After a brilliant day in colourful Tubingen, we decided to head over to Esslingen for what was supposed to be one of the best Christmas markets in town.
Esslingen is confusingly a city within the wider Stuttgart region (only ‘confusing’ because of the whole city within a city thing – in reality, it couldn’t be easier to get to. It’s literally just 20 minutes on a direct train from the city centre).
A short walk from the train station, you find the magnificent (and ginormous) Basilica, beckoning you towards it (we popped in briefly)…
…which is where you’ll also find the bustling market square.
We wasted no time in getting stuck into things, ordering up piping hot gluhwein to warm our cockles, while simultaneously wolfing down bratwurst at record speed.
The reason why Esslingen is really special goes beyond its cute timbered-house lined square and its fun Christmas market, nice as they are. The reason why its really special is because of its medieval Christmas market.
For all intents and purposes, it’s still very much like a Christmas market (they’ve still got piping hot gluhwein), but everything here feels like you’ve taken a step into the past.
The traders are dress in ‘Ye Olde’y get-ups and even the stuff for sale here (apart from the food perhaps) is very different.
It’s such a unique market and seeing as it’s right next to another cracking one, meant that you have no excuse not to visit, even if you prefer your market stalls lit by electricity, not candles. 😀
We proceeded to spend the next couple of hours wandering from stall to stall, stopping off to top up Gluhwein once the chill returning to our mugs reminded us of that they were running low and playing games at some of the stands.
We spent so much time here we ended up running late for dinner! (Again!)
Dinner this evening was at Gasthaus Bären that served up an utterly delicious tapas-esque mix of German and International food.
When you first step in, you’re welcomed with complimentary glasses of wine while you wait for your table to be ready (already quite a promising start).
Beckoned over to our table, we got stuck right in, ordering up some beers to start…
…swiftly followed by meatballs, maultaschen (remember when we made them here?) and some dumplings.
In typical style, Lloyd went for some goulash as well, while we got some spätzle, salmon and spicy potatoes to share.
We ended up eating so much that dessert was a struggle to even consider and so went finished up the evening with wintry cocktails in place of dessert.
With that, it was time to hit the hay!
This whole day had been proof of why it’s important to venture a bit further from the city centre sometimes – Tubingen and Esslingen had been such gems and had us definitely geared up even more so to see more Stuttgart and what lay outside of the city.