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What Does Hiking in Germany Have in Common With German Christmas Markets?

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Expat in Germany: What Does Hiking in Germany Have in Common With German Christmas Markets?

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Does Hiking in Germany Have in Common With German Christmas Markets?

What do hiking in Germany and German Christmas markets have to do with each other?  I asked myself the same question as we pulled into a parking place next to the Calw Christmas Market.  Clearly we were in the wrong place, J.P. and I were the only hikers in sight!
I must say that Calw is a beautiful setting for a Christmas market though - even the half timber houses seem festive with their painted red wood and green shutters!
It was a cold day and J.P. suggested we start our 12km  hike with a mug of mulled wine since we were here anyway.  I thought he was kidding - he wasn't.   Despite my initial reluctance I have to admit that it did warm me up and the mulled wine salesman did point us in the right direction for our hike.  It turns out that the Christmas Market was the start of our hike! 
Before long, we had hiked up a hill in the Black Forest and were peering out at Calw through the trees.
Fortunately after we hiked up the hill, the rest of the trail was flat - that mulled wine was starting to kick in!  We were fortunate to have the trail almost all to ourselves only seeing two other people and the trees were gorgeous lightly crusted in white snow.

 Hiking in Germany is full of surprises though!  Before long we went from a tranquil snow covered path to a henker sight (beheading sight), where a famous German lady (but not famous to me) was beheaded for suspected witchcraft.  The sign (in German) went on to describe the sight saying it had been in use from as early as 1818 and was where the Henker went about his daily work of beheading people.  It seemed rather casual given the history, but perhaps that was just my elementary German interpretation and J.P.'s rush to translate the whole sign for me, which I naturally insisted that he do.  Who knows when I will come across a beheading sight again?
Needless to say, we couldn't resist a photo opp!  And suddenly we became extremely grateful for our jobs which don't involve beheading people.  Enough talk about beheading people!  Off to the next stop - Ruins!
Unfortunately we didn't make it to the ruins - perhaps the mulled wine slowed us down?  We were running out of day light so headed back to Calw where we were warmly greeted by the above sign which translates as "Christmas in Calw."  A hike that started and ended with a Christmas market - definitely a first for me.
And where there's a Christmas market, you know there will be mulled wine.  We enjoyed a cup and then saw a special white mulled wine which the shop owner said was her own original brew.  How could we resist?   Our defenses were weak after all that hiking.  And this time we had earned it - well sort of.  Perhaps hiking in Germany and German Christmas markets do belong together!

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At November 29, 2010 at 1:04 PM , Blogger Jamie said...

sounds like the perfect start and end to a hike. if only they had drink stations along the way!
love the photo of the trees covered in snow.
cheers, jamie from

At November 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM , Anonymous The NVR Guys said...

What a macabre thing to come across when hiking! Made even more eerie by the dusting of snow and seeming "middle of the woods-ness" of it all. Very Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Mulled White wine sounds amazing. Was it?

At November 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM , Blogger Morgenmuffel said...

lol we have odd places like that in England too. I remember one trip when we were visiting my Nan in Somerset, we were driving somewhere and my Mum seemed to point out a place where someone died every 20 metres, and places where headless horsemen were supposed to roam. As kids we loved it, funny!

View looks gorgeous and bet that mulled wine was very welcome at the end.

At November 29, 2010 at 3:06 PM , Anonymous Kelly @Travelbugjuice said...

Fun! I can't believe you found that beheading site! That would freak me out!! It would take a lot of mulled wine to get me to put my face anywhere near that log!!

At November 30, 2010 at 1:03 AM , Anonymous Robin said...

I LOVE Germany at Christmas and will be there this year, in Franconia. Lovely Christmassy post :)

At November 30, 2010 at 6:02 AM , Anonymous inka said...

Oh yes, the mulled wine is a great help in cold Germany. I don't hike if I can avoid it, but a stroll in the snow covered wood is nice. Great pictures.

At November 30, 2010 at 6:56 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

@Jamie - Yikes, then we never would have finished! :)
@The NVR Guys - I didn't even think of the Grimm's Fairy Tales, but you're right - maybe this is where they got the brothers Grimm got their inspiration.
@Morgenmuffel - Very cool! I can't say we heard of any headless horsemen - perhaps the next hike!
@Kelly - It should have freaked me out more than it did, maybe because it looked so pretty with all the snow (which now come to think of would really show all the blood stains)
@Robin - Thanks. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas in Germany and get to check out the Christmas markets.
@inka - I use the cold weather as an excuse to drink the mulled wine every chance I get!

At November 30, 2010 at 1:53 PM , Anonymous adventureswithben said...

Ooooh. I really want to go to a German Christmas market! This looks great.

At November 30, 2010 at 2:13 PM , Anonymous Renee King said...

I feel like you've just transported me back in time....the beheading platform is morbid as it sounds....I'm glad they kept it. Lovely post!

At November 30, 2010 at 6:22 PM , Anonymous Ayngelina said...

What a great way to start and end a winter hike!

At December 1, 2010 at 7:30 AM , Blogger Italian Notes said...

After the horror in the woods, you had definitely deserved a drink in a cosy environment.

At December 1, 2010 at 9:35 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

@adventureswithben - The Christmas markets in Germany are amazing! I've been to 3 different ones and they just opened!
@Renee - agreed, I'm glad they kept it to. Thanks!
@Ayngelina - This may have ruined me for all future hikes which don't involve wine.
@Italian Notes - I think so too! :)


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