Xmas in Lower Bavaria

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Home Page > Features > Germany > Bayern > Christmas Markets (Lower Bavaria)

Christmas Markets in Lower Bavaria

Each of the Christmas markets shown here were done by us twice, by Tom alone in 2002, and then by us together in 2003.  In the second year, we stayed in Regensburg and followed the regional trains down the Danube and Isar Rivers.  Like the ones in Upper Bavaria, these Christmas markets are highly decorative and fun!

Regensburg -- I followed the Danube River up to the great city of Regensberg, where one of Bavaria's larger celebrations was taking place.  The market was spread out over three different marketplaces, and each one was packed with people.  The city's famous Teddy Bear Museum was doing quite a lot of business.  (The Regensburg travelogue is available here)

Munchies:  Bavarian rindwurst (beef sausage) with mustard, dampfnudel (sweet white bread) with vanilla and poppy-seed sauce

This is the scene inside the tiny but incredibly crammed Domplatz.  One of the major Bavarian radio networks hosted a live show inside, which included a Christmas story told by a really funny comedian (whose jokes I didn't understand but the crowd laughed often so he must have been good) and the choir shown above.  The stage was not designed for a choir this big as you can see.  :-)

This was the marketplace at the base of the Pfarrkirche, and although it doesn't look it in this shot, it was actually a pretty full place.  You can see the dense crowds through the tent to the right -- they were gathered in front of a gluhwein tent watching a very good comedy music troupe in the next tent over.

Straubing -- Straubing is one of the most beautiful places you never heard of.  A small city located just fifteen minutes down the Danube from Regensberg, Straubing is another of Bavaria's great pastel wonders.  It's huge market square hosted one of the more sophisticated market places, which unfortunately endured heavy rain during the 90 minutes I was there. (The Straubing travelogue is located here)

Munchies:  Maldauer (German version of kielbasa) on a roll with mustard

The town hall's tower sits in the middle of the main market square, which was about six hundred meters in length and packed with tents and people.  Despite the steady rains, this market was very crowded.

Unlike most Christmas Markets, that employed cheap square wooden huts, Straubing's were very expensive-looking modernized hexagonal huts with beautiful red roofs and very elaborate decorations.  It was a shame that my lens got splashed here because the city's beautiful Holy Trinity Column, at right, got obscured.  That's ok, I have every intention of returning to Straubing some day.

Landshut -- (LAHNTS-hoot) is an incredibly beautiful city that sits on an island in the Isar River about a half-hour to hour's drive NE of Munich.  Tom had never heard of the city until he saw it in a brochure, and enjoyed it so much we went back the next year.  Landshut has two Christmas markets, the main Christkindlmarkt in the Freyung (the Old Market Square) and a small artsy market located in the courtyard of the Burg Trausnitz over the city.  (The Landshut travelogue is located here)

Munchies:  Steaksemmel (Grilled steak on a roll) with onions and horseradish, candied macadamia nuts

Though not near the Christkindlmarkt, this was just too good a shot not to include.  This is the Landtor, the gate to the old downtown, wonderfully embraced by a Christmas tree and a couple nearby huts selling roasted chestnuts.

The Freyung is a rectangular market square surrounded by brightly painted residences all in a row.  The Christkindlmarkt was pretty big, with lots of kiddie rides, a massive Nativity, and ...

... Saint Nicolas!  The bishop's motif of the costume is common among Santa Claus figures I've encountered in Germany, whereas the American Santa Claus is dressed in plain red without any obvious religious affiliation.  (By the way, December 6 is Saint Nicolas' Day in parts of Germany, and it is very common to see people dressed in outfits similar to this on that day.)

When we went together in 2003, we climbed to the Burg Trausnitz and discovered this small Christmas market that reminded Tom of the artsy market on the Fraueninsel.  The courtyard had a circular path surrounded by simple wooden huts that sold mostly handmade trinkets -- decorations and gifts.  It is unfortunately a rainy day that kept the crowds down, which was a shame.

Passau -- Passau is one of the few cities that runs its Christmas Market outside the old city, instead using its city Convention Center located not far from the train station well away from the Danube-Inn confluence.  This has the advantage of providing a combined inside-outside venue for the Market.  (The Passau travelogue is located here)  

Munchies:  Big bag of roasted chestnuts (Heisse Maroni)

The outside part of the Market started in the foyer of the Convention Center, then wrapped around it.  This was where most of the food and drink were offered.  

The inside was where most of the gifts were.  The Center seemed to be divided into sections, with the main floor handling the conventional decorations and trinkets, and specialized areas (small children's toys, artisan stuff) in the surrounding wings.

Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2004 Tom Galvin


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