Christmas Markets in Europe

We were told by many people about how wonderful the Christmas markets in Germany and other places would be and they were certainly right. Whether in our home town at the time, Frankfurt, or some of the places we visited during the holiday season like Prague, Vienna, Strasbourg, Cologne, and others, we were fortunate to go to several different Christmas markets. We had made the assumption that each city would have one central market that everyone would visit, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. Each city has several different markets, usually one near the main cathedral, but then there are a half dozen or so more markets at different popular areas as well.

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Christmas Market in Frankfurt
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Market in Prague, Czech Republic
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Festive Stall in Strasbourg, France

In today’s world, unfortunately, any event that brings a large number of people together also means that it becomes a target for those who wish to harm people. That means that a common sight at most of the markets that we visited were armed police and plenty of barricades. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop most people from going out and having a good time, shopping, drinking, and eating at the various stalls in the markets. The Christmas markets are truly wonderful and it would be a shame if people didn’t bring their families out to enjoy them. For children, the markets can be a wonderland with all of the decorations, candy, music, and general merriment. They are a playground for adults as well with the gluhwein, sausages, and gift stalls for shopping.

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Stuffed Animals in Hochheim, Germany
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The Second of Four Christmas Markets in Vienna
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A Little of Everything in Cologne

You might ask us what our favorite Christmas market was, but we couldn’t choose a favorite as they were all great in their own ways. Perhaps one of the most unique might have been the one in Vienna, Austria, where they turned the sidewalks into skating rinks. Although the market at the harbor in Cologne was also pretty interesting with its nautical theme. Of course Frankfurt has a special place in our heart since it was our home for a time.

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Nautical Market in Cologne
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Skating at the Market in Vienna, Austria
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Gluhwein in Frankfurt

Obviously there were plenty of beautiful Christmas trees at each of the markets and they are beautiful both during the day when you can see the ornaments as well as at night when the lights shine brightly. One of the biggest trees that we might have seen was actually in Brasov, Romania, which we visited just shortly after Christmas and the markets had just completed. There is nothing like a beautiful Christmas tree to get you in the mood for the holidays.

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Christmas Tree in Brasov, Romania
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Christmas Tree in the Old Town Square of Prague
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Christmas Tree Frankfurt, Germany

So, the advice that we would give to anyone traveling in Europe during the holiday season is to get out and enjoy the Christmas markets wherever you can. We have even gone to a wonderful Christmas market here in Denver, Colorado, and intend to visit one in Chicago over this holiday as we visit our youngest daughter. Our very first Christmas market was in Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, but the tented stalls were nothing in comparison to the wooden stalls with their ornate decorations that we saw in Germany. If you do go, have a gluhwein for us, but be careful, sometimes they add rum to them and the alcohol can sneak up on you.

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Christmas Market in Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Christmas Ornaments in Denver, Colorado
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Christmas Market in Würzburg, Germany

7-Day Nature Photo Challenge ~ Day 6

We were nominated by fellow blogger, ProjectRelish, for a seven-day photo challenge, so we will be posting one of our nature pictures every day for the next seven days.

For day 6, we chose a photo of a stately tree in Warwickshire, England (can a tree actually be stately?).  Our friends in Europe are probably looking at the tree and thinking, “there’s nothing particularly interesting about that tree”, but for us, we don’t see trees like that, especially in Colorado.  It was such a beautiful autumn day and the blue sky just seemed to wrap itself around the top of the tree.  We found the English countryside to be absolutely beautiful and we’re really glad that we didn’t limit our visit to England to just London.

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Stately Tree

Rules: Post one nature photo and nominate someone else for seven consecutive days.

Nominating Blue Luminance, who has a site with incredible photography of nature and Australia.

Here is a picture of the English countryside that we took from the top of Warwick Castle.

Sheep Grazing in the Field
Sheep Grazing in the Field