Arriving on a Saturday morning in Ettlingen, we found it was Market Day. We walked along the street, through the Town Hall Gate and into the market place where all the stalls were. Lots of fresh food for sale, plants & flowers and some other stuff as well.
NO need to worry about cars either, as quite a few roads leading to the marketplatz are PEDESTRIAN ONLY.
Ettlingen's Christmas market is named Sternlesmarkt (little stars market). It opens on the Thursday before the first Advent Sunday (Nov 24 in 2011) and stays open beyond the Christmas holidays until Dec 28 (closed in the afternoon of Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day). The market takes place in the old and new market square, in front of the baroque town hall.
The setting is quite nice and pleasant. The market is not very big, though. Some artisans and shops from the town have their stalls there, otherwise it's food and drink and the usual knickknack.
To be honest, it's not worth going to Ettlingen for the Christmas market alone. However, if you want to visit the old town and see some of its sights, the market is a pleasant addition.
Glühwein is served in little ceramic boots (photo 5).
It's carnival season again. Kronenstraße, the main street in the old town quarter north of the river, is decorated with the flags of the town's jester guilds - and pieces of laundry. But no, the neighbours aren't using the lines that hold the flags to dry their washing, although this might be a good idea...
Decorating the streets with laundry pieces, preferably underwear, even more preferably old-fashioned underwear, for Fastnacht is in fact a common custom in the villages and towns around the Black Forest.
We areon the edge of the Alemannic Fastnacht region. Some villages around Karlsruhe have it, others don't. In most cases it is a rather young acquisition. In most places the carnival involves a lot of Rhineland style with few Alemannic groups
Among the few entirely Alemannic parades in the region, the night parade in Spessart deserves a honourable mentioning. Spessart is officially part of the municipality of Ettlingen but a separate village up in the hills, 5 kms from the town.
In the 1980s a handful of people founded the carnival guild "Spessarter Eber" (Spessart Wild Boar), guess what their Häs depicts. The guild grew quickly. Their main event is the night parade which takes place on Carnival Friday, beginning 19:33. This year they had some 50 groups participating.
How to get there? Don't try by car, the roads will be closed. Take the free shuttle bus from Ettlingen station. Buses run every 10 minutes on that day. Easy, at least in theory.
The problem: At the end of the parade we would have needed five buses at once but they came one by one. Due to the vicinity to the big city of Karlsruhe, many youngsters (who have no idea what Fastnacht is) come to just drink and party. Masses of more or less drunk teens and twens are not funny. Boarding the buses was a fight, they needed the police to get through. **shakes head**
As is the tradition of many German towns Ettlingen hosts a Christmas market every year selling off course Gluhwein which will certainly keep you warm. Some stalls have their own special mug which you can buy for about 2 Euro.
I must have had a drink already when taking the picture of Holger.
Every year there is a small but lively Christmas market in the center of old town. It features a carrousel for the small ones as well as toy train rides. You can drink a whole variety of Gluehwein and eat a bratwurst or crepe or wafer. I had a very long yummy bratwurst that fell into bits, so it wasn't very photogenic anymore.
The "Sternlesmarkt" is the Christmas market in Ettlingen. Like other Christmas markets, it is open from end of November until December 27 - so even after the Holidays you can still enjoy it. Ít is right in front of the Ettlinger Rathaus (town hall).
Every summer there are the 'Ettlinger Schlossfestspiele' - a festival mostly open air, that shows musicals, dramas and comedy in nearby Ettlingen!
The picture shows this year's musical 'Hair' open air in front of the Ettlingen palace - a real adventure!
Every year there is a carnival night parade in Spessart, a village near Ettlingen. It takes place on the last friday before Ash Wednesday and starts at 19.11 h.
In 2004 was the first time, that we ever went there and boy, was it an adventure!!! It is so much fun to see the groups and bands parade down hill, some with torches, others you hear more than you see them - and hundreds, thousands of visitors...
There is a free shuttle bus service from Ettlingen Stadt station to Spessart - from 18.00h until 1.00 at night!
For more impressions, please do have a look at my travellogue!
Not so much a local custom but a VT custom. This is the obligatory photo shoot with 2 black umbrellas and green scarf bought in the Euro shop.
Ettlingen citizens are told exactly what's allowed and what is a "no no". Here is a kid's playground with no entry for dogs, bikes etc.