Joy to the world
It’s Christmas time
Let earth receive its blessings!
Christmas was in the air with the scents of freshly baked gingerbread, spiced cider, and sizzling sausages as I strolled the Christmas market of the 2000 year old city of Kempten, Germany. Seasonal decorations adorned the shops and walkways and there were plenty of visitors enjoying the festive mood despite the low December temperatures. But anticipating the cold we were bundled up for an afternoon of exploring the inner city of the capital of the oldest “urban settlement” in Germany.
Kempten is located in Southwest Germany in the Allgäu region of Schwabia along the Iller River. It is about an hour’s drive away from Bregenz. And it has a glorious history boasting both Celtic and Roman roots and was first mentioned by the Greek geographer Strabon in 50 BC by its former name Cambodunum. Around 700 AD the monastery Kempten Abbey was built by the influential Benedictine monks Magnus von Füssen and Theodor from the Abbey of Saint Gall in nearby Switzerland. It was the first in the region and grew to be the most influential in the Frankish Kingdom. The church unfortunately suffered from invasion by the Magyars and the Thirty Years War and had to be rebuilt in 1652 becoming the new St. Lorenz Basilica. The highlights in the city include the Archaeological Park Cambodunum and the interactive underground chapel called the Erasmuskapelle.
The Christmas market served up all of the usual holiday fare such as Flammkuchen, a sort of Alsatian Pizza and many varieties of sausages. Even better for us they had a gourmet section as well where the local cooking school served up gourmet goodies such as duck with red cabbage laced with chocolate. We toasted yuletide greetings with glasses of sparkling Prosecco and had a dessert of Kaiserschmarren, which is a sweet pancake like dish served with plum compote and topped with powdered sugar. Super yummy! What a lovely way to wait for Christmas Day.