Recently I asked my friends here in Germany what Christmas markets they recommend going to. There are just so many to choose from that it would be impossible for us to get to all of them during our time here. We’ve been to quite a few, but St. Wendel seemed to be many people’s favorite and one we had yet to visit, so off we went. It is less than an hour away as well, which was a bonus.
In my opinion, Christmas markets are the most magical at night, but toddlers kind of prevent that from happening, so we decided to get there right when they opened so we could find parking fairly easily and hopefully beat the main crowds that normally show up in the afternoon.
St. Wendel’s market probably takes the cake as my favorite so far. Here’s why:
1. The food
There are all kinds of things to try at this market that I’ve never seen at any other market before. There was so much we wanted to try! But there were also favorites such as the chimney bread and bratwurst. Chimney bread is by far my favorite sweet snack! It’s called chimney bread because it looks like a tall chimney. It’s hollow inside and you pull it apart to eat. The dough is wrapped around a special dowel-shaped spit, slathered in butter and sugar and baked as it rotates. You can get it with cinnamon, sugar, coconut, chocolate, walnuts or poppyseed. It’s got a tiny crunch on the outside and it is super-chewy on the inside. Seriously amazing.
2. The stuff
It’s called a Christmas market for a reason. Lining the streets are little huts that house vendors selling all kinds of things. After going to a few of these markets you sometimes start to see the same stuff being sold, which can be somewhat disappointing. But this market was full of unique, handmade items, which I just adored.
3. It’s two markets in one
Next to the main part of the Christmas market there is also a medieval market. We wanted to go so badly, but we had already been hanging out at the Christmas market for 2 hours and my toddler had made it clear that he was done, so I didn’t get any pictures. But some of my friends toured this section and there are live camels and sheep, street performers, blacksmiths, bow and arrow practice and other things you find at many of the medieval markets here.
4. The activities
There is so much more to this market than buying stuff and eating. Although all of that is great, it’s nice to have variations, especially when you have kids. In addition to the vendors you will find candle dipping, a live nativity that includes Joseph leading a mule with Mary sitting on it through the streets, a fire show, and even a hill of real snow you can toboggan down. We even saw live reindeer! At certain times Santa even comes and sits in the sleigh and will allow children to come sit with him! We didn’t see Santa, but the kids loved the reindeer!
5. The Dwarf Forest
I’m putting this as a top reason this market is my favorite not because it is cool but because it is so weird that one just has to see it in person. Enclosed in a part of the Christmas market is “The Dwarf Forest”, which contains dozens of huts with dwarf puppets inside. Each hut has a different scene and some of the dwarves move. Innocent, right? Well it ISN’T people. Not only do their faces look like human faces with the juices sucked out but they have huge stubby hands. And then there were the anatomically correct naked dwarves. If you think the faces were bad….wow. Let’s see how many you can count.
These things will haunt my dreams forever.
There really is something for everyone at Sankt Wendel. There is even a great playground just down the street in a beautiful park if you want to take a break and let the kids play for a bit. I would love to make it there in the evening sometime. So glad we were able to go this year!