Just a quick 30 minute train ride south of Hamburg is the adorable city of Lüneburg. Taking advantage of a beautiful afternoon, Ellie and I decided to visit on the second Advent Sunday for their special medieval Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market). Going to small German villages is quite easy. You pick a destination, hop on the train, and then once you arrive, everything worthwhile is easily within walking distance. Our first stop was at their Wasserturm (water tower). We took the elevator straight up to the top to get a view of the city. It was quite beautiful looking down at the rooftops and churches from above, but our pictures left something to be desired – they had erected some huge Christmas light candles around the perimeter and it was impossible to get a good shot without them in the foreground. It was still a lovely view. On our way down, we managed to accidentally stumble upon some sort of meeting on the second floor and quickly backed out and back into the elevator. Ah, always encountered awkward situations around the world.
Just at the base of the Wasserturm is the St. Johannis Church which had it’s own small Christmas market right in front of it’s main entrance. The church is quite beautiful with a huge, ornate organ inside. We treated ourselves to some glühwein, since it was 11:58 am and we had already waited long enough. Ellie and I thought it was quite a nice set-up by the church. After a long sermon, people can go a few steps outside to glühwein and snacks – everyone is happy!
As we walked along, we saw cute little huts, each named after different fairy tales, with a depiction inside of each tale. Some were still, while others were animated. The trail is called the Fairy Tale Mile and was a cute discovery on our way to various Christmas markets.
Through the adorable and narrow winding roads we came upon the St. Michaelis Weihnachtsmarkt, which is a special market only on the second Advent Sunday, that is a medieval market. Workers are dressed up in historical clothing and it’s made to look almost like a medieval market would have hundreds of years ago. Ellie and I ate maroni (roasted chestnuts) and bratwurst and warmed up our toes inside the cathedral.
Dethawed, it was time to see the Rathaus Weihnachtsmarkt, the main Christmas market of Lüneburg. I enjoyed an After Eight (hot chocolate with peppermint liquor) while Ellie had another glühwein. It was absolutely packed by the time we left around sunset – people enjoying the perfect, clear evening. We fit in some great people watching while we feasted on crepes. The market had a small little train that children could ride (and I secretly wanted to, as well). But sadly, there was no time for children’s train rides, it was time to catch our big train back to Hamburg.
Lüneburg was a beautiful small town that I would happily return to even when the Weihnachtsmarkt are long gone. It was a cozy way to spend a relaxed Sunday afternoon.