This is the final post for my 2016 Take 12 Trips challenge, then I will be all caught up. So, let’s get on with it shall we?
Laufenburg in Aargau, Switzerland and Laufenburg in Baden, Germany are two towns that used to be one… until Napolean decided to place the Swiss/German border right in the middle of the Rhine, leaving the two parts of the town in two different countries. A bridge connects the two, and every year the towns join together to hold a cross-border Christmas market, with stalls in each of the towns and also across the bridge. I loved the idea of a Christmas market in two countries at once and as soon as I read about it I knew I wanted to go. The market is only on for one weekend in December, but luckily we had time that weekend – and Laufenburg is only about a 20-minute train ride away.
On arriving in the Swiss Laufenburg, we immediately saw the ruins of a castle on the hill, so that was our first stop. You can climb the tower that is all that remains of the castle and get a nice view of both Laufenburgs. We could actually see the market from up there as well, but I couldn’t get a photo because there were trees in the way.
Laufenburg castle ruins
View from Laufenburg castle ruins
The roofs at the front are in Laufenburg, Switzerland. The sunlit buildings at the back are in Laufenburg, Germany.
Back down from the tower, we took a wander through town in the general direction of the river, working on the assumption that we would have to come across the bridge (and thus the Christmas market) somewhere down there. The town turned out to be really pretty, so of course I took photos.
Pretty coloured buildings
A fountain in “Hinterer Wasen”
After a while, we reached the Rathaus (town hall), where we could already see signs of the Christmas market.
Town hall… you can just see some Christmas market stalls to the left
The Christmas market stands did look very cool crossing the bridge! Also, the two photos below were taken from different countries.
Christmas market on the bridge, viewed from Switzerland
Christmas market on the bridge, viewed from Germany
Before buying anything from the Christmas market, we had a wander through, across the bridge and into Germany, to see what was on offer. The German side turned out to be very pretty too! (Unlike in Rheinfelden, where Switzerland got the pretty old town while Germany has nothing worth looking at.)
The German side
The German side viewed from the bridge
Obligatory “I’m crossing a border!” photo
The border facing the other way
Fountain on the German side
This a sign for a bank… I loved the little “piggy bank”
View of the Swiss side from Germany
Christmas market on the German side
Apologies for the photo overload… and I haven’t even included all of them!
There was a Rathaus on the German side as well, and the Christmas market ended on the square in front of it. From town hall to town hall, via the bridge 🙂
Laufenburg (Germany) town hall
By this time it was getting a bit chilly, so it was time for some Glühwein. We chose a stand that was selling a cherry version. Then we moved on to another stand for a bacon waffle… I had never seen anyone put bacon bits in waffle batter before but it was very tasty!
Having eaten , we wandered our way back through the German side and back onto the bridge, where we picked up a Christmas gift for Jan’s mum and grabbed another Glühwein.
Colofurl buildings on the German side
The Swiss side, again
Back on the Swiss side, we found another bit of market round the corner from the bridge, bought some biscuits and a marshmallow snowman from a stand run by a school (the snowman later went in some hot chocolate) and even spied a Santa on a motorbike before deciding it was time to head back to catch our train.
Mediaeval stand with hot mead
I liked this decoration
Santa is a biker!
I was expecting Laufenburg market to be tiny, just going across the bridge with maybe one or two stands on either side, but it turned out to have a lot to offer. There are various different food and drink stands along with ones selling hand-made items (there were some lovely bird feeders!), jams and condiments, candles and more. They certainly go to a lot of effort for something that’s only on for three days! The Christmas market and both of the towns are well worth a visit, and we’ve already decided that it would make a nice day trip with any visitors we happen to have in the summer. If you’re ever in the area and fancy doing something in two countries in one afternoon I would definitely recommend Laufenburg!
This was my December trip for Take 12 Trips 2016, and meant I had completed the challenge for the second time!