Our final stop at Germany’s Christmas markets may have been our best. Berlin did not disappoint! With the kid-friendly rides and good country food at Dessau and Magdeburg and the fresh greens of lovely booths in Hannover behind us, we thought the markets couldn’t get any better. But then we shopped Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt.
Sophisticated booths mimicked their store-front counterparts, companies with fond reputations for exquisite goods — like the stores in the Kathe Wohlfart chain — and came to life in Berlin. We found several “malls” set up in heated tents selling handcrafted wares with the artists on location to talk with us. In addition, room-like settings enticed us to stay and shop simply based upon tasteful, elegant displays.
Food, too, was readily available. From cheeses to sample to goods you take and eat on the premises, everything on display seemed fresh and beautifully presented. (Admittedly, we sometimes had to ask what the food was since we speak no German!) It didn’t matter though. Sellers were patient, and every bite was interesting!
Roaming the market was half the fun. With a brass ensemble belting it out on the steps of the Konzerthaus, we quickly fell under the spell of Christmas in Germany as we sipped gluhwein, popped a few quark balls (yummy fried cheese) into our mouths, and meandered the markets as if we’d always done so.
It’s hard not to feel like a local there — everyone was friendly. And some spoke fabulous English — like the man from Kashmir selling scarves who told us he began learning English at age 2!lll
What we didn’t expect, though, was a scene that fostered a research project once we arrived home. A lady on stilts dressed in a thin gold costume brushed past us — filling space by flapping her wings, welcoming guests to have their pictures taken with her, and smiling for the cameras all pointed at her.
Later, when we shared the photos, a friend remarked that this gold lady may have been dressed as Rauschgoldengel. As legend has it, a woodcarver who lost his only child, carved a likeness of her out of wood and covered it in Rauschgold, a thin paper-like foil. He added wings to make her look like an angel, and she has become a symbol of Christmas ever since.
Or it could be that this woman represents the Christ Angel who is also dressed in gold and known for her flowing blonde hair. If you know more about this beautiful lady who roamed Gendarmenmarkt, let us know. She charmed us all.
This post ends our tour of the 2021 Christmas markets in Germany, but hopefully, these are not our last ones to see. In German, we’re wishing you health, happiness, and success in the new year.
Gesundheit, Glück und Erfolg!
Travel to find something new,
Rusha & Bert
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This tour of the German markets was part of a larger tour by Viking River Cruises: Christmas Along the Elbe. Although the tour was altered due to closings for Covid-19, we are grateful for the markets that remained open and for the people on board and in the towns who were vigilant about making our experience as safe as possible.