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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Sterup, Germany to Nürnberg, Germany

Had breakfast with Cordula and Thorsten before we started our drive to Nürnberg. Even though the visit was short, we had such a wonderful time!

We made a detour south of Hamburg to visit with Anna, Patrick, Oscar and Anton in Schneverdingen. They have a beautiful home. Even though Oscar is less than three years old, he wanted to give me a tour of the upstairs bedrooms. He pointed out his tent and books. Then, he showed me his eight month old brother's room. Books were a highlight, too! He next brought me to his parents room. All at once, he remembered he forgot to turn on the lights in the rooms so he took my hand and brought me to his room as well as his brothers. The last room he showed me was the bathroom. It was so cute and perfect. Anna prepared a delicious lunch for us. We had a type of ham, fresh green beans and homemade potato dumplings with a rich gravy. Oscar loved those dumplings and meat with gravy. Green beans.....not so much. We finished the meal with ice cream and raspberry sauce. Anton came to me and even allowed me to feed him. I was thrilled. This was an extremely short visit but at least we spent a couple hours with them.

No matter where we have traveled in Germany, we have been greeted by construction, long delays and numerous accidents. We added two additional hours to today"s trip as we encountered rain. Oh well.

We are staying overnight at the Le Meridien Grand Hotel on the Bahnhofstrasse by the train station. We were a short 8 minute walk to the Christmas Market. We didn't have much time to look at all the stalls but we did have time for some Feuerzangenbowle, a strong hot red wine punch. Excellent!!! They took a good quality red wine, fine spices and a robust rum (54% alc.). Then, following an old tradition, a sugar cone is soaked with the rum and placed over the red wine. The rum soaked sugar cone is lit allowing hot rum and melted sugar to drip into the pot, where it infuses with the red wine and spices. This unique process produces the special flavor of the Feuerzangenbowle. We even were able to keep the tiny mug.

There was a huge police presence!!!! They patrolled the market and well as setting up their cars at the entrance to each street.

Nuremberg's Christmas Market is one of Germany's oldest Christmas fairs. The pre-Christmas event on Nuremberg's Main Market Square dates back to the mid 16th century. The first mention in writing is from 1628.

A list from 1737 demonstrates that almost all Nuremberg craftsmen were represented on the market. 140 persons were entitled to offer goods for sale.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Christmas Market became less important. It shifted to various venues within the city, and was only revived in the 1930s. The National Socialists made good use of the well-established traditional event which enhanced Nuremberg's image as the "Treasure Chest of the German Reich" and was a welcome supplement to their own calendar of festive events. In 1933, the Christmas Market moved back to the Main Market Square and was a much romanticized event. An actress dressed up as a Christmas angel, accompanied by two golden Christmas tree fairies, recited a prologue, a children's choir sang, and church bells rang. During World War II, no Christmas Market was held in Nuremberg.

In 1948, the Christmas Market was re-established in the Old Town which had been completely destroyed. Friedrich Bröger, wrote a new prologue which – with a few changes – has been recited by the Nuremberg Christkind ever since. From 1948 up until the early 1960s, Nuremberg actress Sofie Keeser played the Christkind. Her successor, Irene Brunner, was also an actress and played the part until 1968. Since 1969, the tradition has been different: every two years a young Nuremberg woman between 16 and 19 years of age was elected as Christkind for a two-year period.

The idea that the Christkind brings children their Christmas gifts goes back to the protestant reformer, Martin Luther (1483-1546). In Luther’s time, it was traditional to give children gifts on December 6th, St. Nicolas’s Day. To turn away from the Catholic veneration of saints and saint’s days, Luther laid gift-giving in his household on Christmas Eve.

Beautiful stalls of Christmas ornaments.

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