Together with Lydia and Georg, who still had some errands to do in Augsburg, we used the time in downtown Augsburg coming from Diedorf to take a leisurely Christmas stroll through the center.
It has been more than 10 years since we went shopping in a German city around Christmas time. Despite the fact that the pedestrian zone is not yet completely finished (large parts of the city center are being modernized, which also affects the shopping streets), we were enthusiastic about the pre-Christmas atmosphere in the decorated streets. Despite the cold, many people were out and about, but there was no noticeable rush or impatience. We particularly liked the nice reception in one of the department stores, where there were chocolate sweets right at the entrance, which were then crowned with a welcome champagne in the departments. A nice idea that also created a good mood.
Friedberg in the Bavarian-Swabian district of Aichach-Friedberg
In general, there was little to feel of hectic activity, everything went quietly and calmly. Completely different from years ago, with predominantly annoyed and unfriendly salespeople, some of whom approached customers in an unfriendly manner that was almost business-damaging. We were very pleasantly surprised. Questions were answered courteously, patient help and advice was provided when trying things on, in short, a very pleasant shopping feeling. In between there was a little refreshment in the form of French fries, which came very close to the Belgian original. Just delicious!
We also crossed the Christmas market in Augsburg during our walk. Comparable in size to the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. As we have already reported, however, we much prefer the small, manageable Christmas markets. Georg and Lydia had already announced such a Christmas market as a destination after our purchases. It should go to Friedberg, a small town in the east of Augsburg, in the Bavarian-Swabian district of Aichach-Friedberg.
Friedberg Castle as a widow's seat
We had heard the name Friedberg a number of times in relation to medieval history related to castle building. However, our research revealed that traces of settlements from Roman times in the form of potteries and brickworks from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD have already been found. In a joint letter of protection from the Staufer Konradin and Duke Ludwig II addressed to the citizens of the city of Augsburg, the planned construction of Fridberch Castle is reported for the first time. The fortification was planned as a border and customs security point between the then free imperial city of Augsburg and Swabia opposite the Duchy of Bavaria. Due to this function of the city fortifications, the dispute with the people of Augsburg was inevitable in the years to come. There were constant conflicts between Bavaria and Augsburg and the Swabians, who subsequently burned down the town and fortifications of Fridberch for the first time in 1396.
It was not until Duchess Christine chose Friedberg Castle as her widow's residence in 1568 that there was an upswing and change in the city, since Bavarian court life was now taking hold. However, 30 years later it was all over again. The plague hit Friedberg very hard in 1599 and only a little later, during the Thirty Years' War, the town was attacked twice by the Swedes and large parts were destroyed. Thus, from the time before the Thirty Years' War, only remnants of the city wall and the fortifications have been preserved, almost the entire city development, including the town hall, comes from the time after the war.
With the flourishing of the watchmaking trade, the town of Friedberg regained fame and power. Friedberg became the center of watch manufacturing and watch trading and is still a Mecca for watch lovers today.
Pilgrimage church Herrgottsruh from 1753
We drove to the foot of Friedberg's castle hill because Georg reported possible parking problems. However, it quickly turned out that there was no reason to worry about a parking space, as there were enough free spaces. We therefore had the opportunity to walk through the snow along the fortress wall up to the old town, which also, in different colours, was festively illuminated and also exuded a lot of Christmas flair. The stalls of the Christmas market were set up around the Herrgottsruh pilgrimage church from 1753, which is one of the most beautiful churches of the Bavarian Rococo period.
Right at the beginning of our tour, we came across some art objects by the ice artist Christian Staber, who, like in previous years, is exhibiting his sculptures here. We were fascinated by the works, which were enhanced in their effect by different colored lighting. Depending on the idea of the individual object, blocks of ice are frozen in different ways to obtain either transparently clear or milky appearing ice. It can take up to five days to freeze a block of ice for a sculpture. The rough processing by the ice artist is then carried out with the help of a chainsaw, the fine work then, comparable to a wood carver or stonemason, with chisels or chisels. Christian Staber usually uses fire for the fine structuring to achieve a reflective surface. We were so enthusiastic about the execution of his work that we want to try to contact Mr. Staber to introduce him personally. We will report in due course.
Slowly we started feeling hungry again, so we discussed what to do. No wonder, with all the scents and scents that drew our noses. The decision was quickly made in favor of Schupfnudeln with sauerkraut, a dish that we had never heard of before. And it was simply delicious, what more can one say. Now we were drawn to a side street of the Christmas market, where we were surprised by such an idyllic spot that one could hardly find words. Only a few wooden stalls framed a small square with a few trees in the middle. Still covered in fresh snow, strings of lights twinkled in the two tallest trees, dozens of presents hung neatly wrapped as Christmas presents from the branches, and an open fire roared in an iron hearth. Standing tables were set up all around, where visitors and locals had gathered. It could only be described as magical. So cozy that even the cold was hardly felt.
Here we should have the well-deserved mulled wine, which should conclude our stroll through Augsburg and the Christmas market in Friedberg.
Coordinates: 48° 21′ N, 10° 59′ E
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