Marktplatz at Sankt Wendeler OstermarktCenterpiece at entrance of Sankt Wendell Ostermarkt
We're back in the studio post-Easter Monday (Ostermontag) closing out the 40-day season leading up to Easter. The highlight of that time was the return of the outdoor markets that we missed so much when the Christmas season ended. If there's a reason to have a festival or market around here there seems to be a village, town or city more than willing to host one. Whether it's a chance to find that one-of-a-kind or "funky" item or get out and enjoy the elusive "sun" that struggles to come out from behind the clouds every spring, there's no shortage of reasons for heading out to the Ostermarkt on the weekend.
Sankt Wendeler Ostermarkt Street Stalls
Here’s the "Top 5" reasons we love German Easter markets:
1. The Decorations: Words that come to mind when we think of the decorations that market organizers and stall owners assemble and put up: simple, uncluttered, tasteful, intentional, whimsical, artistic, appealing, and detailed. We spent time looking at the strands of hand-painted Easter Egg ornaments hung in the middle of a plaza on a frame of green boughs. We spied the dioramas of Easter Bunny village life that mirrored life in the surrounding country villages. We even loved the multiple colors of ribbons tied to bare branches as they fluttered in the wind. And we couldn't resist taking home souvenirs to hang on our own willow branches and doors. Unfortunately, our first post-Easter project after writing this blog involves figuring out a way to safely store hollowed-out hand-painted eggs so they don't get crushed in the attic.
2. The Food: Admittedly, we were hungry when we arrived at each market (which always opened just before lunchtime or Mittagessen) so the aroma of every food stall--especially those baking bread or making meat--made our tummies rumble. Our hands-down favorite street food is flammkuchen (served with white wine, half-dry or halbtrocken). Think of pizza made on the grill but without being tied down to traditional sauces or toppings. Our favorite flammkuchen are made with fresh local cheese, onions, garlic, mushrooms, ham and a white sauce. We'll leave it to your imagination as to what would go well on your "grilled pizza":)
3. The People: It was crowded but it never felt uncomfortable or out of control. Not sure if it’s because everyone knew the expected behavior—not uncommon around here. Everyone seemed to just be gathering together for a nice family day out and no one seemed to be in any particular hurry. Another reason may be that the weather is finally getting a little milder here and if it's a Sunday the markets are one of the only places open to enjoy. For families with kids there seems to always be an activity or play area just for them and most people don't mind having kids around--and actually enjoy seeing them just be kids.
4. The Market Stalls: The first stalls we look for feature handpainted real eggs, porcelain eggs, ceramic eggs, wood eggs, etc. And then we start looking for stalls selling embroidered table runners and table cloths. We're pretty sure we now have linens for every season of the year. There are even more stalls every other type of holiday décor you can think of as well as fresh flowers and plants. It's really easy to get carried away with everything you can find here and end up getting more than you can figure out how to carry back to the car.
5. The Location: The church is the center of most places here as towns and villages built up around them. It also makes a striking backdrop for outdoor markets and an easy-to-spot rallying point when traveling in a group. Markets radiate from the church into adjoining streets, walkplatz, marktplatz, and sometimes a neighbor's garage, barn, or driveway. Once we're able to grab a parking spot we can walk for hours through a market without having to leave any of the action or cross traffic.
Sankt Wendeler Ostermarkt 2016Easter Decorations Above as Well as Below
If you haven't been out to one of these Easter markets yet, it's time to add it to your bucket list or on your itinerary when visiting Europe. If you have been to a market here, which one is your favorite?