Christmas is coming

Thanksgiving is over, the turkey’s been eaten.  So now what?  Well let’s see you could do the normal stuff like put up a tree, spend a bunch of money on stuff your family really doesn’t need and bake till you back breaks…..or, you could try something completely different.  Something you’ll remember and talk about for years to come.

What is it you ask?  A Christmas market river cruise through wonderfully decorated European towns.  Also known as Christkendlmarkt or Marche’ de Noel, Christmas markets are essential street markets that occur during the 4 weeks of Advent.  These markets go back to the late Middle Ages in German speaking parts of Europe and regions of France and are traditionally held in the town squares.  They offer open air stalls with local crafts, food and music.

Cologne Germany Christmas Market Cruise-010

 

Did I just hear the men readers all just groan?  Hold on, seriously this experience has been both mine and my husband’s favorite vacation of all times. What could be better, a floating luxury hotel with all you can eat, drink and take in (Uniworld all-inclusive river cruising is our favorite)?  Well now that you asked, yes, the cruise part is wonderful but he Christmas market part is fantastic!

Mainz Germany Christmas Market Cruise-044

Breathe easy, this is not your US craft fair with stampeding women, it is open air, relaxed wandering through stalls while the sights and smells of the market surround you.  Each town decorates differently so every stop is unique and beautiful.

Mainz Germany Christmas Market Cruise-094

Imagine strolling with your best friend, arm in arm, Christmas music playing in the background.  Taking in the smell of local food specialties cooking (think giant wok sized pans making potato pancakes or salmon roasting on cedar planks over open flames) sampling as you go.  Stop and admire the handcrafted cuckoo clocks and nativity sets or try on hand spun hats and scarves. Or buddy up to the locals in the ice skating barn and learn why they love this time of year.  And don’t forget you are doing this all the while sipping on a cup of hot gluhwein (mulled wine with flavors of citrus and warm spices).  What could be more wonderful than that?

I promise, this is just the thing for renewing your Christmas joy.   So, skip Black Friday and Cyber Monday (remember no one wants that new set of towels, bedroom slippers, or socks and underwear) and try something different.  You’ll be thrilled you did!!

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