There’s nothing like having someone visit a city that you love to make you determined to prove how amazing it is, and so when BFF Adam came to stay, I endeavoured to find the best and brightest that Munich and its surroundings have to offer. When it comes to finding that festive feeling, Augsburg is the place to go, just a quick 30-minute train ride from Munich itself.
Confusion about German train tickets (that system seriously needs improving) meant that we rushed through the city from the train stop, screeching to a halt every 10 metres to take pictures of the spectacular lights on every corner, so that we got to the main square in time to see Augsburg’s most unique attraction. On the windows of the Rathaus above the shining streets of Christmas stalls, windows open to reveal child angels with cherubic curls and beaming smiles, and a balcony is filled with musical angels bearing harps and trumpets. The music continues for 10 minutes, with the angelic faces beaming down at the gathered crowds below. It’s only when the music fades away and the angels withdraw that all hell breaks loose.
Half the group gathered in the square below want to escape the deathly cold, yet half are still keen to peruse the market itself, specifically the wealth of food stands at the front. The result? No one can move for at least five minutes as everyone tries to shove and shuffle their way through the hundreds of people in their way. Introduce families with buggies into the mix (of which there were plenty) and you have utter bedlam. All I could do was grab Adam’s rucksack and hope he knew where he was taking us.
Luckily his sense of direction turned out all right, and we wandered the streets of the market, which gradually relaxed from stiflingly busy to merely crowded, allowing us to finally take in and enjoy the stalls and sights around us. Each row was given its own name: Nikolausstrasse, Adventstrasse – each sparkling sign added to the festivities.
The huge Christmas tree in the middle was surrounded not only with the traditional German bar, but also with huts showing different fairytales, and even a Christmas post office where you could send off your requests to Santa.
Projected windows high above the market on the left reveal the square’s very own advent calendar, each day bringing with it a new picture to be revealed to the city. Every street radiating out from the market was festooned with Christmas lights – even McDonald’s was dripping in twinkling bulbs. Our trip to Augsburg treated me to easily the most festive place I’ve been this year, if not ever. This truly was the city of Christmas.