TLS found a deal on the Deutsche Bahn website where you can buy a regional ticket for 20€ and up to 5 people can ride all trains/buses/trams in the region for 24 hours. On weekends, the deal is good all weekend long through 3am on Monday. (Interesting thing to note- the fare rules for the ticket say that you can have a dog with you on your ticket, but then the dog counts as one of your passengers.)
When we saw this, we decided to take full advantage and head to Heidelberg, about 1.5 hours from our house, for their Christmas markets. I purposely left my camera on our hallway table to make sure that I did not forget it. We were running late, and I forgot it. We first had lunch with a friend who was on base from England before heading to Heidelberg, so we did not get there until about 5:00pm. Because it was the last Saturday of the Advent, hours for the markets and most stores in town were extended through midnight. Heidelberg has 6 Christmas markets in town, and we walked in between all of them. It was roughly a 2 mile walk. I like to think I earned my gluhwein that day!
I will now present you with a few iPhone pictures from the day:
|The first thing we did was get gluhwein to warm up. We kept the red mug.|
|a bratwurst vendor- the food wasn't good for the Jews but I loved the lights and the windmill|
This is a gluhwein vendor in the town square. The top of it is shaped to look like a wooden candle decoration that is traditional in Germany for the holidays. (Smoke from the candles makes the blades turn and spin. Very cool.)
|I have got to remember to take my camera with me everywhere.|
On our way back, we passed by a gummy bear shop that had a display made out of soccer-playing gummy bears which I thought was cute.
Proof that I really will take a picture of just about anything.
The next day, we took advantage of our tickets and took TLS's sweet coworker Marie to Mannheim for her first Christmas market with us. We love Mannheim and had so much fun at last year's market so we were excited to go back!
We snacked a lot from all of the different food stalls. I always have to get roasted chestnuts from the vendors and we got the most delicious creme fraiche, herb, and smoked salmon crepe. It did not live long enough to be photographed.
One of our absolute favorite vendors at the market was a spekuloos vendor. Spekuloos are Dutch cookies that are pretty similar to Biscoff cookies. They are delicious no matter what. This vendor was amazing because he had an oven and made the cookies fresh at his stall.
It was really fun watching him roll the dough into the shape frames and the cookies were delicious! We all bought a bag, and neither one lasted very long. At all.
Here are our purchases from the market:
a pearl ring from TLS- this was so gorgeous and a steal at only 6€!
2 gluhwein mugs- we cheated because we liked the blue boot one so much that we asked to buy just the mug even though we were all gluhwein'd out
a small bottle of sour cherry liquer- they had samples of this at the stall. TLS thought it was the grossest thing in the world. Marie and I tried it and then reached for more samples. Then we wanted more. Then we just reached for our euros. Delicious. At least I don't have to worry about him drinking my alcohol!
giant lebkuchen heart- after swearing up and down that we were done eating and making any food-related purchases* we walked past a lebkuchen bakery stall that was offering samples of fresh lebkuchen. Not the packaged stuff that we normally buy at the supermarket. It was A.May.Zing. You could even taste the orange peel in it. I was just going to buy a small cookie, but TLS and Marie convinced me that it was a much better value to buy the big one. Oh darn.
To thank us for taking her to her first market, Marie bought us a chocolate train from one of the chocolate stalls. So sweet of her. :)
We ate dinner at Sushi Circle, one of our favorite chains in Germany. It is a conveyor belt sushi place. Delicious. We've eaten once at the Stuttgart location and several times at the Frankfurt one, and the Mannheim one is by far our favorite. The sushi chef gave us a free sample of a spicy shark roll to try. We were intrigued by it, but being that shark is not kosher, we made Marie take one for the team. She said it was chewy but not bad.
*at this point we may have had a bag of roasted chestnuts, 2 grande Starbucks drinks, 2 mugs of gluhwein, the aforementioned crepe, liquer samples, a bag of spekuloos cookies, half a brick oven flatbread with cheese and potato slices on top of it (delicious! by far our favorite food stall at the market). And, you know, a partidge in a pear tree.