The magic of the European Christmas Markets cannot be denied. But the last time I went to one I was not solo because I was not single and regrettably, it wasn’t a magical holiday event.
It was 2002 in Montreux, Switzerland (part of my family’s 10-month trip through Europe). I was with my husband and youngest son who was eleven at the time. We ended up buying a single gift, a Razor scooter for him. Not exactly the kind of Christmas market holiday shopping I had in mind.
This year will be different.
This year, I’m going on a solo holiday. I’m taking a river cruise from Nuremberg to Vienna which I will reach on November 17th, opening day of their Christmas Market.
It’s not that I didn’t love traveling with my husband and son. It’s just that the Christmas Markets were not their thing.
This year, 10 years on, I will be able to do them my way.
Single or not, solo holidays are a necessity sometimes.
Had I the opportunity to take a solo holiday on that family holiday, had I thought of doing so, I think I would have taken in the Christmas markets. They beg to be explored leisurely. They are for shopping and exploring and just drinking in the holiday atmosphere.
The Christmas Markets began in the late Middle Ages in what is now Germany. Records show that Dresden and Bautzen are the sites of the oldest Markets dating back to 1400 – give or take a couple of decades. However, the Vienna “December Market” dates back a further hundred years to 1300. It is considered to be the forerunner of the Christmas Markets.
The markets are held outdoors. All the vendors have wooden stalls and sell food, drinks, Christmas items and crafts. There are also performances of traditional singing and dancing. Soaking in this holiday atmosphere, viewing the crafts and delicacies on offer then reviewing them for what to buy is, for me, an experience best lived solo.
So Vienna it is. But first my solo holiday on The Danube.
Single on a River Cruise Holiday
My upcoming trip has many stages. I will start with the intensity of London with the launch of The Traveler’s Handbooks on November 1st. (Here’s a link to an invitation for anyone who will be in London at the time.) Then I’ll attend and speak at the World Travel Market the following week – this is now an annual event for me.
From London I will go to Nuremberg for the cruise of The Danube. I have been looking forward to this trip for months. It has been an incredibly busy fall and I look forward to relaxing on the cruise, exploring towns and villages along the way and taking in their “Go Active” program. I have heard so many great things about river cruises, I really want to check them out for myself.
Finally, I’ll end up in Vienna, one of my favorite European cities where, refreshed from the seven days cruise, I’ll be ready to take in the Christmas Markets right.
My thanks to go Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Premier River Cruises for this opportunity. I suggest you take a look at the Premier River Cruises site as they have deals specifically for the readers of Solo Traveler.
I look forward to reporting on the cruise and the markets in coming weeks.