Europe’s Christmas markets aren’t happening in 2020. Too many crowds for safety during the pandemic. So I thought today we would revisit the Christmas market in my wife’s ancestral hometown of Lippstadt, Germany. These pictures and comments are from 2017.
I have visited Lippstadt before, but always in the warmer weather. I didn’t know what to expect of their Christmas market.
We had already visited the Advent Market held in the little town of Laufen, an event that matched the town for size. It was pouring rain and I didn’t take any pictures. Nor was I tempted by the craft items for sale. As gifts perhaps, but there was nothing I couldn’t live without. The sausage was excellent though, and there was a covered space to sit and eat.
My impressions of the Christmas Market in Colmar, France, we’re similar. I saw many nice things for sale, but the prices were such that I wasn’t tempted. That one is a huge undertaking, five separate market locations spread throughout the city core. The food vendors priced their wares in line with the crafts, so I looked and smelled but did not indulge. Maybe if I had been hungry… The constant rain may have damped my consumer instincts.
We celebrated the first Sunday of Advent in Lippstadt, which is my wife’s ancestral home town. We arrived on Friday evening, just in time for the beginning of the town’s Christmas Market, located in the city square, a block from where we stay.
At this point you may be wondering what the difference is between a Christmas Market and an Advent Market. I know I was. And I don’t know if I have a factual answer. I could look it up, but that feels like work. My guess is that the Advent markets are smaller and don’t last as long. The Christmas market in Colmar lasts six weeks, the one in Lippstadt a little more than three. Laufen’s was only two days. Mind you, we have a Christmas Market in Sulzburg in a week or so, and it is only a one-day affair.
We were in Lippstadt for three days, which gave us time to explore the Christmas Market in a leisurely way. It was crowded on the Friday, when the stalls were open ‘til 11 to celebrate the first night of the market. It was also perfect weather, just below freezing with the occasional snowflake. Saturday and Sunday were less ideal, rain probably keeping some of the people away. When the event runs for another three weeks, you stay home, knowing there will be opportunities for better weather.
There were similarities and differences when I compared the Lippstadt Market to the ones we had attended the previous week. The stalls were clustered in the market square around the Marienkirche, the church my wife’s grandfather pastored for more than 30 years. Close enough together to make it easy to see everything, but not so close that it felt cramped. Prices seemed more reasonable for food and crafts. There was a stage with live Christmas music (some of the performers were excellent, a few were atrociously bad). There were rides for the children, and an ice rink with skates for rent. Different activities take place every day of the market. We went to an advent church service and took in the local museum (more on that in some future post).
Re-reading those words, I realize I never did write the post about that museum visit. I’ll need to find those photos and share them with you. Maybe early in 2021. It is always nice to have something to look forward to.