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Christmas Markets in Europe - A Travel Journal

Christmas Markets in Europe - A Travel Journal

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Published by Mitchell Davis
Travel Agency for Gays and Lesbians that is also hetero-friendly -- Christmas Markets in Europe
Travel Agency for Gays and Lesbians that is also hetero-friendly -- Christmas Markets in Europe

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: Mitchell Davis on Aug 21, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PRIDE Travel --Gay & Lesbian Travel, Cruise, & Travel Insurance Experts
(562) 432 - 3888
Reminiscence of Christmas Past:Christmas Time aboard a River Cruise from Nuremburg to Budapestwith Christmas Markets
 Join PRIDE Travel as we reminisce of cooler andmore festive times this summer, about wheremany of our signature holiday traditions
Christmas trees, gingerbread, nutcrackers, St.Nick, and candy canes
come to us from inGermany, Austria, and the heart of Europe.Come discover the medieval atmosphere of 
Nuremberg’s Chris
tmas Market with us, and sample its famous holiday gingerbread or hundred-year-old secret recipe Gluhwein. Stroll
through Regensburg’s romantic Christmas
 Market, savoring dumplings with vanilla sauce.In Passau, shop for unique crafts like hand-painted porcelain and Bohemian glassornaments. In Melk, visit the awe-inspiring Abbey whose library is legendary. Come with us
this hot summer’s eve as we wistfully recall the spirit of the Holiday Season…
December 20th: Embarkation in Nuremburg
Marc and I have been in Germany for a few days now and were really looking forward to boarding
the ship today; we‟re anxious about starting our first river cruise, and have high expectations of AMAWaterways from all we‟ve been told and seen. We are both very experienced
cruisers, Marc has
sailed 58 times and this is my 43rd cruise, so we have to start by saying that today‟s embarkation had
to be the swiftest and most stress free that we have ever experienced.We arrived at the MS Amacello independently by taxi and before we had the opportunity to pay thedriver, our luggage was already being unloaded and prepared to be delivered to our stateroom.Arriving at the reception area was quite an experience as it only took about 30 seconds to board the
ship…we just walked up the
gangplank, onto the ship and up to the front desk. No worry about longlines and metal detectors. After 2 minutes we had the Room keys in our hands and were on our wayto our cabin.The MS Amacello is the newest ship in the AMA Waterways fleet and is she ever a beauty. Uponentering the room the first thing that that you see is the lovely and inviting bed, which, unlike others,holds up to scrutiny when slept upon. Gradually you begin to see the details, the pattern on thewallpaper, the infotainment system and then to top it all off the floor to ceiling glass, with sliding door and French balcony.
PRIDE Travel --Gay & Lesbian Travel, Cruise, & Travel Insurance Experts
(562) 432 - 3888
Storage for our clothing was adequate. The bathroom was in line with what you would see on any of
the large ocean going vessels, with one exception: the shower was large, and heavenly…. No wordscan describe the „euro
spa‟ feeling of the multiple showerheads that gently while away the
tensionafter a day of exploration. Another nice touch was high-end contemporary toiletries in smallcontainers instead of the large bulk dispensers on the walls.Tonight w the Captains welcome aboard dinner and for those of us who had not taken the Pragueportion of the trip a chance to meet our cruise director Marion. Dinner was excellent and the localwines being served were the icing on the cake. A note, the wine stewards are not at all reservedwhen it comes to refilling your glass, and it is done so often that it is easy to lose track of how muchyou are drinking.Tonight, we are moored in Nuremburg with our first excursion tomorrow morning. Our expectations far exceeded, we drift to somber sleep on one of the most comfortable beds afloat.
December 21st: Nuremburg and the Continental Divide
The day started early this morning, and we wanted to get an unusually early breakfast (for us) before
heading out… no procrastinating here, we don‟t want to miss our first excursion. Although breakfast
was mainly buffet style, there were a few made-to-order stations available with omelets and the like.Fresh juices were abundant as was champagne for mimosas. Marc is a pastries kind of guy and he
fell in love with the baked goods onboard, all made fresh by, as he called her “the Pastry Chef thatfell from heaven”.
 At 8:30 AM we picked up our ship boarding passes and headsets at the reception area and boardedthe buses for our trip around the city and into the Christmas Market. The guide was very good atpointing out sights as we passed them on the bus, explaining a lot of the history of how the city cameinto being, how the Second World War changed it and how the modern Germany was lookingforward into the future.Our first stops took us to the Nazi Rally Grounds then to the Justice Palace where the Nuremburg post-war trials took place. The headsets during this portion of the tour allowed you to clearly hear theguide as well as give you some freedom to wander and take photographs without missing any of thecommentary. No more huddling in a group, straining to hear what was being said. After the stops wetoured the outside of the walled portion of the city some more in the bus before being taken into theheart of town for the Christmas Market. Once we were walking around the heart of the Market we
PRIDE Travel --Gay & Lesbian Travel, Cruise, & Travel Insurance Experts
(562) 432 - 3888
were given free time to explore on our own. Since Marc and I had seen the Imperial Castle the daybefore on our own, we focused sightseeing energy on the Christmas Market.
Words really can‟t explain the Market; it is really a fantasy come true. Over a hundred booths set up
in the town square to explore, with the smell of gluhwein and gingerbread in the air, lights shining offChristmas tree bulbs in many colors creating a living kaleidoscope in which to become lost, toys and
gifts of every imagination to delight the senses. Nuremburg‟s Christmas market, particularly, is world
renowned. Tourists from Germany, Europe and the region journey out to see, smell, shop, and sing.After our time in the Market we boarded the bus back to our ship. The ship moved down the Danubea bit so the ride on the bus was slightly longer but we had the opportunity to see more of the Germancountryside. Warm gluhwein or hot chocolate was waiting for us as we boarded the ship to start our  journey across the continental divide and through the first series of locks. We came to learn that onEVERY embarkation, gluhwein would become a ritual of boarding, allowing us to equalize thewarmth outside and around the ship with the warmth soon flowing in our veins to our rosy cheeks.
Relaxing in the main lounge, watching the canal pass by, we were greeted by today‟s onboard
specialist to explain the undertaking of building the canals linking the two largest European river ways, and providing details and impact on the economic and physical landscape. Surprisingly, itreally was quite fascinating for a science lecture and helped put our journey into perspective.After dinner tonight, local Bavarian entertainment provided a singing, dancing, yodeling, polka-
strumming medley that left many dazed… us included; certainly an authentic cultural experience,
with veteran rotund Bavarian folk dancers not at all like those young actor-types in the touristy beer halls in Munich. Tonight, we sail on to Regensburg.
December 22nd: Regensburg
The water on the river was rising steadily, almost alarmingly, and rushing by at a furious pace. After breakfast this morning, the captain announced that if the ship were to stay in Regensburg, there is ahigh likelihood it would be stuck as there is one more low lying bridge that needs to be passed. Thesound of disappointment could be heard throughout the ship; after all, many of us had sailed onlarge ocean vessels before, some numerous times, and had faced the disappointment of weather or 
water conditions not permitting a ship to port or tender…
 However, to our pleasant surprise, Marion stepped forward to explain that while the ship may not stayat the docks we would still have the opportunity to visit the town. Additionally, we would each begiven 15 Euros for lunch (since our ship would be long sailed while we were out and about) and wewould be transported by bus further down river to catch up to our ship. A spectacular save allowedus to see Regensburg fully, as if nothing had gone wrong.Today, Marc and I and a few others that we had met onboard decided that we would explore onour own for a while. We made our way into the city on foot; most towns on the itinerary are verypedestrian friendly, to the Christmas market. We had to make a side trip to a department store since
Marcs‟ shoes had developed a crack in them and had been taking on water every with every step
for two days. Our footwear chore completed, we stopped to have a gluhwein and then continuedto explore the city. The Christmas market here was smaller, so it did not take a huge amount of time

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