Christmas Market At Spalt, Germany

Christmas..Well, the word Christmas brings a smile on almost everyone's it a theist or an atheist, be it for a christian or a non-christian..just because it brings you that quality family life, festive mood, vacation, et al things. And hey, not to forget the christmas presents. ;-)

I've always enjoyed Christmas since I was a kid, just because it was a public holiday..hehe..But this time around, I really felt the festive mood because I'm far-off from home, in a different country and where they celebrate Christmas in a grand way. Europe, with lots of history behind it, celebrates Christmas in a grand way. The place where I reside at the moment (Nuremberg) is one of the most famous places which boasts of a Grandiose Christmas market and other celebrations. Its known all over the Europe, for its huge, flashy and colorful christmas market, although some people (especially the locals around) dont prefer that as it gets real crowded sometimes. I aint much into this, but the festive mood and the thought of looking at something new, pushed me to go and look at that. I went there with some local friends of mine and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere. It was cold and cosy.

This blog article is not about Christmas Market at Nuremberg, as I didnt spend much time there and also didnt capture good enough pics to post it here. But we later decided to go to a christmas market at a small town, called Abenberg and then Spalt. Its indeed, at these places where you can see the not-so-touristy and typical christmas markets. It aint that far from Nuremberg. So, we drove to that place on Friday eve and were at that place in short time. Here are some pics from Abenberg:

After staying around that place for a while, we headed towards Spalt. It was just a couple of kms from that place. So, we reached that place in a few minutes. As we parked our car and walked by, we could see the crowd and the main street of that small town totally decorated and colorful. It was cold enough, but cosy and beautiful with all the lamps, candles, et al things. Believe me, its so cosy at this time of the year (although since some years, there wasnt much snow for the christmas). Also, there were shops setup on the pavement, selling sundry things. Here are some pics from Spalt:

Nordlingen - Germany

Nordlingen - A Bavarian Town In A Crater

Last weekend, I planned on going to Nordlingen in Germany, as I was invited for a lunch by a friend who lives in some village, which is close to Nordlingen. I was very much looking forward for this, because the person who invited me (and some other folks) told me that she's gonna cook some Indian delicacies. My mouth was already watering before starting off to that place (because its been ages since I'd some genuine Indian stuff).

Nordlingen is a small town in Bavaria state (Bundesland) of Germany. I was a bit interested in seeing this place because this place is said to be located inside a huge meteor crater, which was created 15 million years ago and has a diameter of 25 kms. Nordlingen is not exactly located at the centre of the meteor, but it is the largest city inside the crater. one more important thing is that Nordlingen is one among the only 3 walled medieval towns existing in Germany, apart from Rothenburg (which is also in Bavaria) and Dinkelsbuhl. Also, Nordlingen is on the 'Romantic Strasse(Road)' route, which is called so because it was a trade route during the middle ages and still retains much of its medieval character.

Nordlingen is around 80 kms from where I stay. I set off to Nordlingen at around 10 AM on Saturday and reached in 1 & 1/2 hrs. The weather was so good that day, that its an ideal day for doing outdoor things like swimming in the lake, biking, et al things. Here are some pics that I took on the way to Nordlingen:

After driving for a while, we were just a couple of kilometres away from the village, where we were invited for the lunch. At that moment, I could see a sign board which said that the meteor-crater starts from that point. I couldnt identify much difference, but I could notice that the soil was a bit different (which is obviously not a abrupt change) and I dont know if thats something related to meteor hitting that place. After that, we reached that village, called Minnendorf. One of things that I like about Germany is the general respect that people give for the country side (specially in Bavaria). Here are some pics from that village:

After that, we all speculated about different things, had lunch and went out for a short walk around that village. After we spent a couple of hours in that place, we drove around some places inside the meteor crater. There were a couple of places inside the boundary of the meteor crater, which were well-known in Germany, like 'Oettinger', where Oettinger brewery is located and also a famous monsatery at a place, the name of which I cant recollect. Here are some pics:

After that, we also drove a bit along the perimeter/boundary of the meteor crater and this is when I could clearly see the depth of the crater that was formed millions of years ago. Here are some pics (In these pics you can see the depth of the crater from the point I took the picture):

From the inside of the crater, the perimter of the crater just looks normal like any other hill around a town or village. After that we went to Nordlingen and looked around a bit. Nordlingen is a walled medieval town, which has 18 towers and 5 gates on the wall and are still in working condition. Also, Nordlingen boasts of a couple of famous churches and museums. Among the museums, the crater museum is the most famous one. This is where Apollo 16 astronauts trained in 1970. As a gift for hosting them, these astronauts gave a piece of 'moon rock' (I know about the controversy regarding the landing on the moon. So, I presume these astronauts got it from the expedition to the moon..haha). to this museum and so, if you happen to visit this museum, you can probably see that. Apart from that, there are lots of geological and planetary exhibits.

After that, we looked around the downtown and walked around some some narrow and typical streets, where I saw a lot of cute, old and well-preserved houses. I also looked at the Daniel church tower (which is a main landmark in Nordlingen), from where you can have a panoramic and great view of the meteor crater. Here's a pic that I shot:

I couldnt take many pics of Nordlingen, as my camera-battery was down and also because it wasnt really a touristic thingy that I did, but you can find loads of info and pics about Nordlingen, on the internet.

If you are interested in meteor craters and pics of Nordlingen, I would suggest you to google it with specific keywords and you will find loads of great info and pics. Also, here's a link from a fellow blogger, that has some great info and pics about Nordlingen and the crater:

Nordlingen And The Meteor Crater

My Stay In A Castle

Burg Rabenstein, Frankische-Schweiz - Germany

The last weekend, I had this oppurtunity to stay in one of those picturesque and remote castles in Frankische-Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland) part of Germany, near Erlangen (Headquarters of Siemens is located here). Also, on that weekend, there was some medieval fest and other things going on. What made it special is the fact that its not much touristic although this castle is on (or nearby to) the 'Castles-Road/Street' which runs from Mannheim in Germany to Prague in Czech Republic. I indeed know this part of Germany, very well, as one of my close German friend lives there and also a couple of other people that I got to know after coming to Germany. Infact my friend's brother got married in that castle.

This part of Bavaria is kind of, not so affected by tourism although there are lots of well-known places around. Its beautiful in all kind of seasons in its own way, although you can do much in summer time when its cosy enough to travel or do outdoor things.

We started from Nuremberg on Saturday eve and it took me 45 mts (or an hour) to reach that place. Here's a first glimpse of that castle:

The pic above looks like a postcard pic, with the castle located at the edge of the hill (on a rock) and in the middle of the woods. In Germany (specially in Bavaria), its very much balanced with nature and sophistication. Bavaria is very much urbanised (in a subtle and different way) and it looks like each and every village/town/city (or you can say inhabited places, in general) is 2 or 3 kms distant to each other and everything is well connected with all the roads and other public transport.

Here are some pics that I shot, when I reached that place:

Later, we checked into our respective rooms and looked around a bit. Here's some pics of the interior of the castle:

And here's some pics from inside the room:

After relaxing a bit and taking a shower, we went out to look at the Fire-Show at that medieval fest that was happening just outside the castle. Here are some pics from that event: (with a bit of blur)

After spending good amount of time there, we headed back to the castle. It was dark and spooky, although it wasnt that far off. Here are some pics:

After getting in, I went back to the room and dozed off. The next day, I woke up late and had breakfast with others, in the small-but-cosy hotel (not really a hotel). After that, I looked around a bit more of the castle as it was a bit dark, the night before and couldnt see much. Here are some pics:

And here are some pics that I took from the terrace of the castle:

After looking around, we went out to look at the medieval market that was happening just a couple of metres away from the castle. As far as I know, some people like these kind of things and some dont. For me, it was interesting anyways, as it was new and exciting (also because its kind of different culture and living). In this market, there were some stalls put up as shops and people were selling different kind of things. Here are some pics:

Also, there was some kind of small medieval rock concert thing happening. I've never heard much of medieval rock before, as it doesnt exist much in other countries. I guess Germany has good number of medieval rock bands and good number of people who dig that. Here's a pic of the stage setup for that:

And ..and..some more pics from the medieval market:

We were soon done looking around and then decided to walk or hike around a bit. We took the path which goes round the castle and walked/hiked for good enough time and kilometres. On the way, we also wanted to visit a couple of caves which were said to be millions of years old. Also, by walking/hiking around, I wanted to capture the castle in my camera, from different angles.

As we walked by, we saw a couple of people doing rock-climbing, camping and different sort of things as the weather was good enough to get away from the cities/towns. We then visited this cave which was said to be millions of years old. It was interesting for me, as I never saw this kind of cave. Somethings in the cave made me feel as if its a alien land or a alien breeding place (as shown in the movies..haha). Also, I appreciate the way its maintained by the people there. We werent supposed to touch those sticky things cause they have some micro-organisms (or parasites or whatever) that helps them be like that and grow. Here are some pics:

After looking around, we walked/hiked for good enough time along the round path which spans a couple of kilometres and reached back to the castle. Here are some gorgeous pics that I took of the castle, from different angles:

That was it, with this trip. For more pics, check the slideshow below (or check the photo album link) :