There’s nothing quite like the festive sounds and warm and comforting smells of the holiday season close to home. But as Grand Circle travelers have proven to me time and again, many enjoy spending this time of year exploring the world. And what better way to get into the holiday season when far from home than by visiting Europe’s merry Christmas markets?
Here, Mimi S., Julia & Jonathan P., and Pat P. share what was especially memorable on their Christmas Markets along the Rhine and Christmas Markets along the Danube River Cruises …
Last December, my husband Herb and I took the Christmas Markets along the Rhine River Cruise with Grand Circle. The trip was quite festive, and all of our fellow travelers were cheerful and friendly. The visits to the markets along the river were enchanting. But the real bonuses of the vacation were a couple of exciting personal events.
Our first stop after leaving Basel was the picturesque town of Kaysersberg, filled with happy throngs of people, and brightly decorated streets and buildings. We saw a man hoisting a Swedish flag over his shop during our visit to the town square. Since we had lived in Stockholm while Herb was serving as the naval attaché, we naturally stopped to take a few pictures. The Swedish gentleman offered to take a picture of us, and asked why we were so interested in the photo opportunity. When we explained where we resided in Stockholm, we learned that was his home. We told him we lived on a street called Golfvagen, and he exclaimed that he and his wife went to the school across the street and had lived a few blocks from us. He then asked if we rented the house from a woman by the name of Mrs. Von Heidenstam. Now it was our turn to be surprised since she was the owner—and one of his best friends. Of course, we went into his shop, met his wife, and came out with some beautiful Swedish handcrafts.
We experienced our next coincidence onboard the ship, the M/S River Concerto. Herb met one of our fellow travelers—Beverly from Michigan—over coffee one morning in the lounge. We asked her to join us for dinner that evening, and she brought her friend Jere—also from Michigan. When asked where we were from, we said Orlando, Florida. Jere told us that her son lived in Winter Park, one of the cities adjacent to Orlando. I said that I worked at Rollins College in Winter Park. It turns out, Jere’s son, Matt, also works at Rollins College. When asked if I knew him, I told her that everyone at Rollins knew Matt since he is the Director of Human Resources, and his wife is one of our good friends. We ended up hand-delivering her Christmas gifts to Matt upon our return.
There are always exciting and delightful surprises on our Grand Circle trips—and we had two on this cruise.
From left: Mimi, Jere, and Herb aboard the M/S River Concerto.
10-time traveler & Vacation Ambassador
We really enjoyed our most recent trip on the M/S River Aria traveling through Germany’s Christmas markets starting in Nuremberg and ending in Vienna. Here are a few of our favorite photos from a slideshow we put together of our trip:
A view from the top of the Sinwell Tower at the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg.
Julia and Jonathan sample some of Germany’s famous gluhwein in Passau.
Julia & Jonathan P.
I traveled on Grand Circle’s Christmas Markets along the Rhine and Christmas Markets along the Danube River Cruises with a girlfriend of mine. Both of these vacations are not to be believed! I’ve traveled on many River Cruises in the past, and the ships on these two trips were the best yet. The cities we visited were beautiful—and even more so during the Christmas season. Shopping at the Christmas markets was an added joy.
Valley Stream, New York