Es ist Weihnachten! Ding dong merrily on high! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Oh yes, Christmas comes early to our humble South coast home away from home with the annual German Christmas market and it is back with a blast this year.
For some that know me – I am quite fond of our Germanic cousins across the North Sea. I lived in Germany over the summer of 2013 until late September and I was able to experience the joys of seasonal festivities as the Germans do; with their summer fairs and other celebrations. So for me, coming to Southampton was made all that little bit more special when last semester I discovered they hosted a German Christmas market.
The market itself takes up a fair part of the Above Bar high street and here is where you’ll find the beer gardens serving a wonderful mix of German pilsner in traditional stein glasses, hot malted wine and cider and my personal favourite, hot schokolade und Amaretto (to purchase any of these drinks you will need ID).
But that’s not all; if you’re feeling peckish there are many stalls serving different foods, from Paella to some wonderful German dishes like Bratwurst and Schnitzel with a delicious remoulade sauce. However, if you lean more towards the sweeter side of things there are also sweet treats being served such as huge bags of candy floss, schokolade and cookie hearts.
The market this year came as quite an improvement from last year, where it felt somewhat gimmicky with the usual arts and craft stalls and cheap market vibes that just happened to serve alcohol but this year everything is bigger, better and certainly more Christmassy, with the nightly appearance of Santa Claus and the live music.
For anyone who lives or studies in or is just visiting Southampton at this time of year, you should venture down to experience a lovely and affordable night out with the German Christmas market and its wonderful staff whom hail from Lower Saxony just above the city of Osnabrück – which to my delight is incredibly close to where I was staying when I was in Germany!
The Market is now very much an annual expectance for Southampton – but due to its popularity, it is very busy a lot of the time, especially after 5pm. However, don’t let the crowds stop you from enjoying this wonderful cultural microcosm of European flavour. Even with Black Friday sales on, and the streets ever busy, come down and treat yourself with a stein of German beer (or three) and maybe even find a gift for a loved one this Christmas season.
With all the goings on in Southampton this holiday season the German Christmas market has for sure got my thumbs up!
By Tobias Anson Palma