Last Monday I shared my favorite tastes from our recent trip to southern Germany, northern Austria and a sliver of Slovakia. Before I leave this subject and move on to new places in 2020, allow me to share some photos, with a Christmas emphasis, from the 6 cities and towns we saw. No matter what time of year you visit, the architecture will be stunning and the history will be long. But, at Christmas time, these places take on an extra measure of magic.
Munich gave me my first glimpse of Germany with its cleanliness, efficiency, sauerkraut and prune people (little dolls made of prunes with walnut heads). I learned to keep a half euro handy for the public restrooms, and I admired the skills of the artisans, whether it was working with lace, wood or gingerbread.
I'm so glad we made this side trip. The snow-covered Bavarian Alps were stunning, and the small village was like a step back hundreds of years. This is the site of the Passion Play presented by the townspeople every ten years, and 2020 will have the next set of performances.
In my opinion, Nuremberg's market was the best of the ones we saw in Germany. The Nuremberg angel, the rich lebkuchen and the hot kinderpunsch more than made up for the negative connotation in my mind from events that took place in Nuremberg during World War II. The people of Nuremburg know they can't erase history, but they are doing their very best to overcome it.
Salzburg is proud of its connection to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and rightly so. His music is some of the most challenging I played as a piano student in college. It was cold and damp while we were there. I'd love to go back on a sunny day, but I DID enjoy the schnitzel. :)
We were fortunate to be in Vienna on a warm, sunny Sunday in December when the crowds were in holiday spirits. It was festive, and the market was bustling with beautiful wares and delicious eats. After a day of shopping and exploring the historical sites, we attended a wonderful concert of music by Mozart and Strauss performed by an excellent chamber orchestra. For me, it was a mighty good day.
Although we were only across the border into Slovakia for a few hours, we didn't want to miss seeing a part of this country that was behind the Iron Curtain until 1989. Again, we heard a passionate guide proudly proclaim the history of the town, and we walked streets once walked by Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Liszt and even Napoleon!! We learned that Slovakians have a fondness for paprika, poppyseeds, crepes and thick hot chocolate. Fortunately, we enjoyed eating our way through the markets here that focused primarily on food.
If you love world history, music, stunning architecture, great food and beautiful natural landscape, I believe you'll enjoy a trip to these cities and towns. And, as long as you bundle up, Christmas can be an extra special time to go.
MERRY CHRISTMAS! FROHE WIEHNACHTEN!