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Bruges and ??, Advice for Christmas Markets

Bruges and ??, Advice for Christmas Markets

Jul 18th, 2019, 09:30 PM
  #1  
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Bruges and ??, Advice for Christmas Markets

DH and I missed our planned Christmas in York last year as we took turns being sick and had to cancel. We're fine but it was a disappointment. I've started thinking I would like to plan another trip during December of 2020. Bruges with its Christmas Markets might be a good spot for us and would like to pair it with another location for a 10-12 day trip. In 2012 we paired Bruges and London which I wouldn't mind repeating but DH has visited London over 4 decades and would prefer another destination, perhaps in the UK. The two places don't have to be particularly close but travel should be fairly easy by train or even a flight.

We enjoy museums, music, seeing the Christmas decorations, people watching from a café; we're in our 60s. Fine dining was never our thing and now I must eat gluten free. It was a challenge in France a couple of years ago, I did get glutened once. It seems Scandinavia and Britain (the latter only based on research) are more aware of Celiac but Germany worries me even though Christmas Markets there are a big draw. We did a Christmas Market cruise on the Rhine in 2016 which made dining easier but we would prefer to travel on our own. Looking forward to your suggestions.
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Jul 19th, 2019, 01:04 AM
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Since you missed out on York why not go there?

My son's MIL has Coeliac and has travelled widely within Europe without a problem for many years, which is mildly surprising as she only speaks Dutch! Now that gluten free eating is something of a lifestyle choice for many rather than a necessity for the few it has become much easier.
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Jul 19th, 2019, 09:56 AM
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It's France again, but I hear Strasbourg has delightful Christmas market, and you can visit adorable nearby villages like Riquewihr, Colmar, etc.
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Jul 19th, 2019, 03:01 PM
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People in Germany need gluten-free eating too. We have a friend in Germany whose daughter can't eat nuts and she manages OK wherever she goes. Just take a laminated card with exactly what you're allergic to and what you must avoid written on it in German (ask here) and give that to the waiter. Obviously at Christmas markets the burden is on you a bit more not to order things that you think could be contaminated. You could always just self-cater for most meals, but of course you don't want to miss out on those market snacks.

Are you looking for a single location that might be a good launching point for Christmas markets? I was going to suggest somewhere like Cologne which itself has 7 markets and you could use it as a launching point to go to Düsseldorf, Aachen, Monschau, Münster or just about anywhere in the Ruhr District. It is also an easy train trip from Brussels on the Thalys, so if you are going to Bruges it's not hard to get to.

Lavandula
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Jul 19th, 2019, 04:37 PM
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https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowT..._Province.html

Just saw this thread on Tripadvisor about gluten-free waffles in Bruges and thought of you!

Lavandula
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Jul 20th, 2019, 04:15 AM
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My nephew is law has celiac disease and he travels all over the world. He will just eat salads if need be but they love when they find gluten free menus. Lille is very close to you and I loved visiting there. Ypres has a small market, nothing exciting but you could visit the Menin Gate and the museum there. All quick train trips.
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Jul 20th, 2019, 04:52 AM
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Just wanted to say that I'm surprised you had problems with gluten-free foods in France, though maybe 2 years ago things were different. We live in very rural France and the markets are full of gluten-free products (entire sections of the supermarkets devoted to them, and big signs in the fresh markets) and there are bio stores everywhere. I doubt it would be a problem in Germany.
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Jul 20th, 2019, 02:14 PM
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https://blog.koelntourismus.de/en/cu...ng-in-cologne/

Blog: gluten-free eating in Cologne!

Lavandula
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Jul 21st, 2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Since you missed out on York why not go there?

My son's MIL has Coeliac and has travelled widely within Europe without a problem for many years, which is mildly surprising as she only speaks Dutch! Now that gluten free eating is something of a lifestyle choice for many rather than a necessity for the few it has become much easier.
That is definitely a possibility. I have done the restaurant research for it. Wondering if it would be faster/easier to fly from Brussels to a northern airport or to take the train through London?
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Jul 21st, 2019, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Fleur_de_Lis View Post
It's France again, but I hear Strasbourg has delightful Christmas market, and you can visit adorable nearby villages like Riquewihr, Colmar, etc.
Have been to Strasbourg twice for the the Christmas Markets but wouldn't be averse to it again. Are there trains to villages such as Colmar?
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Jul 21st, 2019, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
People in Germany need gluten-free eating too. We have a friend in Germany whose daughter can't eat nuts and she manages OK wherever she goes. Just take a laminated card with exactly what you're allergic to and what you must avoid written on it in German (ask here) and give that to the waiter. Obviously at Christmas markets the burden is on you a bit more not to order things that you think could be contaminated. You could always just self-cater for most meals, but of course you don't want to miss out on those market snacks.

Are you looking for a single location that might be a good launching point for Christmas markets? I was going to suggest somewhere like Cologne which itself has 7 markets and you could use it as a launching point to go to Düsseldorf, Aachen, Monschau, Münster or just about anywhere in the Ruhr District. It is also an easy train trip from Brussels on the Thalys, so if you are going to Bruges it's not hard to get to.

Lavandula
Have also been to Cologne twice so was thinking I did not want to base there although it does have some great markets. Easy train might tip things more in its favor. I do travel with laminated cards in the local language but still got glutened in France. Suspect it was something in the potato puree that the server did not know contained gluten. There are so many places for gluten to hide. We lost 1/2 day on that trip to me being sickened, could have been worse.
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Jul 21st, 2019, 01:24 PM
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Why not try Copenhagen instead? https://www.visitcopenhagen.com/cope...istmas-markets and perhaps pair it with Stockholm. https://theculturetrip.com/europe/sw...his-christmas/ Especially as you find it easier to meet your gluten-free requirements there.
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Jul 21st, 2019, 01:33 PM
  #13  
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I always carry additional food or buy GF snacks in markets but need to be able to eat meals in restaurants with DH. It is so much easier for me than when my uncle visited Europe many years ago. His daughter and I were talking about how glad we are eating GF has become a sort of fad. The bread products I buy at home are made in Europe. It is still a challenge though so I appreciate the help.
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Jul 21st, 2019, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by WeisserTee View Post
Why not try Copenhagen instead? https://www.visitcopenhagen.com/cope...istmas-markets and perhaps pair it with Stockholm. https://theculturetrip.com/europe/sw...his-christmas/ Especially as you find it easier to meet your gluten-free requirements there.
We ended a cruise in Copenhagen last month. It was 85F and humid, I'm sure December would be a contrast. Looks like there are nonstop flights from Brussels. I'm intrigued--thanks for the idea!
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