CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH FORTE
Note: This article was originally published in 2013, but has been updated for the 2015 season. Enjoy!
Do you know the Glühwein drill?
First of all, Glühwein is a warm mulled wine. Traditionally it’s a red wine, but sometimes you can find weiss (white) Glühwein as well. It’s a staple of the Christmas markets. I happen to love it, but I’ve heard a crazy rumor that there are some who don’t care for it. There is also a non-alcohol version called Kinderpunsch (kid’s punch).
There are other drinks at the Christmas markets too. Eierpunsch is an egg-based drink with alcohol, similar to egg nog. Heiße Schokolade is hot chocolate. There is also another drink, which comes lit on fire: Feuerzangenbowle.
When you buy Glühwein at a Christmas market you are going to pay two prices: the price of the drink plus the pfand (deposit) for the mug. If you return the mug, you will get the pfand back, but if you want to keep the mug, you’ve paid for it. But why would you want to keep the mug?
Actually the mugs are actually pretty neat souvenirs! They are unique to the market and often say the name of the town and the year on them. Some are ceramic, some are clear glass, and some are stoneware or pottery. We’ve seen some with handles, others shaped like boots, tall mugs and short mugs.
In most places, the same mug is found throughout the market. You can pick up your mug from one vendor and take it to the next vendor for a refill or to turn it in for your pfand. Each vendor has a supply of the same mug. But that’s in most places – not Ludwigsburg!
If you collect the mugs you are in for either a jackpot or a conundrum if you visit the Christmas market in Ludwigsburg. Why? Because each vendor has their own mug! So the conundrum is either: which mug to choose, or how in the world will you drink that many drinks!?! How many mugs are we talking about? On our recent visit we counted over twenty different types of mugs just in the one Christmas market!
That is not all that impressed us at the Ludwigsburg Christmas Market. The market starts in the Marktplatz with two churches looking down at the square. But the market also spreads out into the nearby alleys and byways. There are over 170 booths and each had it’s own specialty.
The variety of vendors was especially impressive. At some markets there are repeats of similar booths, but not so here! We saw things offered here that we had never seen at any other markets: an antique dealer and a dollhouse outfitter that even had miniature Christmas pyramids! There were stands with African instruments or bowls made out of coconut shells. The traditional was not forgotten either: Lebkuchenherzen, carved ornaments, and star lanterns were all there along with the multitude of Glühwein stands.
Each evening at 1900 there is a show for the family at the stage in front of the larger church and at 1500 the show is especially for children. While we were there, it was a puppet show (all in German) and the children were enthralled! On the weekends there is an additional show at 1700. Many musicians set up temporary stands between the vendors booths as well.
So if you are on the hunt for Glühwein mugs, a unique gift, or place to spend a festive day, I’d suggest the Ludwigsburg Christmas market!
Tips For Your Trip:
November 24 until December 22nd, 2015
Daily: 11.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Untere Marktstraße 1,
71634 Ludwigsburg, Germany
We found plentiful and free weekend parking at the Forum am Schlosspark lots. Here is a link to available parking spaces in Ludwigsburg.