“Grandpa – hurry!” – Two little tykes rushed past on their push rollers accompanied by excited giggles and full belly laughs. It was November 25th and everyone was on their way for a sing along and to light the Christmas tree at the Remagen market.
The fountain, the focal point located in the center of the market place, was beautifully decorated.
City Hall was tastefully illuminated reminiscent of an Advent calendar. All that was missing were numbers in the windows.
Shop windows were beginning to reflect the spirit of the season!
Fast forward to December 3rd. The vehicle free zone of Remagen was transformed for the annual Nikolaus and Medieval Markets. Following this double row of booths visitors had opportunities for traditional food and the ubiquitous Gluehwein (mulled red wine).
I arrived after 6 pm and quickly spotted St. Nikolaus in the distance. He moved about the crowds slowly, stopping to shake hands and quietly speak with the children throughout the market.
I decided to follow this kind individual…
… and suddenly found myself immersed in the Medieval Christmas Market. There was quite a crowd and the mood was elevated.
I was immediately captivated and tried my best to focus on wonderful still life scenes, like this candelabra with apples…
…and rich offerings by local artisans.
I noticed how much more engaged customers and artists were. Questions and answers were readily exchanged, and a number of shopping bags were bulging with purchases.
Oh wait, could it have something to do with St. Nikolaus mingling with the crowd? He was carrying a large bag and whenever he stopped to meet a young person he or she was invited to reach deep and pull out a present.
It was a bitterly cold evening. The cold damp air from the Rhein was rising in the form of fog, and the old cobble stone lined streets were first absorbing and subsequently reflecting the cold. The medieval market area was covered with straw. Open fires to warm stiff limbs were inviting visitors to gather in designated tents away from the wind.
Laughter was mixed with live music. A bag pipe player was taking a brief break to welcome friends to the event.
The candle maker was busy answering questions and wrapping up purchases.
Her tent was eye-catching and demanded attention.
I continued to walk into the old Roman quarter, located near the historic church, to explore what might be at the end of the road. I discovered open doors leading to an inner court yard.
Lovely lanterns provided limited light but it was enough to beckon anyone to explore.
“I think my Mulled Apricot Riesling is by far more popular than your pot with Whisky Punch!”
The statement was met with a knowing smile and silence. Visitors had gathered next to the tent and were enjoying a warm drink. This was indeed a popular meeting place. But it was too crowded for this Canadian…
…so I moved on to find out what was around the corner. The spinner was displaying her wares…
… and gossiping with the wood worker, enjoying a well deserved break.
Lanterns tend to set the mood and this tent just drew me in.
Next door the fortune teller was otherwise engaged and not so interested in talking when she saw my camera.
I made my way back to the main market place. At the candle maker’s tent I once more met up with St. Nikolaus…
…who didn’t just reward children. Artists also received little gifts – a feel good moment!
“Sausages, sausages – wild meat! Deer sausage, elk sausage, wild boar!” The butcher’s tent was looking a little depleted, a sure sign of how good business was during the day.
The baker’s tent was one of my favourites! Not only did the scent of fresh bread darw me in, I loved checking out the various breads and smaller baked goods.
The crowd was large and I was fortunate to get these two images to provide insights.
Individual booths offered wonderful gift ideas and general Christmas decor items.
Here are some whimsical bird houses…
…guarded by a lifesize St. Nikolaus.
soothing lights from lanterns…
…and unique candle holders…
…an old bell rich with patina at the entrance of a shop.
Ever popular Smokies from the Erzgebirge harken of times gone by. Smokies are incense burners made from wood in the shape of Santas or the more historical miner.
This walk through the Remagen pre-Christmas Markets concludes this year’s Christmas Market report from Germany. I hope my images and short reports have helped you get into the holiday spirit. We can all use a little cheer and happiness this year. The world is lacking the peace we all yearn, in fact we appear to experience less each year.
Light a candle and go inward, focus on what is important – look into your heart and share the joy you have within! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkha – peace on earth joy to all!