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Maudie Dec 22nd, 2007 11:46 PM

We're dreaming of a white Christmas
As the temperature in our part of the world heads towards 40 degrees C for Christmas day we are dreaming of having a white one at least once in our lifetime.

We will have about 3 1/2 weeks, excluding air travel. We have looked at the Christmas Market River Cruises but as the name implies it appears to be mainly shopping, not that I have a problem with that but........just not in every place, every second of the day.

I know we can't be guaranteed a white Christmas but I know we will be guaranteed a very cold one. We are thinking at this early stage of maybe a week each in 3 different places. We would more than likely be flying in and out of Frankfurt but this isn't set in concrete. Prague, Vienna, Budapest, maybe some quaint little German/Austrian towns or even Paris, though I have no idea what it is like there in December. I have read that there will be restaurant and shop closures so we will have to take that into consideration too.

We enjoy walking and just soaking up the sites, we are not into huge expensive meals. I would really appreciate your thoughts and my thanks in advance.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and may 2008 bring more time to travel.

julies Dec 23rd, 2007 05:27 AM

It would seem to me that if you want to guarantee snow you will need to go into the mountains. My Lithuanian daughter-in-law was just telling me yesterday that her mother is "down" because this is the second year in a row that they have had no snow there. Take a look at a map and see just how far north that is, and you'll see why I made my comment.

Maudie Dec 23rd, 2007 12:28 PM

Ok, so maybe no snow but we would like to experience Christmas in a winter setting.

Anyone one else got any ideas?

annhig Dec 23rd, 2007 01:00 PM

moscow - that ought at least to be cold.

in Budapest 2 years ago between Xmas and New year there was snow, albeit not huge amounts, still enough to keep the street sweepers busy and the skaters were happy too.

A mountain area in norway or Sweden ought to be a good bet.

happy hunting,

regards, ann

crefloors Dec 23rd, 2007 01:05 PM

Copenhagen and Stockholm are very pretty during the Christmas season. I was there two years ago and luckily we had a LOT of snow..very unusual in fact, but I loved it. Really good sales after Christmas.

angelnot1 Dec 23rd, 2007 01:18 PM

Consider Poland and the Tatry Mountains

Maudie Dec 23rd, 2007 01:41 PM

Good ideas, Poland sounds interesting. We were in Denmark and Norway in May so that's not really an option.

At this stage we are thinking of Salzburg, Prague and Budapest but that could change.

Underhill Dec 23rd, 2007 01:48 PM

The Christmas market cruise I went on in 2006 was much more than just shopping--there were in-depth city tours and all sorts of other activities, including a two-hour tour through Melk Abbey and an optional all-day one to Salzburg. We had snow, too.

Maudie Dec 23rd, 2007 01:55 PM

Underhill, glad to hear from someone that has done the river trip so maybe I should not discard that idea just yet. I guess it would give us a look at some different places in a very convenient way and if we do our homework we can give some of the markets a miss and just enjoy the towns in general.
I main concern is it is a "dressy" type of trip. We pack for comfort rather than style and do not want to take "cocktail" wear. WE had a trip on the Hurtigruten in Norway earlier this year and it was great - no dressing up required!

lobo_mau Dec 23rd, 2007 02:21 PM

The answer to your prays. As fun as snow and much less cold.

Cameron Dec 23rd, 2007 02:39 PM

We have taken a Viking River cruise in the area that Underhill is speaking of that we enjoyed tremendously. No cocktail attire required! Very casual. I think Underhill cruised with Grand Circle, but I may be wrong. The daily city tours on these river cruises are very interesting and, as you say, you could always skip a Christmas market and tour the town on your own.

I agree that Melk Abbey is not to be missed!

Underhill Dec 23rd, 2007 03:43 PM

The cruise I took was with Grand Circle Tours, which emphasize culture and history. We visited only 3 towns, all with one or more Christmas markets: Passau, Regensburg, and Nuremberg. Those of us who arrived early enough in the day also went to the Vienna market. Don't think of those as shopping...they're really Christmas sightseeing, with buying some Christmas or other nicely crafted items as a bonus.

The GCT tours are not at all dressy, although a few people wore something extra nice for the captain's dinner. Mostly it was slacks and sweaters, given the cold weather.

bilboburgler Dec 24th, 2007 03:21 AM

A quaint Austrian town sounds good to me. Try the hotel on the lake front at Zell-am-zee.

JulieVikmanis Dec 24th, 2007 04:15 AM

We've done two very special holidays at Christmas/New Years in the snow. The first was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the second was in Salzburg. We were lucky enough to have fabulous weather in both--snow but not too cold. They were magical. I'd recommend both places. I did trip reports on both of them and even compared the two after the second. Can't dig them up now, but you may be able to search on my name and the town names and find them. I'm off to Istanbul for this holiday. Yeah! Happy New Year.

Maudie Dec 24th, 2007 12:49 PM

Thank you all so much for your input, its great to be able to toss ideas around with like-minded people.
We were looking at a river cruise that started in Prague and ended in Budapest, I think it was an Amadeus one, so I guess we could extend for a couple of days each side and see those places a bit more thoroughly then spend time in one other place. If we did the cruise over the Christmas period that would certainly save any hassle with having to find food!

I like the idea of the hotel on the lake at Zell-am-Zee too that sounds like our sort of place so I will check that out. For some reason I keep going back to the idea of Salzburg but will check out Garmisch-Partenkirchen as well. So many choices - its hard to choose.

When all our family have gone home with full stomachs today I will sit down with a glass of bubbly and check all these places out and dream of where we might be this time next year.

I hope you all have a wonderful day with your family and friends, I know I will. Merry Christmas.

Underhill Dec 24th, 2007 02:55 PM

You definitely will not have to worry about food on your cruise ship!

As for Salzburg, I went on the optional tour there and found it an absolute mob scene. I was last there one August and had hoped crowds would be less, but that was not to be. Still, I'd take the cold weather to the summer humidity.

Maudie Dec 25th, 2007 01:47 AM

Thanks again Underhill, all this is helping me make the target area smaller!
Maybe get to Prague and have a couple of extra days before we start the river trip then go to ?????? for a week and ????? for a week, now that's a plan!
Does anyone know if Hallstatt, Austria would be worth an overnight or longer stay in January? It is on my extemely long list of "places to see" or should I wait for better time of year?

Maudie Dec 25th, 2007 02:39 AM

Hi Julie,
I just checked out Garmisch and found that there is a winter sporting event that goes from Dec 21 to Jan 13 2008. I am guessing that it will be a very busy place around that time so may have to give that a miss.

kleeblatt Dec 25th, 2007 08:00 AM

Christmas in Switzerland has been a run for the mountains. Foggy and cold in the valleys and blue skies and crisp white snow in the mountains. Incredible skiing, beautiful scenery and white snow everywhere...just like Christmas should be!

Maudie Dec 25th, 2007 12:50 PM

Hi Schuler, oh don't make me miss Switzerland more than I do, it just sounds magic. We had 3 wonderful weeks there in June. I was showing friends our photo's after the Christmas pud as the temp got to 40.7 and across the country in Sydney they had a maximum of only 20.

I love reading your posts.

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