Remember in May, the big vegetable for sale at all the independent stalls was spargel or white asparagus? Well this time, it was fruit -- Fresh dates, persimmons, lychees from exotic locales. I forgot that you are not supposed to touch anything and got appropriately warned. So it can be hit and miss with the fruit you buy. My second batch of persimmons didn't ripen enough to eat before our trip was over.
I read that there are more than 24 Christmas markets in Munich alone. Many neighbourhoods have their own and some are known for such things as homemade toys, art etc. So you can spend many hours each day walking around to them and discovering new places to return to. Can you believe we managed to not find the one that was located on an island (Praterinsel)!
There were specialty Christmas markets too -- Medieval, Manger, Pink Christmas and Tollwood. The Tollwood Festival was a very special one. When you read the link, you'll understand why. The world can learn from them. We are planning to spend more time there when the opportunity arises again.
In the past we've always looked forward to our Dec trip to the ski condo. We felt that with the snow, the lights, the spirit, it gave us a real sense of Christmas. After spending a week in Munich touring the seemingly endless Christmas markets (and eating many roasted chestnuts), we now have a completely different definition of Christmas spirit whereas being out west gives us the best of winter.
In Munich we didn't see people all loaded up with purchases. Nor did we witness long line ups of people waiting to pay. On our last day we walked along one of the streets that housed very fancy stores (Maxmilianstrasse***) and even they weren't busy. I've been in Rome at Christmas time and cannot say that was the case along Via Del Corso.
Instead we saw people outside enjoying hot food and drinks with friends and family. We saw them strolling through the streets full of joy and being so very present to simple pleasures. In our opinion, a great reminder of what is really important.
(***Incidentally, we saw the single most expensive (non car) item for purchase at the Chopard window. A solitaire for 581K Euro! That window housed 6 rings for sale, all in the six figure range. Almost even more impressive, there were no security guards that we could see.)