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Europe, Christmas 2016, initial planning

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I did something a bit crazy. Um...in the midst of planning a Disneyworld/NYC trip, I realized that the bits I was looking forward to most were the world showcase and Christmas markets. I thought...Why am I going to fake Germany when I could go to the real place instead. So I checked air ticket prices and it's surprising not a whole more.

So...now I have a Europe trip to plan instead.Pro: I'm so excited. Con: yikes, what have I done. I've never been, and I'm just trying to figure out logistics right now. Any help would be much appreciated.

I leave Seattle Dec. 9. Stopover in Iceland for 1 night. Continue onto London the next day.

Rough itinerary so far.
11, 12, 13, 14 London (only thing for sure is British Museum and day tour to Bath/Stonehenge)

12/15: take the train to Erfurt, Germany. Is this scenic enough to do in the day time or do you recommend the night train? I don't sleep well on trains so I'm leaning towards day, but can't decide. Night in Erfurt, visit Erfurt market.

12/16: train to Dresden. Nights 16, 17 there.

12/18: travel to Seiffen. Market and spend the night.

12/19: travel to Munich. Night 19, 20, 21, 22 there. Markets, Dachau, day trip to castles. Is there another daytrip that would be fun? Or am I best off focusing on Munich? I'm thinking there are enough interesting museums to keep me busy, but I do want to branch out and see as anything interesting nearby. (Speaking of museums: are displays generally in just German or both German and English? If the first- are there resources online or in print I can use?)

12/23: Romeward-Ho! From what I've been reading this is a scenic train trip. So I'm planning to do it then, but interested in hearing your thoughts.

Nights 24-30, Rome. Midnight Mass, Vatican museums, Coliseum, catacombs. Day trip to Pompeii. Should I try to day trip to Venice? I'd love to see Venice but I don't know if it's doable or worth it this time of year. Any other worthy day trips?

31- onto Paris, possibly on night train the night of the 30th? I wanted New Years Eve to see a bit of the city. But if the route is scenic, I might choose to do it during the day.

Dec 31- Jan 4 nights in Paris. I don't think I want any day trips here but I am open to suggestions. Definitely going to the louvre 1/2. Haven't researched otherwise.

1/5- fly to NYC, 1/5-1/8 Nyc. Trains at Botanic garden, 9/11 museum, tenement museum, Rockettes, the Met.

So, basically, the only things set in stone is flying into London and flying from Paris to NYC on those dates. I want to make the most of the Christmas Markets as its a bucket list item and I really doubt I'll do another Europe trip during the Winter. But if something isn't working above, or you have better alternatives, I'd love to know.

I considered Nuremberg, as I know it's one of the more traditional markets but the crowd anecdotes do not make it sound fun. Would like your thoughts on markets you've been to and enjoyed especially.

What popular attractions need to be booked ahead? The coliseum? Vaticans?

Misc:
Clothing wise. Do you think a waterproof jacket, fleece jacket and a down vest would be sufficient? I layer like that at home. I have a ski jacket but I feel that it's too warm for cities. Any suggestions on a warm "dressy" outfit to wear to mass and maybe a dinner? I usually travel during the summer- I don't want to overpack, but I'm not sure what I need for winter travel.

Luggage: I have a hard shell suit case as well as a duffel backpack. Would either be the clear winner in this scenario? Duffel holds less but is easier to carry.

Thanks!

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