It’s that time of the year again, when Christmas markets and “gluwein” are ubiquitous. Speaking as a person who has seen and experienced Christmas markets in Hamburg twice in a row, I get the déjà vu feeling, “been there done that before” attitude. Previously my excitement could not be contained, now the only appeal from going to a Christmas market is drinking “Gluhwein” and having a stimulating, alcohol-filled conversation with friends.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like the beautiful decorations or the tempting smells of roasted nuts coated in sugary stuff, or the “bratwurst” roasting by the fire. All this and more is what makes it so much fun going to Christmas markets. Despite the winter, you bundle up and brave the cold temperatures to enjoy a lovely time with friends while listening to cheesy music.
This time round at an invite from a friend, I dared to go to another Christmas market in Lüneberg some 50 km south of Hamburg. It was a cold and rainy Friday and as I was sitting in my warm room, considering to venture outside in to the dreary weather was one idea I was not particularly enthusiastic about. But as I had already made plans with some friends backing out would seem unreliable of me, and who knows, I may end up having a fantastic time given the many wonderful things I have heard about the uniqueness of Lüneberg’s Christmas markets.
Getting the train there was not a problem and on the plus side I could use my student semester ticket so there were no extra costs incurred in transport. In 45 minutes we were there. My first impression of the town was its quaintness which reminded me of Aarhus. Lüneberg has a medieval feeling to it given the architecture of the buildings, the churches in particular and the stone cobbled streets gave me the feeling of being transported back in time. This is due to the fact that, unlike Hamburg and many other German cities, Lüneburg did not get bombed during World War II, so the city center contains many original buildings over 100 years old.
The Christmas markets were indeed exceptional to say the least. They were not crowded and more importantly the decorations gave the atmosphere of a fairy-tale Christmas, the kind you read about in children’s books.
To experience it is another thing. Even though it was freezing, there was a certain warmth, a magical experience about being there that I can’t explain. May be it’s that “Christmas feeling.” Whatever it was, it made me appreciate being here surrounded by good company!