Winter in Europe-Part I- Frankfurt & Nuremberg

Tommy and I are off on another adventure! Winter has allowed me down time from farming and Tommy works remotely. The tiny house is wonderful in the warmer months but we thought a break from the daily would allow us to hit the reset button. After going back and forth over several locations on where we wanted to spend the winter we chose to start with Prague. Our criteria for choosing a location included very reliable  internet for Tommy to work, reasonably affordable living expenses, public transportation and somewhere we could bring our dog along. We aren’t sure how long we are going to be gone or where all we will go but we are starting in Prague from mid-December to mid-January and going from there.

Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Prague
We landed in mid-December in Frankfurt, Germany with all our belonging in two bags and our dog in tow. Our dog Pisgah was a champion and made the direct flight without a hitch. We booked our travel based on shortest travel time to make it as easy on the dog as possible. The flight was only about eight hours and was a super empty plane so we were able to get some sleep on the overnight flight.

We arrived in Frankfurt in the late morning and checked into our hotel. Later that afternoon we went to our Christmas market in downtown Frankfurt. Of all the Christmas markets we’ve been to over the last few weeks the Frankfurt was certainly my first and favorite one. In terms of visitor numbers and size, the Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany.  The scenic surroundings on the Römerberg and St Paul’s Square, the huge Christmas tree, the crowds gathered around tiny tables drinking Glühwein and the musicians playing on the high balcony of the cathedral combine to make it a magical sight.

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According to the Frankfurt tourism website the history of the market can be traced all the way back to 1393, however the addition of the Christmas tree didn’t come around until the 19th century.  The market is crowded with locals and tourists alike staying warm hulled around small standing tables drinking mulled wine, called Glühwein. Glühwein is made from red wine combined with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus, sugar and for an extra kick they offer additional shots of liquor to ward off the chilly night air. The scent of Glühwein fills the air throughout the streets and over the last two weeks smelling the vast amount of mulled wine spices I’ll surely never forget the smell.

After one night in Frankfurt we took the train to Nuremberg.  We arrived at the crowded Frankfurt train station and as we walked outside to take the dog out before the train ride Tommy says “where’s the dog?!” and I (with a lot of attitude) say “right here!” as I pull an empty collar up to my face. Confused Pisgah stood a few hundred feet back frozen as we do an about turn in panic and scooped him back up. A group of young boys laughed as they pass by us witnessing the scene. Needless to say I’m not 100% trusted to be in charge of the dog anymore. The train was a little less than three hours and was Pisgah’s first train ride. We had to keep him under the seat in a carrier and after fighting over the lack of space for a few seconds he embraced the small space as his. Nuremburg also has a world-famous Christmas market the, Christkindlesmarkt and has a festively decorated Old Town. Aside from the scent of
mulled wine the smell of gingerbread is all around and stall after stall offers their own specialty gingerbread.  Nuremburg is known for Nuremberg Lebkuchen a sweet and spicy gingerbread treat. 70 million are produced each year and have been baked for more than 600 years.  They are a soft and tasty treat that come in different varieties ranging from chocolate covered to almonds on top to coated in sugar.

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We spent two evenings exploring Nuremburg, visiting the market, wondering the old town streets and seeing the Nuremburg castle. We then headed to Prague on Saturday morning ready to check into our apartment rental. However, I pre-purchased tickets for the bus to Prague. The bus was cheaper and quicker than the train, but when we went to get on we were quickly told no dogs allowed. Rushing through the extremely crowded train station we purchased train tickets with two minutes to spare jumping on the train to Prague.

The last minute route we got tickets for had us doing two transfers and was a total of about 4.5 hours. We made our first transfer with no issues and settled in for the long ride until our next one. We were about to arrive at our next transfer location aIMG_5653nd check the clock and the station name to our tickets and they appeared to match so we jumped off. We were the only ones a train full of people at what was supposed to be a major transfer station and we were the only ones? Well turns out we were not at the right location and we were only figuring that out as the train pulled out of sight.
Tommy and I had the realization that we were not at the right station at about the same time and what went from a sort of complicated day turned into what felt like an episode of Amazing Race.

Taking an inventory of our surroundings we quickly realized we where in a small town next to the town we were supposed to get off. We gathered our luggage and the dog and took off towards what we hoped was the next town to find the train station. We had 45 minutes to make the transfer to get on the right train and a vague sense of direction about where we were going. The little town we spirited through had very little people around and no one to help point us in the right direction. So we just started jogging in the direction we felt was right. We ran with all our luggage and 40 minutes later found somewhere that was able to steer us within 1000 meters of the correct train station. We had minutes to make it and as we spirited into the train station with a minute to spare we saw our train getting ready to leave at the far end of the tracks. We got right up to the train as it took off in the direction of Prague leaving us behind. I would like to say I behaved nicely and took it in stride but well I didn’t. I was barely able to catch my breath and was yelling after the train to “stop, wait”! I freaked out it’s true. Tommy left me there by the tracks to collect myself and figure out a plan. As I was in the midst of a melt down Tommy comes back laughing telling there is another train about to leave for Prague and they leave all the time it is no big deal. We cross the tracks and find our comfy seats on the train to Prague. We had run over a mile through a little town  to another town in circles, up an down the hills all with our bags and a little dog knowing this winter was if nothing else going to be an adventure.

To be continued….

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Moritz says:

    So many amazing experiences! Frankfurt looks so different in winter. We’ve been there in summer (here’s what we did with many photos: http://traveluxblog.com/frankfurt-main/), but with all the Christmas Markets I’m sure it must be even more lovely in winter 🙂

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