Nürnberg/Christkindlesmarkt: How it Went

| December 4, 2013

After Action Reporting: Family Trip to Nürnberg and the Christkindlesmarkt

  • I got away with not cleaning out the car!

  • Therefore, it wasn’t long before Sequoia excitedly showed me the two Chicklets she found in her seat.

  • Paul was sick.  He tried valiantly all weekend to appear less than miserable.

  • I love a city with subway entrances below a tower.


  • Sequoia loves to discuss how she would defend herself if city statues came to life at night.IMG_9566

  • Paul and I forgot to bring our pillows. German pillows bring on the following:

-Look at pillow.
-Go to rest head on pillow.
-Head slams down onto mattress like a rock.
-Face now sandwiched between 14” clouds of pillow standing erect on either side of you, smothering you like Bavarian boobs.
-Vertebrae dislocated by morning.

  • On our first breakfast morning, Sequoia coughed while food was in her mouth.  Clumps of corn flakes flew out of her mouth and narrowly missed the gentleman to my right.  I was mortified.  Two minutes later, the fruit of a kiwi I was carving out of its skin launched itself at my shirt and rolled down my chest, leaving a juicy trail.  I was mortified.  A few minutes later, Paul reached across the table and grazed a spoon sitting in a bowl, just missing catapulting it at Sequoia’s face.  We are awesome.

  • Paul forgot his charger.  Conversations went like this:

Paul:    “I forgot the ipad charger.”
Kari:    “That sucks.”
Kari:    “Can I use the purple iphone?”
Paul:    “It’s almost dead.”
Kari:    “Charge it.”
Kari:    “You forgot that one, too?”
Paul:    “Kari.”

  • IMG_9569Sequoia caught Paul’s illness.  Sequoia did not make a valiant attempt to appear anything but miserable that day.

  • I ate so.much.Nürnberg Bratwurst.  As in, 7+/day.  I drank quite a bit of Glühwein, too (to stay warm).  I thought a lot about my first visit to Germany c. 2006 and how shortly thereafter, my gall bladder was removed.  I wondered which of my remaining organs are affected by gluttony, and whether they would still be in my body after Christmas market season.

  • Saturday night with Paul and Sequoia was a constant loop of:

-Sequoia wailing unnecessarily melodramatically
-Flash wandering around the room, jingling his metal tags as he inspected Sequoia’s melodramatic wailing
-Paul hoarsely demanding that Sequoia stop wailing
-Me pleading with everyone to stop wailing, jingling, and hoarsely grumbling

Followed by:
-Me accidentally stepping on poor Flash in the middle of the night
-Flash yelping
-The guy in the next room banging around.

  • Sequoia got hopped up on giant cookie sugar as predicted.  Very important note: these cookies are made of recycled moving boxes covered in playdoh, and therefore taste like ass.christmas gingerbread cookie

  • IMG_5255nurnbergerwurstWe were a building away from a historic Bratwurst kitchen. I love a place that brings you a silver heart-shaped platter with nothing but 12 sausage links on it.

  • Speaking of Wurst… The hotel bathroom had auto-timed, motion-sensor bathroom lights that went out each time I was on the toilet.  Germans either accomplish Number 2 more efficiently than I do, or wave their hands wildly the whole time they’re doing it.

  • We visited the Christkindlesmarkt several times.  Here is what I have to say about that:

Nürnberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is a big one.  It’s also a small one.  It is cramped.  It is packed.  You will lose sight of your little one at least once, and it is quite possible that you will not regain sight of her until she body surfs past your head.  If you take a stroller through the narrow rows of kiosks, you are probably an asshole.

IMG_5239That said,

There are some unique aspects to the market.  A favorite was the horse-drawn Deutsch Post wagon ride that took you on quite a long ride through the walled city of Nürnberg.  The horses clip-clopped through narrow, Fachwerk-lined streets, backing up traffic and drawing tourist shutterbugs.  It was lovely.

There was an entirely separate Kinder Weihnachtsmarkt set up in a different area of the city.  Vendors were set up around the children’s area, but not heavily.  There were only a couple of rides, but one was a double-decker carousel.  I rather liked the separation of the children’s area.

kinderweihnacht sign

IMG_5211In one workshop, kids could write to Santa or Christkindl and mail the letters via Deutsch Post boxes in the shack.  Santa and Christkindl were posing for photos with the kids in another shack.

IMG_9604Friendly tip: If you ride on the double-decker carousel as an adult, do not try to squeeze your family of three into the second-tier hot air balloon because  1) Your child will spin the balloon until you want to barf up your sloshing Glühweincrêpewurst stomach contents; 2) You will require knee surgery following your knee-to-chin-while-performing-a-split contortion; and 3) It will be embarrassing when Christkindl has to pry you out with a crowbar.

The market had 2 full kiosks for Playmobil and at least one kiosk for Käthe Wohlfahrt ornaments and decorations.  This is perfect for people who prefer not to shop in a well-heated, indoor store with more than an inch of personal space.

If you are claustrophobic, have any fear of your child being out of sight for one millisecond, or get slightly annoyed by pushy crowds who will shove you right past the kiosk where you were about to stop, this might not be the market for you.  For me personally, the stampede detracted from all the great things about the market.

  • When we left the Nürnberg Trials memorial museum, Sequoia asked, “What’s the next museum?”  She was quite relieved when the answer was the toy museum.

  • IMG_9619We visited Marmot and found exactly the new winter coat we wanted for Sequoia—what I wanted, what she wanted, what Paul wanted—except the price.  I realized I’d forgotten the VAT (tax-free) forms we need in order to avoid the 19% value-added sales tax.  I was buying myself gloves, on top of it, adding to the total amount of tax we’d take a hit on.  There was one Marmot store in Germany and we were standing in it, so there would be no waiting until we got home to buy it.  I bought the gloves and we left to mull over the coat while comparison-shopping.  After checking out Jack Wolfskin and Mammut, we came to the conclusion that this coat was “the” coat.  Later, we returned to buy it.  This story is not over.

  • Because my wonderful new gloves were white, I could not wear them at the Christkindlesmarkt due to the high likelihood that they would be Glühwein-striped gloves within the first five minutes.  It was a good decision not to wear them; it was a questionable decision to buy white gloves in the first place.

  • Sequoia and I separately each walked into poles.

  • Paul backed my car into a pole.  The replacement reflector is on order.  I repeat: Paul backed my car into a pole.

  • IMG_5265Heading to the palace on Sunday morning, we could not follow the GPS route due to Christkindlesmarkt road closures, we could find no parking, we found ourselves backing down a one-way street, my husband had just earlier backed my car into a pole, Sequoia and Paul were sick, and I’d had no sleep.  I decided to return to the castle on an off-season weekday and we left Nürnberg.

  • IMG_5215Nürnberg, the first moments in the city: “Oh my god, this city is awesome!”  Nürnberg, after two days of Christkindlesmarkt: “Oh my god, get me out of here.”

  • On the way home, I realized that the triple room I reserved turned out to be a double with a rollaway.  I wrote an email to the booking service; I eagerly await an inadequate response.

  • Also on the way home, I opened a zipper in my purse to find the tax-free forms we needed in order to avoid the 19% tax at Marmot.  I’d brought them after all.  $50 error.  That’s the end of that awesome part of the story.

  • And finally on the way home, I took a nap.  And then Sequoia woke me up to ask if I was tired.


Category: Christmas Markets, Christmas Markets, FAMILY, Family Travel, Festivals, Germany, In Germany A Broad blog, Restaurants, Shits & Giggles, Travel

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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