This time last year we were in Nuremberg, bitterly cold but with our hands wrapped around steaming mugs of Gluhwein. We were spending a few days in the city, exploring the traditional Christmas market, soaking up the festive atmosphere, shopping and eating delicious foods – it was wonderful.
I wish we could have gone back this year but sadly due to work and funds (buying a house will do that to you!), it just wasn’t possible. We love a good Christmas market though and decided that if we couldn’t experience a German Christmas market in Germany, we would experience one in England instead. We went for the next best thing; Birmingham’s Frankfurt market.
Living in Cambridgeshire has it perks; areas that were once deemed ‘a bit too far’ are now easily accessible- it took just an hour and twenty minutes to get to Birmingham from our door. Last Saturday (9th December) we made that trip!
Birmingham was cold, and a thin layer of snow coated the rooftops of the little market huts and stalls, giving everything a festive finish. One thing that immediately struck me was how authentic everything was. From the smell of sizzling sausages and sweet candied nuts right down to the fir-trimmed huts and intricate decorations, it really felt as if we were standing at the heart of a bustling market in Germany.
The street was lined with a variety of stalls, all selling beautiful handmade goods. Everything from hand-painted baubles, ceramic birds and delicious truffles to traditional wooden toys and Russian dolls. Stall after stall surprised and delighted us and, although I came to pick up some stocking- stuffer gifts for my loved ones, I found that I wanted everything for myself!
In the end the money in my pocket started to burn a hole, and I purchased a lovely Blue Tit ornament to home in the statement shelf that hangs in our living room.
As the morning progressed we found the aromas from the food stalls much too alluring; we settled on gorgeous chocolate coated strawberry and marshmallows, and I indulged further in hot chestnuts, sprinkled with salt. Roasted chestnuts are the taste of Christmas for me, and although tricky to eat, I devoured a bag of them in minutes.
I must admit, choosing what to eat was one of the tougher decisions I had to make that day; with stalls selling impressive-looking chocolate hedgehogs and others serving up battered halloumi it was tough. Everything looked (and smelt) so delicious.
We spent a good few hours just walking around the market, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells. Alongside the market stalls there was also a beautiful vintage-inspired carousel. I adore carousels and seeing them always reminds me of Paris; riding the one that sits opposite the Eiffel Tower, with my head back, laughing and watching the world go by as golden lights twinkle.
The atmosphere at the market was brilliant; so jovial and festive. And although I had read online that it is often overcrowded and extremely busy, that wasn’t something we experienced on our visit.
From a stall selling decorations, Gareth picked out a beautiful hand-painted bauble featuring a Wintery scene. Each year we enjoy purchasing new decorations to hang on our tree, particularly if we have visited somewhere special. Our tree is currently decked out in funny little ornaments from Germany, but now we have added a little slice of Birmingham to it also!
Gareth and I both absolutely adored the miniature model houses, with their little glittery lights and festive scenery. There were many of those in Germany and we had admired them there also. Next year I think we will have to make that purchase!
All in all we had a wonderful time at the Frankfurt market and I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Birmingham. We left feeling suitably festive and ready for Christmas!
Have you visited any Christmas markets this year? If so, what is your favourite?