Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Frankfurt and the Christmas Market

1 - 3 December 2012 

My friend moved to Frankfurt with her work about a year ago and we finally organised a visit this December.  I had also been aiming to visit one of the European Christmas markets for ages and so this seemed to be a good opportunity to do both. 

Sunset at the Market

We took an early flight to Germany on Saturday morning, although we did not get in until lunchtime due to delays.  After dumping our bags at her flat we made our way to the Christmas Market to find some lunch.  There was a huge selection to choose from but we finally settled on tasty hot baked potatoes filled with cheese and ham before we spent the afternoon wondering round the market.   There was everything from Christmas decorations to ginger bread, honey mead to candles and everything in-between  My favourite was the huge pretzels that were sold covered in chocolate.
When it started to get dark and we were all starting to feel the cold we made our way home with a quick stop in the supermarket for milk. Most shops in Germany do not open on Sundays so you need to make sure you plan ahead. Back at the flat we amused ourselves watching German TV and demanding translations from my friend.  Once we had warmed up we went across the road to a noodle bar called MoschMosch for dinner, similar to Wagamama’s in England

On Sunday we woke up to snow!  It did not last long but made it feel quite Christmassy. We all wanted to try some traditional German food so we started the day with brunch in Lieb & Seeles.  I had scrambled egg with cheese and ham, then a roll with jam, while the others had a platter of cheese. It was a perfect way to start the day, with good food and a relaxed atmosphere where we could watch people walking by outside and the snow melting. 
After brunch we went to the Zoo.  They have a good collection of indoor exhibits so the cold did not matter too much.  My favourites were the penguins who where much bigger than I expected, and who you could watch swimming under water.  But they also had a very cool nocturnal area filled with mice, armadillo and bats, among other things.  They also had a good selection of fish and lizards in the aquatic section and we had time for a hot drink and to visit the giraffes before the zoo closed for the night.  Still on the quest for traditional German food we went to Cafe Hauptwache for dinner, where I had sausage and chips. Although it does not sound much different from home, I have never had a sausage which has been cut into slices before being cooked.  It was very tasty.  We also had the chance to try the famous Frankfurt green sauce which was herby.  We finished off with waffles with ice cream and warm cherries. When we came out of the restaurant the market was still open so we thought it best to try the Kirsch Gluhwien, a warm cherry drink.  They sell the drink in mugs and if you bring the mug back you get a refund.

Waffles with ice cream and warm cherries

For our last day in Frankfurt we decided to visit the botanical gardens.  It might have been cold and the outside displays not as impressive as the summer displays will be, but the hot houses were still interesting, and  they had many Christmas displays of wreaths and flowers.  We stopped for a hot drink as the wind had been cold, although there had been some sunshine, only to find it was snowing again when we came to leave.  We had another visit to the market, again for lunch, this time sausage in a bun, before finding all the things we had seen over the weekend that had caught our eyes, in my case a beautiful wooden nativity scene.
Walking round the market in the snow was very Christmassy, but a little cold and wet.
We were at the airport in good time, but were delayed taking off due to the snow.

Things to note:  As we were with my friend all the time and she speaks very good German, we did not try very hard with our own German.  Everyone we met though were very helpful and would speak English to us if we needed help.