A christmas market at the upper-bavarian farmhouse museum
As a kid, once a year my parents would take my brother and me on a “Germany-vacation” exploring one of Germany’s 16 Bundesländer at a time (though we only made it through Sachsen, Hamburg, Thüringen and Schleswig-Holstein). In retrospect I’m not sure whether we actually dreaded those trips or just we slightly annoyed about our dad dragging us to all those places where he’d talk about our ancestors, their professions and relations, for hours. There are a few events form those trips though that I still vividly and excitedly remember – like a museum where we got to build and arch learning about the principle of a corner stone and to grind our own flour using rounded rocks.
If I learned one things there it’s that museums can be pretty cool!
Today my favorite type of museum is probably the open air (farm) house museum full of relocated old buildings. Granted, being a civil engineer and a historic building enthusiast I’m somewhat partial towards open air farm house museums… But isn’t it so much more thrilling to be ducking through small door openings than reading that people used to be shorter?
In Bavaria there’s a bunch of them strewn across all Regierungsbezirke, from Ruhpolding to Fladungen.
Now, I find find them pretty sweet on a regular day. But how about a christmas market nestled inbetween the little hamlets of an alpine Freilichtmuseum, snow on the surrounding hills, a hot steaming Glühwein or spiced apple cider in your hands?
Not surprising, I jumped right at it when my friend suggested we’d drive out to the Christkindlmarkt at Glentleiten, a 45min drive outside Munich on the last weekend in November.
The christmas market at Glentleiten turned out to be one of the prettiest markets I’ve seen! Usually markets are crammed onto the town squares, a big pile of stalls selling similar things over and over again. At Glentleiten, the stalls are tucked into the individual hamlets that make up the museum. Some set up in barns, others in the cosy living rooms of the farm houses. We stumbled upon traditional bavarian chamber music and squeeze into the heated Stubn to warm up a little.
A painter had set up in a granary and a few paintings were set up outside under the apple trees. Next door the local bakery had fired up the old wood stove and was baking dark crusted sourdough bread. Farther on an old wood carver had set up shop in the living room in one of the outlying farm houses.
The buildings themselves, their furniture and their stories had become the stage for this rather romantic, wintery outing.
Despite the relatively large crowd that flocked to the market that day, it rarely felt overcrowded (unless you tried to sneak around a few stalls set up in the already tight ground floor indoor spaces). Since the museum’s own parking is quite limited, they set up parking at the nearby Landgestüt Schwaiganger and ran a shuttle service, which was advertised as running every ten minutes but really as soon as one bus left the next one already pulled in again. There was a entry fee for the market which I find fair considering that you do get to see almost all of the exhibits as well.
We had the baby strapped on in the carrier which was a good choice – bringing the stroller would have been such a hindrance with so many of the stalls being inside different buildings.
If you feel like getting into the christmas feeling without all the hype and rush, this is your market!