December 15, 2008

Celebrating Christmas and New Year in Deutschland

Airlines that fly to Germany from USA:

Czech Airlines

Deutscher Weihnachtsmarkt in Göttingen:

Gottingen is perfect all season long, but it changes to the best of it during December when the main city square sets up the Christmas Market, Weihnachtsmarkt. Home to the largest and one of the oldest universities in the country, Göttingen University, each year it welcomes internationally acclaimed and talented scientists from around the world to teach and research. Since its founding more than 40 Nobel prize winners have worked and taught at the university. is known for its busy student life, about 24,000 students are currently living and studying, which means – many places for shopping, dining and entertaining.

Gottingen has been first mentioned in 953 by Emperor Otto I. Its rich history is still felt on its streets, both in the city and in the outskirts – the home for a few of the castles. The core of the old town, surrounded by the medieval rampart, harbors many well-preserved or restored buildings. The landmark of the town is the Gänseliesel. On top of the fountain on the marketplace in front of the old town hall this art nouveau figure, portraying no more than a girl herding her geese, is a favorite of new doctoral graduates. It is customary that these, having passed their examinations, festoon this maiden with flowers and give her bronze cheek a kiss. Thus she has become "the most kissed girl" in the world!

(Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799), was a charming, hunchbacked, lecherous hypochondriac. He graduated from the University of Göttingen and remained there as a professor for the rest of his life. His friends and admirers included Goethe, Kant and England's King George III. Lichtenberg taught chemistry, geology, physics, meteorology and astronomy. He had many ideas, an insatiable curiosity and wrote about art, philosophy, psychology, morality, but rarely brought books or inventions to completion. For science, therefore, he remains a mere historical footnote. But he is well remembered for thousands of creative aphorisms he jotted in his notebooks. )

Sightseeing(s) in and around:

Such towns are all about walking. Walking by foot, leave your car and/or your bike at home. Take a local bus, see people get off and on, experience the maneuvers of the bus when it goes in the narrow streets. In the city, buy fresh gingerbread, or a whole gingerbread house, sense the delight in the smells of mulled wine, spices and roasted chestnuts and almonds and sausages as well as a wide array of other foods and drinks when you pass the Christmas market. Stop by to see the decorations and entertainment, such as street musicians/bands and artists and buy popular Christmas ornaments, wooden toys, nutcrackers, figurines, gifts, clothing, candles, foods, local arts and crafts.


Göttingen’s surroundings are well worth a visit – a day, or half-day trip to the nearby Harz Mountains, Solling or the Eichsfeld. A detour to the picturesque towns Duderstadt or Hann. Münden, with their numerous, well-preserved half-timbered houses. Watch cloth being weaved on historical looms in Rosenwinkel, discover nature in the Heinz Sielmann Nature Experience Centre, visit the Plesse fortress or the Sleeping Beauty castle in Sababurg, learn more about the infamous Max and Moritz in the Wilhelm Busch mill, enjoy bird watching at the Seeburg Lake (Seeburger See), visit the liquor distillery in Keilerland, and discover its secrets or take a ferry trip along the Weser river and savor the good German coffee.

Whatever you do during the day, it is at night that Göttingen's atmosphere comes into its own. Street cafés, cozy student pubs, bars and restaurants with menus ranging from home cooking to cosmopolitan cuisine invite you to spend a leisurely and relaxing evening - thanks to the large student population and young professionals who seldom move away from his/her hometown and even if there is little work available, they happily take on the jobs as in-store salespeople, waiters, librarians. And that adds a certain flavor to the town, which is very much loved by everyone around.

Among the best local crème de la crème restaurants are:

When in Germany, do as Germans do. Actually, this one is for Rome, but do taste some delicious, very German cuisine, Deutsche Küche. Otherwise, why be in Germany if not to try the really good Kartoffeln dishes at the Kartoffelhaus, Goetheallee 8, such as Kartoffelsuppe mit Gänsebruststreifen und frischem Majoran (potato soup with goose breast stripe and fresh marjoram) or a really saucy roasted duck with the sour cabbage at the Biewald restaurant. And always look for the Familie Raub, family-style restaurants. They serve the best beer draft and the best local dark bread, Schwartz Brot.

And it would not be Germany, if there would be no Beer pubs and restaurants. Try one of the best local, Landhotel Groß Schneer Hof, Teichstraße 1 – 3. Visit one of the beer “Public Houses” or as they call it – the Beer Gardens.

Breakfast. Starting your day off early in the morning, before you head on a walk tour of the town, visit the Esprit café for breakfast and try one of the café specialty, Esprit Standard - Vollkornbrötchen with Butter, Konfitüre, Honig, Schnittkäse, Wurstaufschnitt und Ei (a whole wheat bread roll with butter, jam, honey, cut cheese, sausage cold cuts topped with an egg) with a side order of Parmaschinken on melon for just Euro 4.90. If you have a sweet tooth, go for the waffles with hot cherries, vanilla ice-cream and cream.

Lunch. There is nothing like a good roasted pheasant! Or anything with a pig, such as a delicious In honey baked sucking pig chop with coriander-cowardly salad, served by the Koch (Chief) himself at the Melange Restaurant. Or go to the Blaue Orange, where Wild pheasants-breast in sand thorn rose hip sauce with top cabbage and Röstkartoffeln will make you go wow-wow!

But again, there is nothing like self-serve and on-a-go food at the Weihnachtsmarkt, where there is a disturbingly wide selection of the sausages, wurst, that can only Mozart remember the names of (Bierschinken, Bierwurst, Blutwurst, Bockwurst, Bratwurst, Braunschweiger, Cervelat, Frankfurter, Knockwurst, Knackwurst, Wienerwurst, Weisswurst, just to name a few!), wide selection of potato dishes (Kartoffeln puffers, Pflaummen Kloesse, Mosel Kartoffeln and Bratkartolffen) and all you can eat of the sweets, from waffles to pancakes, from chocolate dipped fruits to all kinds of cookies. The range of goods on offer is overwhelming and satisfies all desires.

Among other Christmas-Market foods to enjoy are the very special of: Glühwein (Hot Spiced Wine), Hot Chocolate, Hot Fruit Punch, Sausages (all sorts,) Knobibrot Lebkuchen (Gingerbread,) Marzipan, Sauteed Mushrooms With Various Sauces, Potato Pancakes, Gulasch, Roasted Chestnuts and Almonds, Chocolate Dipped Fruits, Baked potatoes loaded with whatever you want, Pfannekuchen (crepes,) Bratkartolffen (fried potatoes). Guten Appetit!

What Should You Do?

Besides munching on all the Christmas market can offer, there is plenty to see in and around the town – from the City Hall, Churches and Cathedrals to the house ornaments, theatre and opera houses. One can walk up to the highest point in the town to see the city clock tower, the roofs of many cathedrals and houses. Shooping ranges from large department stores of Karstadt and C&A to the boutiques of Mango and H&M. The stores that sell souvenirs offer a great selection of Einstein post cards and sell many items with popular schwein (pig) humor. The streets of the town, range from quite quarters to the people watching part of the city. The street musicians play odd instruments and the artists sell random pottery creations.

Uncensored Traveler “Göettingen Must-Dos”:

Historic tour of the medieval town wall, a home to magnificent churches and timbered houses from 14th to 18th century.

If not to kiss, then at least take a photo with the Gottingen’s landmark – the Gänseliesel statue. Become one of the many who kissed the “most kissed girl in the world”!

There is nothing like the experience of the Weihnachtenmarkt. So, I say: Weihnachtsmarkt…Weihnachtsmarkt…Weihnachtsmarkt.

It's all about the beer and plenty of it.

For the official guide to the city of Gottingen, visit Gottingen tourism site.

No comments: