In an effort to deliver you some new voices on Ottsworld, here’s a visitor publish 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 photographs listed here are hers. – Sherry O.
Within the picture-book village of Seiffen, Germany, the place the nutcracker was born, it’s Christmas daily. 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 bunch 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?
Referred to as 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 showcase festive vacation colours and avenue 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 way 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 a whole bunch 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 abilities 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 normal miners greeting used to specific a want for good luck to employees heading into the mine.
In Seiffen, we parked the car and strolled by way of the simply walkable city, an actual neighborhood with a bakery, daycare heart, publish workplace, and small church. Locals greeted each other and mentioned hi there to us as effectively.
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, at present the lodge and restaurant is family-run and alluring. Lace curtains, and wood arches adorned with tiny lights to represent the miners’ starvation for mild, create a standard environment.
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 observe as employees drilled, painted, carved, and lovingly created the enduring wood dolls. And to buy. Tons of and a whole bunch of nutcrackers of all sizes, shapes, and types, line the partitions. With the entire wood pyramids and arches lit up, the store glows.
Childhood Reminiscences of Christmas
Seeing a nutcracker introduced again recollections as a toddler 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 Avenue, which I may 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’d fastidiously take away the nutcracker from its field and examine its humorous nostril, pink uniform, and gold crown.
Historical past of the Nutcracker
The small wood 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 through the desert course, which included pecans and hazelnuts.
Nutcrackers Recognition in America
Nutcrackers turned fashionable within the U.S. within the Nineteen Fifties when troopers coming house from World Battle II, introduced the collectible figurines house with them.
I used to be delighted to see one colleague, after cautious deliberation, contemplating what every of her family members would love, come away with a bag filled with 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 shapes and sizes. Subsequent, is the shaping, when the wooden is placed on a high-speed cutter, adopted by hand-turning, an historic craft that includes the flip of a hand to create the sleek elements from a wood block. Dolls are then polished and drilled, primed and sprayed, and at last hand-painted.
No machine may take the place of the craftsman who creates the toy troopers – every with its personal persona, whimsical expression, and distinctive attraction.
At this time, artisans create many variations of the nutcracker, together with skiers, canines, docs, and personalities, together with an Angela Merkel figurine. There’s even a discount 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 elements of Saxony, it has the nice and cozy really feel of a neighborhood church. Right here, a tight-knit neighborhood gathers; lanterns and wood crosses depict the mining heritage of the city.
Wood 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 street is the Erzgebirge Toy Museum of Seiffen, an open-air museum, the place guests wander by way of properties organized the best way they have been within the 1700s. Buildings have a bed room, kitchen, and a room the place homeowners saved their animals. A woodworker demonstrates his craft in a store setup the best way it might have been centuries in the past. On the day we visited, kids 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, recognized for its particular Ore Mountains Christmas meal. The normal “neunerlei” feast which originated from the normal miner’s household Christmas Eve menu is made up of 9 totally different dishes, served in a single platter. Every dish symbolizes a want.
Our server explains that the lentils imply “blessings and slightly cash; the celery salad is for fertility. Sausage is for energy and lengthy life; dumplings are for large cash, pink cabbage is for harvest and the pink 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 folks, lots of whom had German roots.
Tasting the flavors of my youth introduced again recollections of gatherings and heat emotions. The mom of my closest good friend baked plum kuchen in her cozy nation kitchen for particular events, and my dad made spicy sausage for neighbors, mates, 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’m 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 toddler.
Touring to Germany – What You Must Know
Finest useful resource: Saxony Tourism
The village of Seiffen, whereas a widely known city in Germany, may very well 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 few of the web sites for outlets are in German solely, making the realm much more compelling to go to. Probably the most dependable and up-to-date useful resource is Saxony Tourism.
Due to Covid-19, there are additional steps to take to enter and depart Germany in addition to throughout your keep. Previous to your flight to Germany, passengers should full a type which the airline will present and current earlier than check-in. You’ll be requested to supply proof of vaccination earlier than being allowed into galleries, museums, eating places, and resorts. A replica isn’t acceptable. A unfavorable COVID take a look at is required 72 hours previous to departure from the nation.
Meet the Writer: 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 pink wagon and took off for an journey— across the block. At this time, she continues to meet her journey bug tendencies, exploring and writing about her experiences.
Sherry Spitsnaugle’s journey was hosted by Saxony Tourism, nonetheless all opinions expressed listed here are her personal.