square, for a mikchkaffee (like a cappuccino). Reversing course to go back to the hotel, we walked back to the UBahn station near the Residenz. Riding down the escalator, it was interesting to see the two trains on opposing tracks with passengers streaming across the platform from one train to the other, packing the compartments, before the doors close and they head off in opposite directions. We waited for the next train…
More Christmas markets tomorrow!
Country count 3
City count 6
Total Christmas markets 12