Anyone who has spent Christmas time in Germany knows that it’s something of a magical place, and a large part of this has to do with the Christmas markets. Naturally, they can be found throughout the country, but in Berlin alone, there are dozens upon dozens taking place in every district, ranging from small to large in size and from a few days to a couple months in length.
In addition, the offering varies. Some are more “traditional,” others are more like glorified fairs, and a few are thematic, such as those paying tribute to Scandinavian countries or times long gone. One of the most renown in Berlin, however, is the Alt-Rixdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt. This market, which celebrate it’s 40th year this year, is a three-day market on the second weekend of the advent season.
Rixdorf itself is a former village located in Neukölln. It’s a short walk from my first flat in Berlin, and I always found the neighborhood charming. Every year, the Christmas market here seeks to capture and convey that old-timey, home-y feeling. I missed the market last year and so I was determined to make it this time around.
As luck would have it, while we were preparing to leave, we looked out the window to check out the snow situation, and M.’s mother and her husband were out front, cleaning off their car. We yelled out to them, asking where they were headed, and it turns out we had the same destination. So we hurried downstairs and were able to catch a ride with the two of them.
The atmosphere at the market was particularly lovely because of all the snow on the ground. Last year we didn’t even have snow that stuck to the ground until mid-way through winter, meaning that there was no white Christmas, much less a white December. So this change was welcomed by me-at least until my feet began hurting from the cold. So much for warm winter boots plus two layers of socks…
The downside to a three-day market is that everyone comes in that short amount of time, meaning the experience was a bit too crowded for my tastes. What I did like was the variety of booths. While there were many traditional booths selling the same stuff most markets offer, many of the stands were non-profit, sponsored by educational or developmental companies or programs, which means that much of the money was going toward a good cause.
Another perk was the many vegan booths. There were baked goods for sale and even a booth serving vegan soups! M. and I definitely took advantage of those. Others will opt for Glühwein, but I’ll take warm vegan soup over that any day.