Christmas Markets - The Tour in the Snow

Trip Start May 15, 2010
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Trip End Dec 15, 2010


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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day One - This started as with all coach trips with a pick up at the designated point, the coach was running about 10 mins late arriving at my stop, i handed over my suitcase and took a seat, switched on the MP3 player and settled back, it was a good job too as after the next pick up on the London Road we headed towards the A13 and did an average of 5mph until we reached the final pick up a good 45 mins later, this didn't bother me, as the late arrival would mean a shorter amount of time sitting around at the services waiting for the changeover, however it wasn't so good for the two couples who were stood at the bus stop for the 45 mins in the cold which at 8am was about 1 degree. Arriving at the services there was just enough time to get a hot chocolate and check my email before picking up my luggage and boarding the coach. It was a very uneventful journey to Dover and after sitting in the boarding queue for around 30 mins we boarded the boat. After boarding the boat it became obvious that it wasnt going to be a particularly busy crossing, given away by the lack of queue in the food court, the lack of queue at the bureau de change and the closed bar. I headed to the food court and ordered and ate some fish and chip, which for a food court on a ferry wasnt too bad. Coming off the ferry at Calais it was then the long journey ahead. Starting our journey into France the driver indicated to us that we would be unlikely to reach our hotel just outside Strasbourg until 11pm, a good 12hrs (and a clock change) after we had left the services. We headed down the french motorway for around 3hrs before we stopped at an Autogrill for dinner, having seen the portions the autogrill serves and the fact that i had eaten fish and chips only 3hrs earlier i had a panini (I had also picked up a tube of pringles which i had been munching on the coach). After the stop we continued on for another 3hrs until we stopped for fuel and a comfort break. And then on to the hotel for 11pm, i think i may have slept at least part of both legs as the journey didnt seem that long. Arriving at the hotel we were given a room key and it was off to bed for me. This hotel had given me a single room which wasnt overly sized, but the bed was comfortable and i was asleep within half an hour. 

Day Two - We were heading for the Christmas market at Strasbourg today and as it was only 20mins from the hotel we were in no rush getting up, breakfast was at 8:30 and we were leaving at 10. Breakfast was the usual European affair (Cereal, Toast, Bread Rolls, Ham and Cheese and Juice). After breakfast we gather and boarded the coach for the 20 min trip to Strasborg. To read more about Strasborg see 'Strasborg - Christmas Markets in the Rain'. At around 5pm we boarded the coach and made our way back (via a couple of detours) to the hotel for dinner. At around 7pm (after a short interlude watching snooker with a german commentary and international curling) i headed to the dining room. Dinner was 3 courses, A beef stock based soup with shredded pancake, pork snitzel and ice cream. After dinner the chef came out to ask the diner if they enjoyed the meal, and then took a seat at a keyboard and played bavarian classics and english oldies whilst wearing chef whites and a swedish chefs hat for around 3hrs. At around 11:30 i headed for my bed. 

Day Three - Day Three was another day of travel, this would be Strasbourg to Feldkirch, on waking at 8am for breakfast the rain from the previous day had it had become light snow over night. Breakfast was again the continental style from the previous day. After breakfast we packed up and headed for the coach which was taking us through Switzerland to the border of with Austria. We stopped in the morning for a coffee/bathroom stop and then at lunchtime (1pm) for lunch, this stop was at the Rhine falls (to read more about the Rhine Falls see Rhine Falls - Where More Water Falls. After more travelling on we arrived at Feldkirch for a two day stop. The temperature was dropping by the hour and by 5pm it was 0 degrees, i took a walk around the area of the hotel, but the temperature was dropping and so i headed in to warm up before dinner. Dinner was at 7, it was 4 courses starting with a salad bar, then soup, chicken snitzel and then apple strudel. After dinner the hotel laid on an austrian singer and accordian player and two very butch dancers as entertainment. We sat at our tables, listened to music and ordered beer from the waiter until the music ended and then retired for the night.

Day Four - Day Four began at 7:30am for an 8am breakfast, this was another European cold breakfast, after breakfast at around 10am we headed for St Gallen to the Christmas market. We we all looking forward to this trip as the itinery defined it as 'A Very Christmassy experience in a highly decorated celebration of Christmas' (to read more about St Gallen see 'St Gallen - A Market of Disappointment') at around 2pm the coach picked us up and took us back to the hotel. On the way back the driver asked if we wanted to go to the local market in Feldkirck for a couple of hours just so our day was not a total disappointment. After about an hour the driver took us into town, (to read more about Feldkirch see (Feldkirch - The Small Town Market). After around 2.5hrs we met back at the coach and took the short drive back to the hotel. Dinner this evening was at 7pm and was much the same as the previous night (Salad Buffet, Soup, A Bland Fish Dinner and a rather excellent Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Sauce). After dinner we headed to the bar for a beer before retiring for the night.   
 
Day Five  -  Day Five began at a casual pace we would be travelling from Feldkirch to Munich not a long journey in itself, but we were taking a detour via Innsbruck Christmas Market. First we had breakfast it was another cold buffet which included the usual ham and cheese and cereal and toast. After breakfast we packed up and hit the road. After 2 hours travelling through another drive through falling snow we arrive at Innsbruck (to read more about Innsbruck see 'Insbruck - The Old Town Market' At around 4pm we headed back to the coach for the ride to Munich it was about a 3hr drive out of the mountain region to Munich, We arrived in Munich at around 5:30 with dinner set for 7pm. At 7 i headed for dinner. This was a very bland soup (couldnt tell you what flavor), a small dry chick fillet and rice and fruit and vanilla custard. After dinner we retired to the bar for another beer before heading to bed. 

Day Six - This day started casually, as we were only staying half an hour from the town centre breakfast was set for 8am, the breakfast was a marked improvement on dinner with a european style hot and cold buffet, with sausage, bacon and scrambled eggs and the usual selection of hams and cheeses and breakfast cereals. After breakfast (around 10:30am) we headed for Munich city centre. After the short drive in we made it to the centre just after 11. To read more about Munich see 'Munich - Night and Day'. At around 6:15 as designated the driver picked us up and took us back to the hotel. Dinner was set for 8pm so at 7:30 i headed to the bar to find that the hotel did not operate a bar on Sunday so we headed to the restaurant to order a beer, this turned out to be the best part of the meal. As we were offered a small bowl of tomato soup and a small bread roll, a very thin chicken snitzel (the third of the week) and a small bowl of fruit salad. After dinner we had another beer in the Restaurant, before heading to bed. 

Day Seven - This day was to start early as we had to be on the road by 7:45, we had breakfast at 7am and again it was the full hot and cold buffet. After breakfast we battled our way through 2 coach loads of Japanese tourists who were leaving at the same time and loaded onto the coach. Overnight the temperature had dropped to -6 and stayed there as well as about 3ft of snow. We headed off and i got my pillow out and went back to sleep. Im told that while i was sleeping it had taken us just over 2hrs to do the 20 min journey from the hotel to the motorway, the idea was that we would arrive in Cologne at 2pm and spent the afternoon at the Markets, however a 2hr delay and an additional coach driver stop we arrive in Cologne at 4:45pm. After checking into the hotel we were told that dinner was at 8pm and we provided with a map of Cologne. To read more about Cologne see 'Cologne - The Other German Market' Returning from the market it was about 6:30 and i was quite cold. So i decide to run a bath to warm myself up. At around 7:30 i went down to the bar and got a beer before dinner at 8 we went through to the restaurant, the dinner was a buffet with a choice of fish, meat, veg or spaghetti. Also a soup and a selection of desserts a cheese board and a selection of breads. After dinner it was back to the bar for another beer and a chat (while we watched a heavy snow falling which gave us a small concern that we may be snowed in) about the day before bed.

Day Eight - This was the final day on the European tour, we we down for breakfast at 7am, the hotel provided a breakfast which equalled the quality of the previous evenings meal with mini cooked breakfast, several cereals, fruit, the European cheese and meat selection and a selection of fruit juices. After breakfast we loaded onto the coach and headed for home, the temperature a refreshing -2. We headed upwards towards Calais through Belguim and again, a favorite with the coach company, for a stop at the Belgium chocolate warehouse to pick up some goodies before heading to Calais. After a fairly uneventful ferry crossing which included me waiting for my phone to switch to UK time to make a phone call on a cheaper rate just before docking we arrived at Dover, a drive to Thurrock for the feeder coach and a nice delay at the Dartford Tunnel rush hour saw me getting back to Southend at around 8:30pm. After a quick detour via the chinese to pick up some dinner i was home, adventure over, in fact phase one over.
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Comments

leslie slassor on

il pass on this trip

neil.gent
neil.gent on

It was cold, at some points reaching -10, but its difficult doing the European Xmas markets in December without encountering some.

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