We arrived early at our last stop Frankfurt. We will have the day here and then fly out tomorrow. It is a rainy and cold morning when we set out. Passengers have a choice between a city tour and a market tour with tastings. Since Boris and I aren’t as interested in the modern city and the highlight is the view from a tower which is surrounded by clouds, we opted for the tasting tour.
Our first stop is for sausage-savory before sweet. The Frankfurt Christmas Market just goes on and on from square to square. A former female mayor had worked hard to balance the city budget and save money. The new mayor came in with a building program designed to restore the medieval look to portions of the city and depleted the funds. Building is still underway all around us. There was no question as to how our guide felt on the issue.
We saw lots of different food options here that hadn’t come up in the other markets-the french fries, hamburgers, and salsa all reflect an American influence. This market also features lots of seafood. It was believed that consuming fish prevented a hangover and allowed the patron to consume more alcohol. Belief disproved, they are still popular booths. Our next food stop was the wonderful nuts-spiced in a variety of ways.
As we came into the main square, we saw a wonderful traditional carousel. Our guide said they were originally part of a game of the nobility. The ladies raced to the carousel and whoever reached the single dark horse first had the attention of the Lord for the evening. This carousel still reflected that tradition with the beautiful white horses and a single dark one.
Our next treat was a cloud kiss filled with something like a marshmallow cream. The outside covering came in lots of different flavors, all of them chocolate. They were supposed to be wonderful.
At our next stop we tried my favorite made with marzipan (almond paste). The bethmaennchen was created for a local noble family with four almonds on the side reflecting the family’s four sons. When one of the sons died, the treat was redesigned with three almonds and is still made that way today. Yummy. I bought a bag to bring home and will definitely have to hide from Boris. (I am actually eating them as I type this post. Just thinking about them made me go grab the bag.)
Crossing the street, we saw Frankfurt’s version of the bridge of sighs. Our next treat was a wonderful donut. At this point I realized that Boris was not with the group. He reappeared, frankfurter in hand. It has been his mission to have one today.
The market just went on and on. We passed a dark Burger King and were told that a BK with health violations had been found, so they closed all of them, putting 4,000 people out of work at Christmas time. They are apparently pretty serious about the health code enforcement (or someone made someone mad).
When we reached the Galleria Mall, our tour was over. Our guide told everyone to just head downhill toward the river. Before winding back through the market, Boris and I stepped into the department store and had to find a suitcase so we could take all our purchases home with us. We each get two free 70 lbs bags so we are able to make purchase to bring home.
Going back through the market, this time we stopped at a few stalls and it was time for me to try the famous Frankfurt frankfurter. Boris spent the time arguing with the young man about Americans inventing the hotdog. I just wanted to try it. You could have the American version, as Boris did, the dog on a bun. I opted for the classic, two wieners on bread. To that I added mustard and crispy fried onions. Sauerkraut was another option. I think I made the right call; Boris can have his buns.
My final stop was near the entrance where I bought yet another felt hat. I love the unique hats here and buying gives me an excuse to travel to colder climates in the winter. Got to be able to wear them.
Back on board, we had to do our packing now that we have enough suitcases. I actually had a tough time getting everything into the two large and one medium rolling duffle bags. Part of the problem is that we needed so much stuffing for the delicate items we had bought. If you are coming to the Christmas markets, I recommend bringing along some bubble wrap.
I liked the River Queen, even better than the River Beatrice. I enjoyed the Juliet balcony on the Beatrice better, but the lighter colors on the Queen were nice with the dreary weather. I would say that last years itinerary offered more variety in the type of Christmas markets we visited, but the daily tours were good both times. Your first time out, just choose the locations that you prefer. I think we will continue with Uniworld with there all inclusive packages. As returning guests, we even got two bags of complimentary laundry, so we went home with a lot of clean clothes. I could have packed even less.
Sunday morning, we had a full breakfast and waited in the Lounge until our included transfer was called. It was a quick trip to the airport and we have a direct flight back to Houston from Frankfurt on United. It has been a fabulous trip.