By Daniel C. Freeman, EdD
The holiday season in Germany is an exceptionally festive time of year. However, it doesn’t take much in the land of beer, pretzel, and schnitzel to have a festival. Living here during this time of year would be so much fun. Every day seems to be a holiday, and every meal appears to be a banquet when touring the ancient city of Stuttgart.
A celebratory world
Stepping off the Ubon and climbing the stairs to the street, a celebratory world is laid wide open, during the holiday season at the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. The Schlossplatz is the Palace Square located on the left when emerging from Ubon Station. Behind the square is the new palace. Walking towards the New Palace, one begins to taste the nectar of the holiday season.
Spicy wine & market stroll
The entire area turns into one huge Christmas market. The smell of freshly cooked schnitzel, pretzels, or glühwein waft through the air to tickle the palate of the most discerning connoisseur.
Glühwein is a hot spicy wine served in colorful ceramic cups. Pay the extra 2.5-euro deposit and keep the cup as a beautiful souvenir.
The giant butter pretzels are delicious. At first glance, you might think these gourmet pretzels were not fully baked, but fear not, the middle is filled with butter.
Walking through the Marketplatz, there are the chocolate-fruit stands and vibrant stalls with holiday ornaments. All are individually decorated to represent different themes. A portable ice-skating rink is set up for all to enjoy.
Catch the holiday spirit, from an Organ Grinder, without the monkey, entertaining patrons with Christmas music. Further down the Platz, a Salvation Army Trumpeter, belts out his version of Christmas cheer. Throughout the Platz, groups play and sing Christmas music.
One of the most unforgettable sights is the colorful Ferris wheel with its housing shaped like the glass Christmas tree ornaments that we hung on the tree as children.
The other item of note is the open-air elevator in the Rathaus (courthouse). The elevator is available year-round, not just the Christmas season. This is no ordinary elevator. It is an open-door elevator that is in constant motion. You must jump on it as it is moving. This elevator moves up and down while traveling in a loop. I’m sure OSHA would have something to say about this type of conveyor.
If you are into trains, a massive train display is set up in the middle of the Schlossplatz. Have a seat, and watch the different trains make their runs through the miniature town – it is mesmerizing.
Esslingen, a Medieval market
If a themed Christmas market is one you might like to attend, take the Ubon to Esslingen. This Christmas market has a medieval theme. As in Stuttgart, there are plenty of shops to peruse and spend one’s hard-earned euro.
There is also food, but unlike Stuttgart, there is a dish known as the ‘chimney cap cake’ or kürtosklács, a Hungarian dessert. When the chimney cap is completely baked, it is basted with butter and rolled in walnuts, cinnamon sugar, chocolate, or some other goody. Yum-yum, very delicious.
No Christmas holiday season in Germany is complete without a firework display on New Year’s Eve. Here, everyone has fireworks. When they go off, be sure to have your running shoes on.
The fireworks are set up in public places. The crowd gathers. The sounds of oohs and awes fill the air as fireworks fly skyward. Suddenly, everyone is running down the street and through the grape yards. Some of the fireworks begin to fly towards the crowds. Now, you know why people bring their running shoes.
Learn more about the Stuttgart Christmas Market, click HERE. ~TPM
About Daniel Freeman, EdD—Daniel is a retired educator and science supervisor from a Florida school system. He also worked for the Department of Defense. You can follow Dr. Dan HERE, where he writes about his travels to view building murals, street art, and other road trips.