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Christmas markets: E Germany, Poland, Prague


Dec 22nd, 2014, 02:56 PM
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Christmas markets: E Germany, Poland, Prague

We had debated a trip to either (the former) East Germany (e.g., Erfurt, Dresden, Leipzig) or Poland (particularly Krakow and Wroclaw) next Spring, leaning towards Poland (some Polish heritage). We have had to move the trip back, which made us think, “why not move it back to December and hit the Christmas markets?”
I am trying to put together an itinerary that makes sense. Probably 11 nights—we will likely depart from Philadelphia -- jet lag is not generally an issue. Definitely 4 nights in Krakow. Other stays negotiable. We will not have a car.

Would the following work (transportation-wise?)

Arr Frankfurt and train to Erfurt.
Erfurt (3 nights) (with a day trip to Eisenach--interest in Reformation/Wartburg castle)
Dresden (3 nights)
Wroclaw (1 night) (I think we may need to go through Wroclaw to get to Krakow, no?)
Krakow (4 nights)
Fly out of Krakow

If we had fewer nights, does Prague make more sense to pair with Poland and would public transportation work?
mama_mia is offline  
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Dec 23rd, 2014, 12:59 AM
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Sounds good to me. I don't think Prague makes more sense if you want to explore some Christmas markets.

Enroute from Erfurt to Dresden I highly recommend a detour to Annaberg-Buchholz in the Erzgebirge mountains, which is *the* Christmas region in Germany. The route would go via Chemnitz, on regional trains instead of fast trains via Leipzig, from Chemnitz either bus or train to Annaberg-Buchholz. I'd even suggest you stay until 5 or 6 pm when it's dark (more magic) and would arrive in Dresden at 8 pm - granted, long day but well worth it and if your hotel reservation is confirmed it should be no problem.

Yes, you go through Wroclaw to get to Krakow and an overnight there is a good idea.
Ingo is offline  
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Dec 23rd, 2014, 04:31 AM
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Ingo, when did that store selling all the large Erzgebirge pyramids etc in the lower ground level of Dresden's QF close? When I was there in December 2011, it was still there and doing a bang-up business. I wanted to show it to my husband on our visit earlier this month and was sorry to see it had been replaced by a tourist info office. Is there another store around the sells the bigger pyramids (the old store in the QF shopping area had some that were two-meters tall), either in Dresden or in one of the Erzgebirge towns?
WeisserTee is online now  
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Dec 23rd, 2014, 05:52 AM
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That's the Stracos shop you're talking about, I think. They filed for bankruptcy one or two years ago, or sort of what you'd call chapter 11 in the U.S. They came out of that without any debt and started all over - but the shop was closed in the meantime, of course. Stracos has its home in Klingenberg-Colmnitz, not far from Dresden (drive or train via Freital-Tharandt). Here's their website:

I doubt there is a shop in Dresden that sells these huge pyramids - you could try Ratags next to Kreuzkirche maybe, and also the cute, small but excellent "Erzgebirge" shop in one of the small timber-framed houses at Körnerplatz in Loschwitz. When I went there the guy had a good selection of very beautiful pyramids, three, four and five storeys tall.

Besides, if you go to the Erzgebirge mountains you can spot these very tall pyramids in many shops. A good place would be Seiffen, of course, Annaberg-Buchholz and especially the alley leading from Markt square up to St. Annen church, but also Schneeberg with many shops selling big pyramids.
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