Monthly Archives: November 2011

German Christmas markets 2011

Over the past few weeks in most German towns, little wooden huts have sprung up on squares and along the main shopping streets. Behind shutters we heard scuffling and hammering, mysterious bags and boxes were unloaded, cables laid, lights tested… wafts of aniseed and cinnamon and ginger…  a general air of mystery and excitment.

And now, this weekend most of the Christmas market stalls are finally opening up. The bratwurst and waffles are sizzling, the wine mulling, the stalls full of craftwork and sweetmeats are overflowing with novelties.

I walked through part of the Duisburg Christmas market yesterday lunchtime and got an impression of what they have to offer there… for a start the choice of food was surprising. One stall was just beginning to roast a whole hog…

Spit roast

Why settle for a Bratwurst when you could eat the whole pig?

Another was starting to flame-grill some salmon…

Salmon smoking

The smoking ban clearly doesn't extend to salmon...

Traditional sweets, nuts and candied fruits are everywhere…

Toasted Almonds

It wouldn't be Advent without toasted almonds

Being only a short distance from the Dutch border, there are plenty of specialities from the Netherlands too – sold from Dutch gabled huts


Poffertjes are technically a Dutch speciality - but the Germans love them

I’m not entirely sure why there was a Viking ship in the town centre selling Glühwein – but it certainly stood out. I didn’t see any Vikings, and the figure of Saint Nicholas on board looked decidedly tipsy…

Glühwein stand

Glühwein served from a Viking longship? Well, I suppose it gets cold up North....

No Christmas market is complete without a German Christmas Pyramid. This one was a fine specimen because it actually has an integrated Glühwein stand…  no German city should be without one!

German Christmas Pyramid

Glühwein served from a German Christmas Pyramid



Filed under About Germany, food, German festivals, Life in Germany

Lovely old German vehicles…

I was out and about in Duisburg today and I spotted these two beauties.

First up, a red BMW motorbike with sidecar – not the newest but definitely oozing with retro-charm. Getting in and out of it might be a challenge… but who needs to wear a pencil skirt anyway?

BMW and sidecar

Must-have transport for the aging hippy...

Second, the door-to-door grocer was out and about with his yellow deli-van. One half  is a greengrocer, the other a butcher and vendor of fine condiments. Dairy in the cool box in the middle. A very fine selection of home-produced sausages, hanging up at the back. Much more fun than queueing up at Aldi!

Grocery delivery

Stop me and buy one!

The people of Duisburg are obviously quite inventive actually. For instance, instead of the ubiquitous Internet-café they can offer you the Internet-hairdresser.

Internet Hairdresser

Surf and blow-dry?

There was also a lego-man down near the harbour. I suspect he’s German. It’s the socks and sandals that give it away…

Lego man

Fashion faux pas



Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany