In an effort to convey you some new voices on Ottsworld, here’s a visitor put up from author Sherry Spitsnaugle. I met Sherry S at a Denver occasion and came upon that she was a journey author! So not solely does she have a cool title, however she additionally has a approach with phrases! All opinions, experiences, and pictures listed here are hers. – Sherry O.
Within the picture-book village of Seiffen, Germany, the place the nutcracker was born, it’s Christmas day-after-day. Like Santa’s workshop, the busy retailer the place they make the beloved toy soldier hummed with employees drilling, carving, and portray the collectible figurines offered around the globe.
In late October, I traveled with a gaggle of writers to discover the historical past, tradition, artwork, and delicacies of the state of Saxony; the charming village of Seiffen, inhabitants 4,000, was a spotlight.
The place is Seiffen Germany?
Often called the Christmas capital of Germany, Seiffen sits nestled within the coronary heart of Saxony’s Ore Mountains – that are extra like hills than mountains. Retailers exhibit festive vacation colours and road lamps with phrases like “Silent Nacht” glow on each nook.
Attending to Seiffen takes dedication and planning as a result of the comfy little berg is considerably distant and isn’t near a prepare station or the autobahn. However driving alongside winding roads by means of hills and hamlets is half the enjoyable.
From Mining to Carving
Seiffen’s roots are within the mining business, which is how villagers made their residing tons of of years in the past. However by the late 1600s, silver and tin have been diminishing, and miners needed to discover different methods to help themselves. They turned their wood-carving expertise right into a viable residing, and the business nonetheless thrives.
Wolfgang Gärtner, with Saxony Tourism, defined that locals right here greet each other with the phrase “Glück auf,” the standard miners greeting used to precise a want for good luck to employees heading into the mine.
In Seiffen, we parked the car and strolled by means of the simply walkable city, an actual neighborhood with a bakery, daycare middle, put up workplace, and small church. Locals greeted each other and stated whats up to us as properly.
The place to Keep and Eat in Seiffen Germany
Buntes Haus, a lodge and restaurant which is an establishment in itself, welcomes vacationers from around the globe. Constructed 480 years in the past as a probate courtroom, right this moment the lodge and restaurant is family-run and welcoming. Lace curtains, and picket arches adorned with tiny lights to represent the miners’ starvation for mild, create a standard ambiance.
On the menu was typical fare: fire-roasted char filet with pumpkin chutney and parsley potatoes, adopted by Saxon tiramisu – a bitter cream mousse, blackberry with crumble of Christmas stollen. And sure, beer.
Christmas Each Day
After lunch, we walked a few blocks to Seiffener Volkskunst to look at as employees drilled, painted, carved, and lovingly created the enduring picket dolls. And to buy. Tons of and tons of of nutcrackers of all sizes, shapes, and kinds, line the partitions. With the entire picket pyramids and arches lit up, the store glows.
Childhood Reminiscences of Christmas
Seeing a nutcracker introduced again reminiscences as a baby rising up in a small German neighborhood of western Kansas.
As soon as my father retrieved the Christmas field from the attic that held shiny ornaments and cherished treasures, my sibling and I knew it wouldn’t be lengthy earlier than the thrill of the season would arrive. This meant no faculty, constructing snowmen, and gazing on the 40-foot Christmas tree lit up on Fundamental Road, which I might see from my bed room window only a block away.
Our mom instructed us to make use of care with the “breakable” ornaments, handed down from generations; we knew to obey. I might fastidiously take away the nutcracker from its field and examine its humorous nostril, purple uniform, and gold crown.
Historical past of the Nutcracker
The small picket determine has a wealthy historical past, relationship again to the late 1800s, when Friedrich Wilhem Füchtner of Seiffen, created a soldier sporting a crown which regarded like a miner’s hat.
Legends say that the small troopers guarded the home and guarded its residents from evil spirits. Eating customs of the time included nutcrackers used throughout the desert course, which included pecans and hazelnuts.
Nutcrackers Reputation in America
Nutcrackers grew to become in style within the U.S. within the Fifties when troopers coming dwelling from World Conflict II, introduced the collectible figurines dwelling with them.
I used to be delighted to see one colleague, after cautious deliberation, contemplating what every of her family members would really like, come away with a bag full of treasures for Christmas presents. The items aren’t solely heartfelt and distinctive, however shopping for them helps the people who find themselves dedicated to creating this masterfully made piece. Along with the nutcracker, many ornaments are hand-crafted in Germany and have a cherished positioned in properties around the globe.
How Genuine German Nutcrackers are Made
The method to create these artworks is elaborate.
First, the wooden is lower into particular styles and sizes. Subsequent, is the shaping, when the wooden is placed on a high-speed cutter, adopted by hand-turning, an historic craft that entails the flip of a hand to create the graceful components from a picket block. Dolls are then polished and drilled, primed and sprayed, and eventually hand-painted.
No machine might take the place of the craftsman who creates the toy troopers – every with its personal character, whimsical expression, and distinctive appeal.
Right now, artisans create many variations of the nutcracker, together with skiers, canines, docs, and personalities, together with an Angela Merkel figurine. There’s even a cut price part on the store which provides seconds that supposedly have imperfections, though the figures regarded flawless to me.
Don’t miss all of those different issues Made in Germany by taking this Germany Street Journey!
Different Websites in Seiffen Germany
Sitting on the high of the hill overlooking the village is the Octagonal Church. Whereas the pale yellow church doesn’t have the splendor of cathedrals in different components of Saxony, it has the nice and cozy really feel of a neighborhood church. Right here, a tight-knit neighborhood gathers; lanterns and picket crosses depict the mining heritage of the city.
Picket dolls maintain candles close to the doorway to the church and there’s a picturesque cemetery in again. Eight columns help the dome.
Toy Museum – A Step into the Previous
Down the highway is the Erzgebirge Toy Museum of Seiffen, an open-air museum, the place guests wander by means of properties organized the best way they have been within the 1700s. Buildings have a bed room, kitchen, and a room the place house owners stored their animals. A woodworker demonstrates his craft in a store setup the best way it could have been centuries in the past. On the day we visited, youngsters skipped alongside the paths, within the idyllic nation setting.
Conventional Ore Mountains Christmas Meal
From Seiffen, we traveled to the city of Annaberg-Buchholz (an enthralling place with a candy love story) for dinner at Zum Neinerlaa, identified for its particular Ore Mountains Christmas meal. The normal “neunerlei” feast which originated from the standard miner’s household Christmas Eve menu is made up of 9 completely different dishes, served in a single platter. Every dish symbolizes a want.
Our server explains that the lentils imply “blessings and somewhat cash; the celery salad is for fertility. Sausage is for energy and lengthy life; dumplings are for giant cash, purple cabbage is for harvest and the purple beet salad is for magnificence.” Particular person dishes could fluctuate from household to household, however the locals protect the customized.
Don’t neglect the German Stollen for Christmas!
Dumplings and Christmas Reminiscences
The duck was too wealthy for me, however the dumplings took me again to what my household ate at neighborhood church dinners in my hometown of 2,000 individuals, lots of whom had German roots.
Tasting the flavors of my youth introduced again reminiscences of gatherings and heat emotions. The mom of my closest pal baked plum kuchen in her cozy nation kitchen for particular events, and my dad made spicy sausage for neighbors, associates, and household at Christmas.
After dinner, I texted a picture of nutcrackers to my great-niece in Colorado. Sammy responded, “Auntie, subsequent time can I am going with you?”
I smiled and thought to myself that the one factor higher than visiting the Christmas capital of Germany could be to expertise this enchanting village with a baby.
Touring to Germany – What You Must Know
Finest useful resource: Saxony Tourism
The village of Seiffen, whereas a well known city in Germany, could possibly be thought of off-the-beaten-path for vacationers from the U.S. or different nations. In Seiffen, you’ll not hear English spoken as a lot as within the main cities of Germany. Even a number of the web sites for retailers are in German solely, making the realm much more compelling to go to. Essentially the most dependable and up-to-date useful resource is Saxony Tourism.
Due to Covid-19, there are further steps to take to enter and depart Germany in addition to throughout your keep. Previous to your flight to Germany, passengers should full a kind which the airline will present and current earlier than check-in. You may be requested to supply proof of vaccination earlier than being allowed into galleries, museums, eating places, and accommodations. A duplicate shouldn’t be acceptable. A unfavorable COVID take a look at is required 72 hours previous to departure from the nation.
Meet the Creator: Sherry Spitsnaugle, guidebook writer, journey author, spouse and canine mother, first expressed her urge to discover at age 4 when she packed up her little purple wagon and took off for an journey— across the block. Right now, she continues to meet her journey bug tendencies, exploring and writing about her experiences.