We have never been a family big on sitting around the house; it just isn’t what we do. So, it should be of little surprise that a day after Jack returned we packed the Volvo and headed to Bavaria for a long weekend.  Our home base was a cottage in Munich that could have been a workshop for Santa’s elves. Though it had modern restoration and conveniences, the ceilings of this former guest house were perhaps a little low for the taller members of the family. Small matter!

Collectively we have visited Munich over a half-dozen times, so we did not feel like we were short-changing our visit by giving attention only to the Christmas markets on this visit. Special to the German markets were way too many straw ornaments for any reasonable person to choose from; elaborate pyramids; beautiful Springerle molds and the fanciest Glühwien mugs we have ever seen.

The inner courtyard of the Munich Residenz (seat of the Bavarian Princes) was gaily lit.

Vienna is not really into fanciful window decorations for Christmas, and the city lacks a department store (and windows to decorate), so it was a treat to see the windows of Munich’s Galeria Kaufhof dressed with happy Steiff animals in various storybook settings.

A hearty Bavarian dinner at an old Munich Brauhaus complemented our evening.

We set aside an entire day to visit the market at Nürnberg, one of Germany’s oldest. With an astonishing 180 stalls, an entire day was needed to see everything!

The Feuerzangenbowle is a traditional German alcoholic drink so named for the rum-soaked loaf of sugar that drips into a bowl to create the beverage.

Zwetschkenmannerl (Prune Men) were popular, and came dressed as everything from folk people to soccer stars.

Another tradition is Nürnberger sausage; three finger-sized wursts on a toasted roll made an excellent snack.

Pyramids and wooden cutout candle holders are almost too pretty to put away after the holidays.

Elegant wax sticks and molds for personalizing one’s (handwritten) letter.

A section of the Nürnberg market plays host to its 16 sister cities, and each offered items from their country. Macedonia was amusing in that it was operating a bar!

Handmade Scottish wool ties, or perhaps a Hot Toddy?

Atlanta, Georgia USA is one of Nürnberg’s sister cities, and is home to Coca-Cola. That would explain the Kool-Aid (headquartered in Illinois); the M&Ms (headquartered in Virginia); and Hershey’s (headquartered in Pennsylvania). But no Coca-Cola products. What a lame effort.

On the Winter Solstice morning we drove part of the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, just about the only part of Bavaria we found that was snowy. So pretty.

On the final day of our pleasant but short holiday Tony and I walked about Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its small and cozy market, where antler gifts awaited the last-minute shopper.

The children opted to take the cable car to the top of Alpspitze, Germany’s second tallest peak at 2628m. Zugspitze, the highest peak and adjacent to Alpspitze, was closed to visitors because of high winds, the same winds that were blowing when this selfie was taken on the viewing platform. Crazy kids.

Thank you, Internet, for the photo.

And with that our Bavarian holiday came to a close, just in time for our Christmas holiday to begin.