Monday, February 14, 2011


Holiday in Europe - Germany-Poland-France Christmastrip 2010

The end of 2010 proved to be a deluge of snowy, frigid weather for all Europeans.  So considering that we were traveling right in the middle of December’s angry weather attacks, we got very lucky.  We missed all storms and despite a small, non-weather related delay on our flight to Frankfurt and some train issues between Frankfurt and Paris, our holiday trip turned out as fantastic  as it possibly could. 
Christkindlmarkt - Nuremberg
Upon arriving in Frankfurt we took off in our rented car to explore a few German cities, on our way to spend Christmas with my family in Poland.  We saw countless warnings on the internet, and heard cautionary advice from various people about how awful the roads are, people are stuck in cars on autobahns without water for hours as the storm rages, yet we experienced none of this.  We did see lots of snow, holiday card landscapes and huge mountains of the plowed white stuff all over Germany and Poland but it never really got in our way.  As a result we had the chance to explore a pretty, medieval town named Rothenburg ob der Tauber, before moving onto Nuremberg, with its spectacular Christmas market.  If you ever have a chance to spend some time during the holidays in Nuremberg, checking out the Christkindlmarkt and savoring its gingerbread is an absolute must.  Not to mention the beautiful Christmas ornaments, other handmade goods and soul warming food.

As we headed further East, we stopped to enjoy the city of Dresden.  Dresden has Germany’s oldest Christmas market called the Striezelmarkt.  The city is much prettier than I thought it would be and the fact that we got a chance to enjoy a meal at Pfunds Molkerei (always looking to fulfill my appetite for all things dairy) made the day there perfect.  After Dresden we drove to Berlin to explore the city more than we had on previous visits.  As always, Berlin was fascinating and we were glad to affirm once again that we would definitely be back.
Our full week in Poland was filled with Christmas festivities, family visits, food, food and more food.  If you are not eating a lot than you are not truly enjoying a real Polish holiday, and what is the point of holidays without mind-blowing food and family?  In Krakow, my favorite city in Poland, we met no crowds so we had a chance to really enjoy the pre-Christmas atmosphere.  If you happen to find yourself in the magical city, stop in for a thick hot chocolate or other sweet goodness at Wedel
Laduree Macaroons

A few days before New Year’s we drove back to Frankfurt, gave back the rental car and boarded a train for Paris.  If it wasn’t for the somewhat over-cautious Deutschebahn’s policy regarding decreased train speeds in cold, but not too-snowy weather, we would have arrived in Paris on time.  Alas, we had delays on the way there and on the way back but we still had the opportunity to enjoy Paris exactly how we planned.  If you are planning on spending New Year’s Eve in Paris, do note that while the Parisians have a wonderful time, the events are not as spectacular as London’s for example.  Paris does not allow fireworks so there isn’t a pyrotechnic display like in other European cities, but it is still a fun place to ring in the New Year.  We took in the sites, although on a more laid back schedule than normal, because we have both been to Paris separately a few times before.  This more leisurely pace allowed us to do some things that a regular tourist rushing between the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower may miss.  And of course what trip to Paris would be complete without warm crepes on the street, copious amounts of croissants and baguettes and the best macaroons we have ever had (and I don’t even love macaroons) from Laduree.
As we imagined, holiday time in Europe is beyond amazing.  The atmosphere, the glistening snow, the tastes, sounds and feeling that Christmas time is somehow different, seemed like something out of a storybook.  The commercialism, although there, was definitely not at the center and we acknowledged that you cannot recreate a setting like that.  In closing, if you do have a chance to travel to Europe at the end of the year, do enjoy its many splendors.  Oh, and how could a trip be bad when one flies in First Class, for a pittance, thanks to this very websites’ ideas about traveling all over without spending a fortune. 

Happy Travels!