Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Trippstadt Christmas Market Review

I visited the Romantische Waldweinacht in Trippstadt earlier in December. Hosted by the Haus der Nachhaltigkeit (House of Sustainability, which seems similar in idea to a nature center), it's probably one of my favorite Christmas markets and I gladly planned a trip C+K and their friend M. We met at the Kaiserslautern train station and hopped on the bus that was marked for Johanniskreuz, the area where the market is held. We knew that it would be utter foolishness and a load of stress to attempt to drive there because the forest roads are already narrow and there is extremely limited parking during the event.

This year, I suggested that we try to arrive earlier. In previous years, we arrived when it was dark out and didn't have as much time as we would have liked. This year, we arrived at 2:30 p.m. It was so different to be at the market during the daytime! I think that there was a different layout too, so it made my third year there a little bit disorienting. Next year I would plan to arrive and stay a bit later since it's even more magical when it's dark and the grounds are lit by campfires.

We started by sampling some organic Glühwein. I think it tastes so much better than the regular stuff and this market has plenty of it -- usually directly from the vintners themselves, and I can't bring myself to drink non-organic Glühwein any more. We bought from two separate vendors; mine was less sweet than C's serving but both were quite good.

The next order of business was to find something to eat. My plan is usually to survey all the offerings and then decide. This particular market is great for those wanting to sample regional Palatinate specialties, which are, to put it simply, pretty much meat, meat, and wine. There was even Saumagen, which is pretty much the meatiest of the meat, and what Helmut Kohl used to torment introduce visiting dignitaries to the local cuisine. K, M, and I eventually decided on Kastanienwurst, which is a sausage that has chestnuts cooked inside. C chose Feuerwurst (literally, "fire sausage") and just about set his hair on fire (figuratively) with how spicy it was. Usually German food isn't very hot but this one was crazy spicy.

There was some entertainment options too. During our visit we listened to the brass band. There was also a pony ride vendor. Well, they were miniature horses, which are even smaller than ponies are, so they are suitable for small children only.

We also browsed the goods for sale from the vendors who set up both outside and inside of the reception center. Goods are handmade and include things like wooden kitchen accessories, hand lotions, Christmas decorations, foods, photographs, jewelry, and more. One of my favorite booths was the miniature book maker. He posted sweet messages around his booth with quotes (in German) like "pictures allowed," "questions allowed," "buying allowed." The books are really neat; most are fewer than two inches big and include text (though I'm guessing it's just an excerpt of the book). Maybe I should have bought one; they were reasonably priced at 4 euros or so.
Finishing up our trip to the Christmas market, we visited the roof of the Haus and took some pictures and then waited a bit and took the next bus home. By the time we left, it had gotten dark but we were leaving before the fire dancers started. Next year, I plan to give myself about 2.5 hours to visit but will arrive later when it's closer to nightfall to both catch the entertainment and to experience the coziness of the glowing fires in the dark.

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