The Frankfurt Christmas market ended on a Sunday and a few days later, there was no trace of the hundreds of festive stalls which once occupied Hauptwache or the Romer.
The Pealing of the Bells occurs four times a year and is when ten of the churches in town ring their 50 bells together for 30 minutes. On Christmas Eve, we headed downtown on a packed train for the 5:00 pm event. I was shocked at how many people were there. The squares and streets were filled with people. People brought thermoses of gluhwein and bottles of champagne, drinking out of real mugs and glasses. Brad enjoyed a walking beer and I found a small stand selling gluhwein.
We started at Hauptwache, then to Paulskirche before heading to the Romer. The tree was still (mostly) lit and the crowds were nuts! At least we weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere and you could hear the bells from most places in the city.
We finally worked our way through the crowds and heard “Gloriosa”, the 12 ton bell at the Kaiserdom. It was definitely one of most pronounced bells we heard and I later learned was one of the few bells in Germany to survive being melted down for the war.
There were a few churches on the south side of the river which were also ringing. And at promptly 5:30 pm, the ringing stopped and silence came over the city again as people headed back to the train stations or to churches for mass. It was definitely crowded and a bit nuts, but I loved it! It was great to see the city get behind such a simple, yet beautiful tradition.