Traveling with Americans who live in Germany is different in a lot of ways. We spend most of our nights at home base, where everything is in English; we speak it, read it, eat it. It’s almost as if the house is a tiny American state existing independently from the rest of Europe. Stepping out the front door transports us back into Germany faster than any flight, forcing our brains to switch back into traveler mode. This switch-swatching of the traveling brain is quite the phenomenon, not a thing I would recommend or avoid, it just is what it is. We have paid $0 for lodging, in fact, the biggest expense of this trip beyond our airplane tickets and Christmas gifts has been wine. Drink that down for a moment.
In a previous post, I wrote about the weird rest stop in France and wanted to clarify something. That post may have given the impression that European bathrooms are gross or worse than what we have in the states when quite the opposite is true! Most of the time, there is a .50 or 1€ fee for using a restroom or WC. These bathrooms are generally cleaned multiple times throughout the day, as opposed to US bathrooms that are free but only cleaned once per day and become nasty pretty quick. Ask Brianna about her public restroom experience in the Smoky mountains visitor center.
Mainz Christmas market was selected as today’s destination out of respect for how much we will be traveling in the next few days. Mainz is only a couple train stops away from Wiesbaden, all of the other options involved 1+ hours of driving. Flexibility is the most important merit badge a wanderer can earn, else you live in eternal dismay and regret, be it trail or train.
Brianna and I have been through Mainz Hbf on several occasions but hadn’t been into the city proper until today. There were about five or six Christmas market booths just outside the train station, with the larger market requiring a fifteen minute walk into the city center.
Today’s was our fifth Christmas market and easily the smallest. We did the normal slow sipping warm wine walk, making it from end-to-end in only two refills. Distance measured by alcohol consumption is a real tool and has been adopted by more countries than the Imperial system. Mainz had two different glühwein cups, a clear glass w/local design and a brown ceramic, we collected both.
The most memorable feature of the Mainz Christmas market was probably the semi-secluded drinking area just off the path from all the normal booths. Hobbit sized wine barrel shaped booths encircled an open fire with its own bench seating. We spent as much time drinking and chatting in this area as we did looking around the actual market.
At the end of the day, most of the trinkets sold at these markets are the same as the other markets. Then again, what do I know? I shop for beer, wine, sausage, and chocolate. So, if you’re hoping for a Marty gift, don’t be surprised when it’s chocolate.
We are really excited for our next and last Christmas market, Dresden!