Category Archives: Holidays

European Christmas Markets

We recently returned from an unforgettable cruise along the Rhine River to visit Christmas Markets in Germany, France and Switzerland.  Our journey was even more memorable as we travelled with a group of close friends.

Christmas Market

Christmas Market

River cruising provides an up close and personal experience.  The ships typically dock in the heart of town allowing easy and convenient access to the local sights and sounds.  This is especially convenient for a Christmas Market Cruise.  During the advent season, towns throughout Europe host wonderfully decorated markets for crafts, drink and food!  Hop off the ship to go shopping all day and then back on  in time for cocktail hour and a gourmet dinner before you set off for your next stop.

Half-timbered building decoracted for the holidays

Half-timbered building decorated for the holidays

European Christmas Markets – Let’s GO!

nutcrackerAdvent has been ushered in since the late middle ages via traditional Christmas markets.  Depending on where you are in Europe a Christmas market is also known as ChristkindlmarktMarché de NoëlChristkindlesmarktand Weihnachtsmarkt. Christkindlesmarkt literally translates as “Christ child market”.

Generally held in town squares, the markets sell food, drink and seasonal crafts from open-air stalls accompanied by traditional singing and dancing.  Popular attractions include a Nativity scene, nutcrackers, toasted almonds, traditional gingerbread cookies and hot mulled wine to help stave off the cold winter air.  Many handmade items including toys, decorations and ornaments are found in the Market.  Check out this photo – It’s truly a magical experience!cologne cathedral market

One of the most visited Christmas Markets is found in Cologne, Germany which in fact has 7 markets in total of which the 4 biggest are located near the amazing Cathedral. The Christmas Market at the Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive one in, due to the huge backdrop of the imposing Cathedral.  Beneath the Cathedral and the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland, you can find well over 160 festively designed wooden pavilions. Here you can watch artisans at work, enjoy original “Christmas Mulled Wine” out of festively decorated Christmas mugs or you can choose from an unlimited choice of sweets and local delicacies. The Alter Markt takes place in front of the old town hall only 200 meters from the cathedral. Shadowed by beautiful narrow-gabled houses and half-timbered stalls, this market conveys a very romantic and idyllic feel.  The Neumarkt is Cologne’s oldest Christmas market located near St. Aspoteln’s (Basilica of the Holy Apostles) church. This market glows in splendor with charmingly designed chalets and a unique “stars at night” theme.  The Christmas Market on the Rudolfplatz takes you to a world of brother’s Grimm fairy tales. Large fairy tale figures and festive illuminations provide a special eye-catcher, set against the historic backdrop of one of Cologne’s 3 standing medieval gate houses.

Rhine Holiday Market 2014 mapYou may very well be asking why we are talking about Christmas markets in May?  Well because to see the markets you need to plan ahead.  GetAway Travel has an agency exclusive offer for you to join us on an amazing River Cruise on the Rhine River during the start of Advent.  

Prepare to be pampered and amazed on our special 7 day trip cruising along the legendary Rhine through Germany, France and Switzerland. Explore charming towns and discover treasures in some of Europe’s finest traditional Christmas markets. You’ll revel in the brilliant holiday decorations and in tasting the many treats and spiced wines of the season. This is truly the way to celebrate Christmas!  Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns. Browse for unique ornaments in Basel’s Christmas Market. Sip vin chaud as you stroll to Place Kléber to behold the enormous, brilliantly lighted tree that Strasbourg offers modern celebrants. Find unexpected treasures in the red-roofed stalls clustered around Cologne’s magnificent cathedral.

You may have never planned your Christmas holiday this far in advance, but now is really the time to get in the spirit and join our group.  Please view our webpage for more details on this cruise and information on how you can sign up!

Oh and did we mention that the river cruise is all-inclusive?

 

Thinking about a destination wedding?

Destination weddings are very popular and for very good reasons:  They can cost considerably less than a traditional wedding, and often include more.  You can choose from many amazingly beautiful locations.  You and your select family and friends get a wonderful vacation experience you will always remember.

We have helped many clients just like you have amazing destination weddings.  We are such experts that in fact, our own wedding was a destination wedding!

#10 Destination Wedding

Merry Christmas 2013

It’s that time of year when the world falls in love. Every song you hear seems to say “Merry Christmas, may your New Year dreams come true”.  How true! How true!

However…

Paul has been a bit grinchy lately.  So many things to do, so little time.  Christmas seems more like a deadline than a holiday.  Blah, blah blah.  Let’s just queue up the Charlie Brown Christmas…

about 53 seconds in – Charlie Brown: I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.

Charlie Brown: I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.

Linus Van Pelt: Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy’s right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.

Ok – so of all the Charlie Browns in the world – is Paul also on the list for the Charlie Browniest?  Could be!

However…

Even grinchy Paul knows that Christmas is not a deadline.  It does not come from a store.  How about the grinchiest grinch of all?  After he stole all of the Christmas items from all the Whos in Whoville – he found out he could not stop the joy of Christmas.  OK, queue up the Grinch please.

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

OK – he gets it, Paul finally gets it.  It’s time to change his approach.   Maybe it’s really best to approach Christmas with a bit more innocence – innocence like a child.  Just like we believe God did on that very first Christmas.

However…

Acting like a child is easier if you have one around to act with.  OK, queue up the children please!

Our wish is that you may also approach this Christmas with the innocence AND enthusiasm of a child AND that all your travel dreams come true in the New Year!

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We hate to brag, but…

We love our clients and work very hard to make sure all of their travel dreams come true.

As the majority of our business is from word of mouth referrals, it’s always great to get feedback to see how they enjoyed their vacations.

Here is some of our most recent feedback:

 “GetAway Travel Service is the company that we used for our recent trip to France and Italy. They spent a lot of time with us to help us decide where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. They took care of all of the details and provided all of the information we needed to avoid stress when we were there. Everything went flawlessly. I highly recommend Sue Adams and Paul Adams at GetAway. Consider using them for your next trip!”

These clients took an amazing river cruise in France and then while they were already in Europe, we sent them on a luxury tour of Italy (Venice, Rome, Florence).

“We booked our 25th anniversary trip with them this summer. When the plans changed (beyond our control) just 5 days before our trip, Paul and Sue booked us an entirely new trip and took the stress away! We are already booked with them next year.” 

These clients had booked a Celebrity Galapagos cruise over 1 year in advance.  Literally days before departure, the cruise was cancelled (very rare circumstances).  We quickly scrambled and sent them on a dream cruise to Alaska.  We worked with the cruise lines to get them an upgrade on their Alaska cruise stateroom, and got full refunds on their air and cruise for Galapagos.   They have already rebooked their Galapagos cruise for next year.

Is there anything we can do to help you make your vacation dreams come true?

Experience the difference that smart dedicated travel agents can make in your next vacation.

 

 

Life is Uncertain; Take the Trip First.

At the travel agency we receive lots of brochures from suppliers.  Many times I’ll open a packet, store the brochures and toss everything else including the packing material into recycling.  Sometimes I’ll even put the brochures right into recycling bin if it is from a supplier that we don’t really feels works best for our customers.  Oftentimes the brochures include some sort of cover letter which is usually related to telling us what we should know about any new products the supplier has or what highlights we should read in the brochures.  Recently one cover letter caught my attention and I thought I would share.

Kirk Demeter is the president of Down Under Answers (DUA).  As you’d expect with the name Down Under Answers, they specialize in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific destinations.  Kirk wrote what I feel is an inspiring cover letter to include with their 2013-2014 travel planners.

” As I cast about for positive resolutions for 2013, a bumper sticker came to mind – ‘Life is uncertain; eat dessert first’.  I decided to amend that to – Life is uncertain; take the trip first.

In our business we hear constantly from customers how their trip was ‘life enhancing’, how it fulfilled a long-held dream, how it was so much more than expected.  That it led to new friends, fueled their desire to travel even more and inspired others to travel.

There are always several items on our wish lists, and we all love new toys, but a trip is something that never loses its novelty, no matter how many times we look at the photos, or turn to each other and say ‘remember the day we…’.  Trips don’t sit in the garage or attic gathering dust; they live within us, making us feel good each time we think back.”

Trips certainly do live within us.  Our travel experiences help shape our thoughts, desires and values.  Sometimes on trips we learn grace, sometimes we learn humility, sometimes we even learn that we eat too many desserts when we are not at home!

Which would you remember more fondly 10 years from now, your new 60″ super duper plasma monster TV, or diving off the deck of your over-water bungalow in Fiji?   The TV probably won’t even last 10 years, but the memories of the island will stay with you forever.  I agree –  Life is uncertain; take the trip first.

04-Likuliku Lagoon Resort Fiji 2-1-2011 1-16-11 PM

Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Tweaked a bit, but originally from our friends at Travel Impressions – Ruthanne Terrero, (TravelAgentCentral) author

  1. You’ve googled “Mexico Vacation” and come up with 145 million results. Need a little help editing those choices down a bit?
  2. Remember when you used that obscure website to book your hotel and when you got there you spent your beach vacation overlooking a parking lot?
  3. How many hours were you on hold with the airlines after your flight was canceled?
  4. Did you really mean to spend your honeymoon at a resort whose tiny pool was filled all day with screaming children?
  5. Who knew that when you booked the “villa” in Tuscany that it would be a small room with a kitchenette and no air conditioning?  Funny, it looked much better on your computer screen.
  6. No one explained that in July, it’s winter time in Rio and you showed up there with nothing but five Hawaiian shirts and three pairs of swimming trunks.Tulum2
  7. How about the time you really needed a restful vacation and you ended up in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and someone lost their lunch on your new shoes?
  8. Yes, I guess that hotel did you use a telephoto lens when they took a picture of those guest rooms you saw on their website.
  9. I suppose contacting the Attorney General to resolve the fact that the internet site has billed your credit card 3 times for the same trip is the only route to go at this point.
  10. It was definitely odd that there were no cab drivers at the airport at 3 o’clock in the morning when you landed in Cost Rica.  Who knew you should have pre-booked a hotel transfer when you booked the hotel and air?
  11. So that’s what they meant when they talked about an excursion to see “pole dancers”.