on March 4, 2010
Writer Thomas Wolfe once noted that the city of Munich is "a German dream translated into life," a sentiment never more clearly applicable than at the Christkindlmarkt in Munich each holiday season. Munich’s Christkindlmarkt is its annual Christmas market, where travelers and locals alike come to enjoy the tastes, sounds, and joys of the season by buying handmade Christmas treasures to be shared around the tree.With thousands of tiny white lights, a huge Christmas tree, the smell of roasting chestnuts and freshly made gingerbread, this market with its colorful stalls takes place at Munich’s centrally located square, Marienplatz, near the city’s Town Hall and Glockenspiel (which are always tourist favorites).Because of its central location, Munich’s Christkindlmarkt is easy to access via public transportation from anywhere in the city. Just steps from the Marienplatz u-bahn (Munich’s subway system), the Christmas market is in the heart of the city. Visitors can also arrive via tram (No. 19) or by bus (No. 52 or 131). Driving is not recommended due to heavy traffic overloaded by holiday shoppers.Shopping amidst the cheerfull stalls is sure to put shoppers into the holiday spirit. More than 160 stalls offer a wide array of ornaments (many traditionally made from straw and wood), children’s toys, ceramics, holiday decorations, jewelry, candles, figurines, clothing, and other handicrafts, making this a very special place to shop for Christmas gifts. Popular items include "nussknacker" (nutcrackers), "weihnahtspyramiden" (a Christmas pyramid merry-go-round powered by candles), and "crèches" (nativity scene with figurines). Among the special foods served at Christkindlmarkt in Munich are roasted nuts, baked apples, delicious bratwurst, "stollen" (a German cake made with candied fruit for the holidays), "reiberdatschi" (potato pancakes), "lebkouchen" (gingerbread), as well as many other specialties (including organic goods). A special treat is "Zwetschgamännla," figures made from dried plums. Mulled wine ("gluhwein"), often with a shot of brandy, and an eggnog-type drink ("eierpunsch") are typically served during Christkindlmarkt to help add cheer to the festivities.Other special features of the Christmas market include a special post office and daily concerts of music for the season.In short, no matter where visitors to Germany might be during the Advent season, there is sure to be a Christmas market near by. Replacing the flea markets that are held at other times of the year, these Christkindlmarkts fill the air with cheer and welcome all to a celebration of the season!
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