We arrived in Rothenburg ob der Tauber at sunset. We quickly checked into the Hotel Linde and followed the road to the first city gate which pointed the way to the main gate into the old city.
Christmas without Clementines would have been unthinkable without these juicy treats when I grew up in Germany. I captured this box, filled with sweet smelling oranges just outside the door of the greengrocer along the way to the Rothenburg ob der Tauber market square.
Long before we reached the square we heard the music: “Jingle Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka” – the Hawaiian Christmas Carol made famous by Bing Crosby… My immediate thought was “What is German about these songs?” According to the choir conductor, the Christmas Market was geared toward the American visitors on Monday night. We didn’t stick around another day to find out if the program would be the same… I prefer to think that more German Christmas Carols would find their way back to this historic Christmas Market in the a market town established during Roman times.
I soon caught a glimpse of another childhood memory… Zwetschgenmandl! These small figurines are crafted from a walnut for the head and several dried prunes fastened together with wire. These figures are then dressed with regional and historical dresses and hats.
The Kaethe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store beckoned with its seasonally decorated window displays. These little angels are made from wood and are carefully painted with faces and other details. They hail from Thuringia, the former East Germany.
I usually avoid Christmas themed stores, especially during the other eleven months of the year. On Monday we could not resist – a white Christmas tree drew us in just to admire the individual hand blown glass ornaments and tiny fairy lights.
Our brief excursion in the Christmas Store in warm jackets soon had us escape to the mild winter temperatures outside where we discovered that the crowds had cleared. A quick circle around the booths filled with decorations, food and gifts concluded our visit.
We fell onto bed early with visions of sugar plum fairies guiding our dreams…. All that made up a little for the disappointment over the lack of German tradition and how commercialized this Christmas market has become!
But I won’t despair – there is more to come as we make our way to Bavaria and Austria…