Xmas in Upper Bavaria

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Home Page > Features > Germany > Bayern > Christmas Markets in Upper Bavaria

Christmas Markets in Upper Bavaria

This photo gallery covers Tom's first sweep of Christmas Markets in 2002, when he concentrated on upper Bavaria.  Basing out of Augsburg, Tom used the Bavarian regional train system and hopped from one market to the next over the course of Thanksgiving weekend, when many of the markets were just opening up.  The five in this gallery were done on Thanksgiving night through the Saturday morning, while the others were redone in 2003 by us together (see Xmas in Lower Bavaria).

Augsburg -- The first evening of the journey was spent at the opening ceremony at the Augsburger Christkindlmarkt.  The weather was thankfully favorable, and the event was beautiful, with lots of music and singing and light.  The market sprawled throughout the downtown, but concentrated at the main market square in front of the town hall.  For the ceremony, a stage was built in front of the Town Hall that hosted a choir, Alpine Horn band, and a long-winded mayor.   (The Augsburg travelogue is available here)

Munchies:  Half-meter long Thuringian bratwurst with mustard

This is a close-up view of the stage.  The Alpine horn band are the three gentlemen at far left.  In the center is a boy's choir and its conductor.  After a few songs, the choir moved aside and the mayor came forward to address the crowd.  Afterwards, he was joined at the podium by the symbolic "Christchild", a young child wearing a golden angel dress and sporting curly hair.  Being selected to be the Christchild is quite a big deal.

After the events on stage were completed, the attention turned to the town hall building itself, as a well-known classical piece was being played, other children wearing golden angel outfits appeared in the windows of the town hall.  The lighting was such that they appeared as candles.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get a shot of it.  The above shot shows the town hall at left, and the children were arranged in the blocks of large windows in the center of the building.

Fraueninsel Chiemsee --  Chiemsee is the largest lake completely within Germany's borders.  Located in the SE of Bavaria, it is a major summertime resort, big on water sports but also servicing winter sportsmen for the nearby Alpine range.  One of the two islands hosts a small Christkindlmarkt each year on the first two Sundays of Advent, and it is one of the more charming Christkindlmarkts around.  (By the way, the other island is the Herreninsel, home of one of King Ludwig's famous castles, the Herrenchiemsee)  You can only get here by ferry.

Munchies:  Filet of smoked salmon on a roll with creamed horseradish sauce, open-faced cheese sandwich with spicy mustard

The market was held around the large Benedictine convent on the southern side of the island.  It was well dispersed, and very decorative, mostly selling ware with only a few selling food or drink.  Instead, the island's few restaurants and guesthouses held specials to welcome the hungry and thirsty guests.

I absolutely loved this scene of the Alps in the distance between the lighted dock at the Fraueninsel.  Normally ferry rides were only available on the hour, but for the Christmas Markets, they went every half hour between the Fraueninsel and the main lakeside town of Prien.  And speaking of Prien...

Prien am Chiemsee -- Prien is the main lakeside town on the Chiemsee and primarily serves as a tourist town.  It was very clearly a wealthy town, with some remarkably-decorated buildings for its size.  Its Christkindlmarkt was small, with only a dozen huts, but about the entire town showed up on opening night.

Munchies:  Schupfnudeln (long dumplings) mixed with sauerkraut and bacon bits

The above building was across the street from the Christkindlmarkt, and is actually an Advent Calendar.  The colors made it difficult to see, but each shutter had a number on it.  As this was the 29th of November, I didn't have any idea what was behind the shutters.

The Christkindlmarkt used an old barn in the back as a flea market.  The town church, shown in the background, was hosting a Gospel Music rehearsal for an upcoming service.  Meanwhile, the three young lads shown here serenaded the crowd with a beautiful suite of alpine horn music, while dressed in traditional Bavarian costume.

Rosenheim -- The final stop on the first day was this brilliantly colored town with the brightest lights I found all weekend.  Rosenheim's architecture was fantastic, and lit up really well, so I have this town high on my list to re-visit and add to the website at a later time.

Munchies:  Candied almonds

The City of Rosenheim was much bigger than I thought it was, and very much modernized.  So the older buildings were brightly painted and new, while the newer buildings were sharp and positively glowed under the snowflake lights.

The main marketsquare was just gorgeous.  You can get a hint of the beautiful colors of the architecture in the background.  Another traditional Bavarian band had just finished when I arrived.

Ingolstadt -- The next morning's trek was a loop between Augsburg and Regensberg, going up along the Danube in the morning, and back by the Isar in the afternoon and evening.  The first stop was the city of Ingolstadt, a Danubian city often bypassed by tourists, but with a wealth of beautiful architecture and loaded with busy marketplaces and shopping centers.  Unlike most cities, the Christkindlmarkt did not take place in the main marketplace, rather it was closer to the edge of town as the main square hosted the regular Saturday markets.  But that didn't dampen the crowds or the enthusiasm, which were both building up despite my being there near the day's opening. (The Ingolstadt travelogue is located here)

Munchies:  Pancake (crepe) filled with pflaumenmuss (a paste made from prunes, it's much better than it sounds!)

Contrary to most cities, Ingolstadt's Christmas Market was located away from the main marketplaces in the center of town.  That was because the normal Saturday markets were still taking place in front of the Old Town Hall.  This market was rather tightly packed, I thought.

Roughly 11:00 AM, this band of mostly teenagers appeared and began playing Christmas tunes.  You get a better picture of the traditional Bavarian dress worn by the bands here.

Most of the Christmas markets have a nativity, normally done by local artisans.  This one was commissioned to a woodcarver who made these pieces from logs.  Of course, the artisan has his own advertisements present as well.

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



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