Sunday, December 11, 2016

German Christmas Markets 2016

Friday-Sunday December 9-11, 2016
We spent a weekend away to enjoy Christmas markets in Mainz, Frankfurt & Bernkastel-Kues, Germany.

Friday, December 9, 2016
We got a hotel in Mainz with credit card points for 2 nights so we could explore some neighboring German Christmas Markets. We wanted to be not too far from home (3.5 hour drive) but further down the Rhine than we have stayed in the past (Boppard, St Goar, Bacharach).
When we arrived Friday we went to explore the Mainz market.
Mainz Christmas Market by Mainz Dom (St Martin's Cathedral) 

Mainz Christmas Market pyramid 
Reibekuchen mit apfelmus (potato pancake with apple sauce), Jackie's favorite 
Joe with his delicious pork & onion sandwich 
Cuties in their matching Christmas pajamas from Sinterklaas

Saturday, December 10, 2016
Today we set out for Frankfurt. In terms of visitor numbers and size, the Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of the largest Christmas markets in all of Germany. The elaborate and creative stand decorations, the scenic surroundings on the Römerberg and St Paul's Square and the huge Christmas tree also make it very beautiful. We visited 5 different markets in Frankfurt: Römerberg, St Paul's Square, Mainkai (Main Quay), Hauptwache and Friedrich-Stoltze-Square. 
It was a 30 minute drive from Mainz, perfect since that tends to be the length of Caleb's naps these days. Of course there is an accident and it turns into an hour drive. As soon as we hit the slow traffic, he wakes up right on cue. We get to the parking garage, bundle up and head straight to have a coffee and decide to have a nice Turkish breakfast brunch and eat Christmas market snacks throughout the day for lunch. 
Cappuccino at breakfast to start the day at Mainkai Cafe
Frankfurt Cathedral, Kaiserdom St. Bartholomaus, Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew
Daddy & Caleb selfie in historic Römerberg Markt Square Christmas Market 
Daddy & Caleb in historic Römerberg Markt Square Christmas Market
historic Römerberg Markt Square Frankfurt Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt Frankfurt am Römer)

Carousel in historic Römerberg Markt Square Frankfurt Christmas Market 
This was a gorgeous 2 story carousel that Brooklyn was begging to ride but we knew if we let her out of the stroller already, getting her back in for the rest of the afternoon was going to be a challenge, so we promised her a ride later. 
Brooklyn riding in the ergo on Jackie's back at the Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt 
Jackie and Brooklyn riding the train at the Frankfurt Christmas Market
Selfie riding the train with Brooklyn at the Frankfurt Christmas Markt
Now that is how to smoke salmon!
Brooklyn downing some German sausage at the Frankfurt Christmas Market
Selfie with Caleb at the Frankfurt Christmas Markt 
A few more shots of the Römerberg Markt Square Frankfurt Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt Frankfurt am Römer

One last selfie at Römerberg Markt Square Frankfurt Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt Frankfurt am Römer
We hit all the 5 markets by 2pm so we decided to head back to the hotel for naptime (or go for a drive on the Rhine if they fall asleep in the car ride back). 
After naps, we hit the Mainz Christmas Market again for dinner. The crowds had definitely picked up with Saturday night traffic. 
Mainz Christmas Market

Sunday, December 11, 2016
We had planned to stop in Cochem in the Mosel Valley on our drive home but the Christmas Market there was from 11am-6pm. There was also a Special Castle Christmas Market. It would be a 1.5 hour drive from Mainz to Cochem and then a 2.75 hour drive from Cochem to home. Another market option was in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany. It is 1 hour and 20 minutes from Mainz and then 2.75-3 hours from home, through Maastricht which would put us closer to where we need to pickup Chance. Bernkastel-Kues is in the middle of a world-renowned wine growing region. Only the best red or white wines are used to produce the all essential glowing Gluhwines. Sounds like a winner to us. Cochem and Burg Eltz area will have to wait yet again for Jackie. 
On the drive, we had to circle around curvy roads down to the Mosel Valley, where Bernkastel-Kues resides. Brooklyn tells us her tummy hurts. Uh oh, not good. This girl easily gets carsick in these conditions. Dad slows down and takes it as easy as he can. We get into the parking lot along the river and circle around looking for an open spot. And then she throws up all over herself. We made it all the way there and she finally blows her lid. That was a fun, cold cleanup. We still decided to see the town, eat lunch before heading home. 
Life-size wood carved pyramid in Bernkastel-Kues Christmas Market
Bernkastel-Kues half timbered buildings almost leaning into each other 

Bernkastel-Kues street during Christmas 
Joe & Jackie at Bernkastel-Kues Christmas Market 
Bernkastel-Kues Christmas Market
Large building Advent calendar with a door opening each evening
At 5:30pm new advent door is opened in the regions largest advent calendar.
Joe & Brooklyn at Bernkastel-Kues Christmas Market
One last look at Bernkastel-Kues on this dreary day in December
Chance also seemed to have a good vacation at Joekelz dog kennel while we were away 
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