BMW, Mercedes or Porsche?

Ask someone about what is a really great German export and if they are ‘into cars’ they may well name one of the above…with apologies to Audi who I really should also have included on the list.

But cars are not unique and any proud Italian will counter this and reel off the names Ferrari, Lamborghini or Alfa Romeo and so on.

What Germany has cornered and no other country can match for both home markets and to export is the Christmas Market

And now in so many other European cities too with the warmth and ambience that is unique to these events. But they are at their best in their country of birth!

My first Christmas Market of this year was a couple of weeks ago in Dortmund.

..and it us hard to beat this one with its amazing centrepiece tree…made of 1000 individual trees!

However earlier this week I was in Dusseldorf and had the chance to visit their Weinachsmarket, spread across a large part of the Altstadt (Old Town).

And there amongst the Gluhwein, Bratwurst and beer……

..a new treat for me.

Crepes with Marzipan…

For someone who loves marzipan (as well as pancakes) Christmas really has arrived early for me 😁

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When I became an Elf…..

I first visited Germany at age eleven. Like many eleven year olds I wasn’t really captivated by continental European culture, gastronomic delicacies or really much at all that was on the ‘must do’ list for a visitor……..

My idea back then of how to spend summer holidays was about being out on my bike or playing with friends……

Furthermore I actually celebrated my birthday on that trip and was more than somewhat non-plussed to be told by numerous elderly couples (on reflection now, they were probably aged about 40) staying in our hotel when finding out my newly acquired age, “Ah you are now elf”. My knowledge of German, even basics such as numbers after 10 was very limited!

Wind the clock on a few decades and I have come to love the place. Indeed I actually work for a German employer now, but based out of home in the UK; I also have one branch of my extended family located there so my involvement and appreciation of the countries and the people is very regular and advanced.

What is best is the simplicity of many things and the approach to leisure.

By simplicity I mean the problem solving applied to every day challenges…..Oktoberfest is an amazing tradition.

As there are only for 4 weeks in October for this event , it needed to be longer …so now it actually starts mid September so it can last long enough!

And not to be outdone…the winter Christmas Markets with amazing things to eat and drink are just the same. Advent starts at the first Sunday in December …but in reality you will find people thronging to these events with these starting in mid November!!

And it’s not just food and drink.. there are very few pieces of German engineering thst have failed to impress me over the years ranging from Bosch power tools, to AEG domestic appliances and of course cars I have had both Audi and BMW and really nothing can surpass these.

Anything Germany cannot do….well really the only thing might be to produce a decent cup of tea!

…..but given time, even that may happen.