story and photos by Susan Melnyk
The Saturday morning market in Kaiserslautern’s pedestrian zone is something you can’t miss if you are stationed in the Kaiserslautern, Landstuhl, Baumholder, or Ramstein military communities, or even just visiting the area over the weekend. The sights and smells of the fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and baked goods are sure to inspire even the most reluctant chefs to try their hand at creating a new dish or experimenting with the fresh produce! Coffee, baked goods, and bratwurst is sold in the market for a quick breakfast or early lunch, or sit at one of the many restaurants and cafes lining the area after you’ve finished your shopping.
Although the commissary is convenient when you live on or near a military base, the morning markets of Europe are one of the greatest benefits of being stationed overseas. Bring your own basket or bag (although several of the sellers will offer you one if you forget) and wander the market what whatever catches your eye.
Intimidated because you don’t speak German? The sellers are patient and friendly and are happy to help bridge the language gap if you are polite and give them a big smile. Learning the phrases “Ich hatte gerne _______” (meaning “I would like ____”) and “Vos costet das?” (“What does this cost?”) is one of the best ways to show you are trying your best, but if you get lost, just smile, point, and say please (“bitte”) and thank you (“danke”) and the sellers will help you with the rest!
The market runs from early morning until around noon, so grab your family or some friends and head downtown. Parking at one of the city’s several covered or underground parkades near the Stiftsplatz (the church at the city center, across from Cafe Extrablatt and the Brauhaus Restaurant) is almost always available for a fee, and free parking on some of the city streets is often available if you know the area.
Start your morning at the market, but plan to spend the day downtown, since the shops and restaurants will surely entice you, rain or shine!