BB and I spent last weekend sampling the best West Germany has to offer, namely in the city of Trier and the cobbled streets of Bernkastel-Kues (pictured). I saw it as a bit of a rite of passage for her: as a forces child I spent a number of formative years living in Germany, and the Christmas markets of Trier and Bernkastel are a lasting childhood memory I’d like her to have too.
We’re talking wooden huts quite literally decked with boughs of holly, sausages sizzling in great big pans and the unmistakable smell of mulled wine and sugared almonds wafting through the streets.
We weren’t sent on the trip for the purposes of review, I just thought you’d like to know about it because there’s still time to hop on a plane and sample it for yourselves.
Just 50 minutes after taking off from Gatwick (we flew with Easy Jet) you can find yourselves in Luxembourg, from where it is roughly a 30 minute car journey to Trier, one of the oldest cities in Germany on the banks of the Mosel river. We rented a bright and airy apartment in a town house in the city centre through airbnb, which at just a 5 minute walk from the city centre made a great base for exploring.
The city is also a great base for exploring other towns and villages along the river, including Bernkastel-Kues, a major winegrowing centre where gabled timer frame houses date from the 17th century. At Christmas the main square also boasts an advent calendar house, where each window is numbered and a great show is made of opening the relevant door every evening, and you can also find the largest nativity display in the Mosel (apparently).
If you’re up for a challenge you can also walk up to the Burg, the ruins of 9th Century Landshut castle, for a panoramic view over the Mosel (pictured). Although I wouldn’t recommend taking a pushchair, which you will have to drag up (also pictured – thanks dad).
But the best thing about it all is the food. And drink. Gluhwein – mulled red wine – comes as standard, as do potato pancakes with apple sauce, garlic mushrooms and fried potato and of course the obligatory bratwurst. Oh, and chocolate covered bananas.
So in the (highly) unlikely event you’ve got nothing on this weekend or next, why don’t you hop on a plane and see for yourself? Or make a note of it for next year. I highly recommend it…