Speyer Christmas market

A week ago, Jan and I took the train to Speyer for the Christmas market. It’s a fairly small market, but Speyer is a lovely setting with it. One thing I really liked was that almost every Glühwein mentioned what kind of wine it was (e.g. Dornfelder). Here, most stands just say “Glühwein” with a few mentioning that theirs is a specific type as a way to distinguish themselves from the rest. And this, my friends, is how you can tell Rheinland-Pfalz is Germany’s wine region! All the usual foods and drinks were on offer, of course, but there were a few more unusual things. I got to try horse sausage! I’ve been curious to find out what horsemeat tastes like ever since the scandal and this was the perfect opportunity. The sausage was so well spiced that I’m still not sure what horse actually tastes like, but it was nice anyway. I also had something called a Schneemann (snowman), which was a layer of eggnog, a layer of Glühwein and a layer of whipped cream. It was very alcoholic, but very good! Sweet and fruity and creamy. Mmm! Here are some photos:

Once we’d seen everything at the market and had a few drinks each, we briefly headed to the cathedral. Speyer is a pilgrimage site, apparently, and the cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage building.

After the cathedral, Jan bought me a snowman shaped tree ornament from the French partner town’s stall then we headed back to the train station. In all, we spent about three hours in Speyer, which is as much as you need really – as I mentioned, it is a small market (obviously you can always spend longer there if you just want to hang around drinking Glühwein and chatting to friends, but just for looking at the market you won’t need much more than 3 hours including food and drink breaks). Speyer itself is a very pretty town as well, and the museum is well worth a visit (even when there isn’t an exhibition about the history of Playmobil going on).

I’m linking this post up to day 5 of Becster’s 12 Days of Christmas, which was Christmas outings/parties. (I should have linked up ages ago but I’m way behind on blog posts!)

12 Days of Christmas - Becster.com Link Up!

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Friday letters and links

Hello there! It’s Friday again, and after today I only have one more week at work before the Christmas holidays. I’m very much looking forward to not having to get up at 6 a.m. for a couple of weeks! We’re visiting Jan’s parents for Christmas then for New Year… well, as of right now we’re doing nothing! Iceland is out because flights were too espensive. Bruges was on the table, but other than me looking up train prices and letting Jan know nothing has been done about it and by now it may be too late to even book somewhere to stay. So we may end up staying in Karlsruhe and having fireworks thrown at us all night. We’ll see… Anyway, Friday letters!

PostkastenDear final Christmas present. Please hurry up and arrive so I can finally finish wrapping stuff!

Dear post office. I think I’m only going to have to visit you one more time this year (unless I end up having . Yippee!

Dear Deutsche Post. I can’t believe stamp prices are going up again in January! I still have some left over from last year when it cost 58 cents to send a letter within Germany… now it’s going up from 60 to 62 cents. It isn’t even that long since said stamps only cost 55 cents! And as for putting the price of an international letter up from 75 to 80 cents… well, I don’t even know what to say to that!

Dear Speyer. We’re coming to visit your Christmas market tomorrow! 🙂

That’s all I can think of this week, so here are some links:

Playmobil and ancient wine in Speyer

Playmobile

I’d been wanting to go and see the “40 Jahre Playmobil” exhibition in Speyer ever since I saw a poster advertising it back in December (yes, I am 30 going on about 7…), so when Jan asked whether I wanted to do anything on 1st May (a holiday in Germany) and the weather forecast said that anything outdoors was definitely not a good idea, I decided it was the perfect opportunity. Jan didn’t seem tooo enthusiastic, but he had asked what I wanted to do, so he agreed to go along with it.

The exhibition was taking place at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz (History Museum of the Pfalz), Pfalz or the Palatinate being the region that Speyer is located in. We arrived in Speyer at around noon and joined the queue of small people with their parents… apparantly I’m the only childless person in Germany who wants to see toys 😉 Once inside, we purchased our tickets, which included both the special exhibition (Playmobil!) and the permanent exhibits. We decided to check out the Playmobil first, just in case the queue got even longer later! I never really played with Playmobil as a child (I remember briefly having one set, with swings and a roundabout) and I still prefer Lego, partly because it encourages children to be creative in a way that Playmobil doesn’t (there’s no building your own things with Playmobil!), but also because you can do so much with a basic set of Lego. With Playmobil, you have to buy a separate kit for everything you might want to do – a castle, a pirate ship, a circus… with Lego, you could theoretically build anything you wanted to yourself (if you’re more creative than me!). Nevertheless, I was fascinated by just how many different Playmobil kits there are! And the look back at Playmobile through the ages was pretty interesting, too – as you may have gathered from the title, the point of the exhibition was to celebrate 40 years of Playmobil. Here are some of the photos I managed to get (actually quite a difficult task with all the children buzzing around!).

They also had some Playmobil inspired art, including this painting that I really liked!

Playmobil

Playmobil done, it was time for something more grown up… wine! The Wine Museum area included some interesting wine barrels, including this one that can hold five different types of wine at once. Clever!

Wine barrel

The museum also has what’s thought to the oldest still (semi-)liquid wine in the world, from Roman times… around 300 AD to be precise. I can’t say it looked particularly appertising any more!

Tasty... ?
Tasty… ?

Once we’d had a look at the wine museum, we had a quick snack stop at the cafe. We both went for Currywurst, opting for the “Scharf” (spicy) variety. I dread to think what their normal Currywurst was like… sausages in plain old ketchup? The Scharf certainly wasn’t very spicy! Never mind. Having finished our snacks, we had a quick look at the rest of the museum. There was a fascinating Roman street map that we spent quite a while looking at, before heading upstairs to check out some random finds from the local area. There were some hideous china ornaments! (No photos, I’m afraid).

When we left the museum, we found that the rain had briefly stopped so I was able to grab a few photos before the heavens opened again. Here’s the Speyer Cathedral:

It soon started pouring down again, at which point we actually had to leave anyway because we only had the car until six. But before getting on our way, we stopped to buy some fresh strawberries from a little stand in the carpark, which is what we ate for desert once we got home. All in all, it was the perfect way to spend a horrid, rainy day!

Strawberry stand

I am counting this as my May 2014 trip for Claire from Need Another Holiday’s Take 12 Trips challenge.