Dear travelers. Readers of El Blog de Viajes, tourists, nomads and vacation dreamers. December is here and for many it represents the last chance of the year to make an escape. Others, as in my case, come home for Christmas and revisit some of our favorite places on earth. It’s certainly a special and festive time; surely after my birthday it’s my favorite time of the year… and I’m really looking forward to writing about it!
This year we are going to surprise you, backpacker, because we have prepared an Advent Traveller Calendar exclusively for you. We will give you a daily post, with a Christmas theme, so that you can read it and become aware of our festive spirit. We will write travel tickets, to show you how they celebrate in the different countries of the world, what they eat, where it all began and all the secrets of World Christmas. No other travel blog has dared with this feat and they just tell us where to find the best flea markets… but real travelers know that Christmas is much more than that and we’re going to prove it: twenty-five posts in twenty-five days, ready?
The tradition of the Advent Calendars originates from Germany. In the 19th century, Protestant families lit a candle each day of Advent, although this tradition was tremendously expensive because the candle was expensive. So the less wealthy families would paint twenty-four stripes of chalk on the floor or on any wall, and the children would erase one each day, counting down to Christmas Day. This tradition evolved and an image of religious nature continued to hang every day. In 1851 this countdown with sacred images became a wooden “Christmas calendar”. And a few years later the first printed Advent calendar was born: Hamburg in 1902.
Until 1950, Advent calendars did not have chocolate behind doors, but Bible verses or drawings. Today there are as many as you can imagine: from socks and perfumes to advent calendars for cats, anything is possible.
Christmas in Hamburg
This German city is the great forgotten city of many travelers and tourists. Obviously, it competes with the beautiful Berlin, with the interesting Frankfurt, and I cannot forget Cologne or Munich, which are two other strong tourist candidates from the Germanic country. However, if there is one time of year when Hamburg is the great queen, it is surely Christmas. Its festive atmosphere is not limited only to Christmas markets (which have them and are very nice) or to drinking the traditional spicy hot wine (gluhwein) but rewards its visitors with many more things to do.
Don’t miss Lake Alster, which is decorated with a giant Christmas tree in the center. The water freezes and when the day ends and the lights are turned on is certainly a place of postcard.
To get rid of the cold, I strongly suggest the Coffee Museum. It is highly recommended to book a tour in advance, as they are always sold out. If you haven’t been able to get a place for the guided tour, my recommendation is that you at least have a cup of coffee.
Visit the Hamburg Philharmonic, where in addition to going to one of the Christmas concerts, you can enjoy incredible views of the city and a building that is a delight architecturally speaking.
The largest model train in the world is in Hamburg. Going to see it is like traveling in miniature, since the attention to detail and the extension of this set of models is surprising. Mountains, small towns, trees… everything has been built on a small scale and many travellers say they spent more than three hours observing everything. At Christmas, they put some decorations on the model, to make it look even more real.
I cannot forget, although understandably not for everyone, the Johannes Brahms Museum or the Telemann Museum, two musicians of incredible relevance in the age of classicism. Both have some pieces that have been considered Christmas music, such as the Christmas cantatas or the lullaby Geistliches Wiegenlied.
This is the first door of the Advent Calendar of The Travel Blog, which I hope you have opened with the same enthusiasm with which I have written. By looking through this door we have travelled to Hamburg in the middle of the 19th century, where the children wait patiently to erase the chalk lines that represent the Christmas countdown. Do you wonder what tomorrow’s door will bring? I can’t wait!