Christmas Markets of the Danube

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EUROPE comes alive at Christmas with many cities and towns displaying fabulous Christmas Markets and for Meryl Goodwin an opportunity to travel with like-minded tourists and re-visit parts of Europe, but this time in the snow.

Meryl was on a Lyn McNaught guided tour. The first stop was Prague. They had four nights there so there was an opportunity to get a feel for the old city and all it offers.

On a day tour they visited the Prague Castle. With great views down onto the old city with its cobblestone streets, the city’s Astronomical clock stands proud chiming away with its moving figures. The clock was built in 1410.

They also attended a Thanksgiving Dinner with great Christmas fair and entertainment and a visit to the Peace Square for the Christmas Market. It was filled with stalls offering everything from food to decorations and gifts and the wonderful smell of mulled wine and freshly baked bread.

On another excursion they visited Cesky Krumlov and it was snowing. Meryl was taken by the view as they travelled along with lightly falling snow. They visited the castle and the view from the walls down over the city with its Christmas lights and the white snow was like something out of a picture book.

At Passau they boarded their cruise boat. Normally you would board further up but because of the low water levels in the Danube they sailed from Passau.

Their ship, Avalon Waterways, was first class; from the cabin to the entertainment, wonderful food and attentive staff. This became their home for the next six nights.

They visited Regensburg; one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities and the only German city not bombed during WWII.

On a guided walking tour they saw the old Town Hall built in the 13th century, an ancient Roman fort built in 179AD and they walked across the 12th century Steinedrne Brucke stone bridge, which is the oldest of its kind in Germany.

They now sailed to Linz from where they took an excursion to Salzburg to see some of the sites from the Sound of Music and they attended a special celebration of the Christmas carol Silent Night and had the opportunity to visit another Christmas Market.

Leaving Salzburg they returned to their ship and sailed to Melk. Here they visited an 11th century Benedictine Abby, which is still in use today and some 600 students attend.

Meryl was amazed by the library, which contained over 80,000 books and 2,000 manuscripts, and also the Abby’s church with its frescoed ceilings and stunning high altar. The view from the Abby’s terrace over the Danube was stunning.

They now sailed to Vienna. They arrived that evening and Meryl was captured by the beauty of the city with its glittering lights. That night they attended a concert and it was magical, then a tour of the palace. Meryl was amazed by the structure and craftsmanship of these buildings and of course it provided an opportunity to attend another Christmas Market.

They now disembarked the ship and took a bus to Budapest. There was a lot to see and the shopping was good. On a guided tour they saw much of the old town, visited Heroes Square and the massive hilltop castle and another Christmas Market.

This market was the biggest of them all and Meryl was impressed by what it had to offer. There was a whole pig on a spit, open fire smoking salmon, lots of stalls and the most tempting things to buy.

That night they celebrated a farewell dinner. Meryl’s tour had come to its end and the next day she flew home.

Meryl would like to thank Lyn McNaught Travel in Mooroopna and Lyn McNaught who hosted the tour making it a holiday to remember.

Until next time,
Safe Travel’n,
Geoff Vallance