Wine Dine & Travel Magazine takes you where Martians & camels roam, at Wadi Rum, Jordan. And a super shore excursion in France. Celebrate the Christmas Markets in Germany and it's all aboard on the HMS Britannia.
30 Wine Dine & Travel 2016 Frohes Weihnachtsfest! (A Joyous Christmas Celebration!)
Celebrating German Christmas Markets | STORY & PHOTOS BY ALISON DAROSA | Envision yourself snuggled in woolens, meandering the cobbled streets of a snow-dusted medieval fairytale village. With a steaming mug of glühwein in hand, you’re browsing festive stalls decked with twinkling holiday lights, admiring hand-crafted wooden toys, one-of-a-kind ornaments and sampling a cornucopia of seasonal eats. You’re dreaming of German Christmas markets. During almost two weeks last December, I visited a diverse collection of those markets. There are dozens of them – in big cities, small towns and remote villages. Many date back to the middle ages. Each visit was unique, but all gave me the opportunity to mix with locals and enjoy the Christmas traditions and treats they know and love. My trip was enriching, enlightening and just plain fun – a perfect holiday gift to myself. Baden-Baden in southwestern Germany was the perfect place to start. The town has a compact, classy Christmas market, a bounty of cultural attractions, multiple Michelin-starred restaurants – and an array of thermal spas. Frazzled and jet-lagged after flying from the west coast of the U.S. to Frankfurt, then hopping a train to Baden, I checked in at Der Kleine Prinz hotel, unpacked my swimsuit, and walked straight to the Caracalla Spa. Romans were the first to note the healing power of the thermal waters here – and two millennia later, the magic thrives. Baden means bath; 29 natural mineral-rich hot springs feed the town’s spas. Road weary, I sank into the warm, bubbling waters at Caracalla’s big indoor/outdoor pool. I drifted lazily from station to station in the flow channel, leaning into massaging jets, comforting aching shoulders under soothing waterfalls. I allowed my brain to breathe; stress dissipated into the starry Black Forest sky. Back inside, I sampled the aromatic stream bath, a brine inhalation room and an upstairs sauna extravaganza. By then, the tangled knots of long-distance economy class travel had slowly, deliciously unraveled. For dessert, I treated myself to a 30-minute back massage. Pure bliss. Food and drink vendors (left) in Nuremberg provide warm sustenance for Christmas Market shoppers. At Garmisch –Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps, the small Christmas market offers a colorful collection of hand-crafted wooden toys. Wine Dine & Travel 2016 31