When we chose Stuttgart as our destination for visiting Christmas markets in Germany, we started to look around and read about the nearby markets and what they had to offer. We chose to visit the Esslingen market, as it included a medieval portion complete with games and activities for the kids, and old-school medieval decor and gifts.
The town was just a 15 minute tram ride from Stuttgart, and the walk through this quaint little town was really lovely. The front part of the market was similar to a regular German market, with lots of food stalls, loads of sweets, and decor.
We started to notice the mass-produced stuff, which I guess I hadn’t expected (though maybe I should have?) and it’s still often very lovely, but it definitely was apparent as being some of the same stuff we’d seen in Stuttgart. However, there were still many stalls with lovely handmade items and unique gifts. There were also loads of wool socks, which I also hadn’t expected, but I guess that’s smart, and great if your tootsies were cold! 😉
After exploring around, and the kids eating a giant cone of zuckerwatte (cotton candy — bonus, no food colouring here, it was white as snow!) we came to the medieval part of the market. The vendors were all dressed in suede robes or rags, draped and belted. The stalls were tents, and the decor was subdued. The food was quite different – bread on a stick, buns slit in half and stuffed with amazing spiced meat, and other such deliciousness.
The kids had so much fun in the children’s part of the medieval market. There were all sorts of games set up, like skittles, axe tossing, darts, catapults, and egg toss (trying to break a hard-boiled egg resting in a log by throwing a heavy metal ball at it – much harder to do than Oliver was expecting!). It was great fun and everyone really got into their roles.
The highlights for the kids were the hand-cranked ferris wheel (which actually went at a pretty good clip!) and the fire dancers at the end of the night.
We really loved visiting the Esslingen market. On the whole, it was quite different from what we’d seen in Stuttgart, and beautifully lit and decorated.
One more market to go – I’ll be back with a peek at the Ludwigsburg market visit soon!