An Amazing Journey Europe’s Christmas Markets

 

magicalchristmasmarkets_CZECHREPUBLIC_Prague_ss_446259364_hero

The air is crisp and the scents of spice and roasted chestnuts are in the air as you walk through the village inspired Christmas scenes.   As you glance around you notice Christmas lights fill the streets with a soft warm glow where bobbles, bows, candy and special treasures await. It’s an old world style atmosphere, markets are often at the center of town squares  beneath the spires of the local parish church steeples.   Laughter and music fills the air as shoppers pass by snuggled in their winter coats.    There is just something about Europe’s Christmas Markets that I don’t feel we have quite captured in the United States.  Perhaps it’s the community aspect, the gathering together sipping mulled wine as you let go the stress of the day. Perhaps it’s people coming together and catching up as they experience the warmth of Gluhwein and nibble on delectable pastries.  Europe’s Christmas Markets are simply Magical.

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Europe’s Christmas Markets

It’s the start of Holiday Season as during the first weekend of Advent Christmas Markets begin to pop up throughout Europe.  This annual tradition has been bringing happiness to locals and visitors alike for centuries.  It’s almost like you have been transported back in time to a place of happy memories and the warmth of the season.    Christmas carols surround you as you experience your first glance of the sparkle of snowflakes as they gently fall around the merchants selling their wares.  Many of these markets can take over blocks and blocks and are filled with everything Christmas.

 

 

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Germany’s Christmas Markets

Your taste buds will be filled with sweet, spice, and nutty flavors.  The food of the Christmas markets change with the village or city and sausage rules and changes according to region.  Gluhwein which is a mulled style of spice wine also changes with region, hot coco, and even non alcoholic versions are available for those who don’t imbibe.  Every market also provides a mug for your journey.  You can choose to turn it in after your visit for a deposit refund or take it with you as a souvenir.  These make great little keepsakes and or gifts.

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Christmas Market Food

The Markets are filled with everything from food to trinkets.  Many favorites are the classic wooden Christmas ornaments.  Lace and varieties of Christmas ornaments are also available and many of the items in the markets are hand crafted from local artisans.

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Europe’s Christmas Markets these are a bucket list item
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Europe’s Christmas Markets

Bundle up though as winter is starting to set in and you will appreciate the warmth of the heat lamps that surround some of the merchants.  If you forget something don’t worry you will find many selections of hats, mittens, scarves, and socks.  I recommend a couple of cups of the local Gluhwein to spice up and warm up the day or evening.  It will slowly melt away any breath of cold that sweeps the area.

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Travel with T at the Christmas Markets in Europe

If you are a lover of all things Christmas I can’t recommend these enough.  Once you go every year you will have a longing to re experience the magic again and again.  Christmas in Europe is a memory maker.  Experiences are to me more precious then things so go out and experience and build your memories.  Better yet make it a River Cruise where you can see and experience these treasures as you glide along one of Europe’s historic waterways.

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Half Timbered house of Germany’s Christmas Markets

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Book your Christmas Market visit or River Cruise with Travel with T @ Travel Plus of NC

www.travelwithttoday.com www.travelplusofnc.com

Top 7 ways to save money on a cruise vacation

Top 7 tips to save money on a cruise

 

Whether you are going for the first time or are a frequent cruiser there are various ways to save money when you go on a cruise.  From booking the cruise, excursions, and even while onboard. These simple tips can help you not break your bank when traveling and save money on a cruise.  Unless you want to go all out which is really fun too.  So read along as I help you learn “How to save money on a cruise”

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Everyone always wants to know how to save money on booking a cruise.  The various boards are full of post on how to get the best deal on a cruise.  How to get the best pricing, when, where, and on and on.  Well here is the number one lesson from a Travel Advisor.  Use a Travel Advisor.

I know, I can here you saying I can book it myself right?  Why yes you most certainly can but a Travel Advisor has the ability to check many different cruises at the same time.  They have access to sales from there own agency that you don’t.  They have groups that they could add you into that will give you a little extra something like and onboard credit.  They also can use whatever you received from the cruise line as a bonus when they book your trip.

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Tip number 2 sometimes the earlier the better especially if you want a certain cabin.  You can always update pricing if a sale comes out that is better along the way.  So you are in the cabin you want and when a sale comes up your Travel Advisor would just rebook you into the new sale if it is beneficial.

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Tip number 3 There are certain times of the year that prices drop for cruises.  A good Travel Advisor knows this and will help you with the timing.  That is if you don’t need the cruise to be during a certain time frame.

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Tip number 4 Saving money while on ship can be done.  I remember our first cruise, we bought the ship out I think.  Pictures, spa, drinks, specialty dining, shopping, excursions, Casino ect ect.  It was new and we were excited.  It was FUN!  We received our bill at the end and were WOW!  All in and all no regrets.  We enjoy our memories and I laugh and can tell you about it now.  So on ship there are extras and these all can add up.  My suggestion only do the things you really want to do.  Only purchase the pictures you really like not all the whole pack that you can never put up on your wall.

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Tip number 5 Excursions are great but can add up at every port.  My suggestion take a look a head of time at what you would like to do.  Sometimes if it’s not a crazy long trip in the jungle two hours you can pick up an excursion in port.  Like we did renting a golf cart in Bonaire.  You will learn about this later this week when our next update post.

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Tip number 6 Onboard credits, drink packages, free internet, the list goes on an on.  Everyone has things that are important for them.  Some don’t care for internet so this does not matter to them.  Others it’s a drink package they won’t use.  So for the perks on board companies like Norwegian often run a sale with pick 5 free and you choose between what they are offering.  Companies like Princess often run an onboard credit sale.  You can then take your on-board credit and use it for what you want.   There is usually a sale that can fit any traveler.  All these will help you save money on a cruise.

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Tip number 7 there are many other tips a travel advisor has for saving money on cruising one of my favorites is go River Cruising where the price you pay is the price for basically everything .  There are not a lot of extras as your excursions are included.   Overall cruising is an excellent value for your money.  You see many places, unpack once, food is included, and you have entertainment on board.  What are you waiting for GO CRUISING!  I hope you enjoyed the Top 7 things to save money on a cruise.

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If you have any questions on cruising or travel do not hesitate to reach out and I would love to help you.  Who are you traveling with?  Travel with T

 

What is the best way to see Vietnam and Cambodia?

What is the best way to see Vietnam and Cambodia?  When you think about Vietnam and Cambodia what pops into your mind?

Temples

Do you imagine gliding along the Mekong Delta sipping on a Mai-tai as you watch a family washing their cow on the bank of the river?  Do you picture looking out from your open air panoramic window that takes up the whole wall of your suite?  What about having morning coffee as you watch Buddhist monks gathering along the bank to watch you as get ready to step off your boat?  Do you imagine evening dinner dining on local regional specialties that are not only there to entice your eyes but delight your palate.  These are indeed some of the things we experienced on our Luxury River Cruise along Mekong Delta.

Floating Markets

To experience Vietnam and Cambodia there is no better way than a Luxury River Cruise.

Life on the Delta

 

A journey along the Mekong Delta is a fascinating immersion in ancient traditions, cultures and history.   As you glide down the Mekong you are witness to centuries old traditions and culture that will create memories and experiences you are not likely to forget.  You will be immersed in iconic scenery as you view life along the delta, from silk towns, fishing villages, floating markets, to monasteries.  The crown jewel on your luxury river cruise if you choose to go from Vietnam Cambodia (which I recommend) is Cambodia’s Ankor Watt.  This is truly a trip of a lifetime.

View from our stateroom

The truth is most will not imagine visiting Vietnam and Cambodia on luxury river cruise but there is no better way to immerse yourself in the culture and experiences of life on the Delta.  Its where you can visit a local family and be invited to share what life is like as they invite you into their home.  Visit the floating markets and spend time with a local fisherman as he shares his family’s life on the delta.

Mekong Viewing

As you pull up towards the embankment you realize you are not pulling up to a dock you are docking on the bank.  You step off into a small village of silk weavers and your visit helps to support and maintain an art that is not only beautiful but not easily learned.  To experience these opportunities it would take months of journeying through the country.  With a river cruise the work has all been done for you.  You unpack once your luxury hotel travels with you and you make new friends along the way.

 

Blessed in Ankor Watt

To truly visit a place is to experience it’s people and a river cruise allows you just that opportunity.  What about a chance of a life stop in one of the small local villages to spend time helping to teach English in Cambodia?  Truly unique and so very rewarding these are the experiences that build memories that last a lifetime.  These are the experiences you can live on a River Cruise.

Cooking Cambodian Style

So if you are looking for a little adventure with a little bit of luxury included a River Cruise along the Mekong Delta might just be what you are looking for.

The Monkey’s of Ankor Watt

If you would like any information about booking a Luxury River Cruise in Asia or any of the other amazing destinations please contact me and I would love to help you.  I am a River Cruise Travel Agent Specialist.

 

 

River Cruising the Art of Luxury

The art of luxury river cruising

River Cruising
River Cruising

River Cruising and the Art of Luxury

Picture gliding down an ancient river with a gentle breeze just sweeping across face as you sit sipping a glass of wine from the local region you are visiting.   You’re escorted down the river with picturesque countryside and you never worry about unpacking and packing, you never worry how you are going to get from one destination to the next, you never worry about paying for anything on board, you never worry about making a bed, or even what you are going to eat.  

 

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You dine on regional specialties and traditional fare that is not only delicious but a feast for the eyes as well.  All the while in casual comfort.

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A casual yet refined style of travel known as river cruising is blooming into a new style of travel for most.   The value for the lifestyle is enough to make the luxury minimalist drool a little.   Try pricing out everything you do and see on a river cruise individually and your head will spin as the dollar signs start to rise.   It appears almost exponentially as you start adding things like transfers, comfortable hotels, and exquisite meals.   Yes, I guess you could go really budget and stay in a hostel but why?

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Travel is meant to be a journey, not rushed, not hurried but a wonderful journey into life.   It is not only the destination you discover but the culture and the people.  It’s meant to be smooth, it’s meant to be lived.  It’s meant to be EXPERIENCED.  I captured these moments with my love Nikon 3300 SR I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped it and it still works amazing.

 

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Daily Life along the Mekong Delta

 

 

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Floating Markets in Cambodia

 

The only thing I regret is I hadn’t discovered it sooner.  For those with a passion to travel and experience river cruising provides a wonderful venue for you.  Your back drop is the world and your mode of transport is a vessel that glides along the most beautiful rivers.   If you are lucky to choose the correct line you may be presented with a panoramic view and more than likely you will settle for no less later on.  Yet for the budget minded you can also experience everything a river cruise has to offer in a room with slightly different set up that still will provide you all the experience and wonder you desire.

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There she is my girl Nikon 3300 SR

 

From the Castles of Europe to the exotic venues of Asia you will not be disappointed.  If there is a navigable waterway there is likely a river cruise company that will carry you on your journey.  Gone is the hustle and bustle of the larger lines here you find the destination is the experience.  Everything glides along in a river pace.  Not to be confused with nothing to do and boring because as I mentioned earlier the destination is the discovery and the experience.   You are free to relax and enjoy on your own or join the group as they go out and explore each new stop.  Discover River Cruising and the Art of Luxury you will not be disappointed.dsc_0289

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Contact Travel with T @ TravelwithTtoday.com to discover your next destination discovery

An Amazing Journey Europe’s Christmas Markets

 

magicalchristmasmarkets_CZECHREPUBLIC_Prague_ss_446259364_hero

The air is crisp and the scents of spice and roasted chestnuts are in the air as you walk through the village inspired Christmas scenes.   As you glance around you notice Christmas lights fill the streets with a soft warm glow where bobbles, bows, candy and special treasures await. It’s an old world style atmosphere, markets are often at the center of town squares  beneath the spires of the local parish church steeples.   Laughter and music fills the air as shoppers pass by snuggled in their winter coats.    There is just something about Europe’s Christmas Markets that I don’t feel we have quite captured in the United States.  Perhaps it’s the community aspect, the gathering together sipping mulled wine as you let go the stress of the day. Perhaps it’s people coming together and catching up as they experience the warmth of Gluhwein and nibble on delectable pastries.  Europe’s Christmas Markets are simply Magical.

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Europe’s Christmas Markets

It’s the start of Holiday Season as during the first weekend of Advent Christmas Markets begin to pop up throughout Europe.  This annual tradition has been bringing happiness to locals and visitors alike for centuries.  It’s almost like you have been transported back in time to a place of happy memories and the warmth of the season.    Christmas carols surround you as you experience your first glance of the sparkle of snowflakes as they gently fall around the merchants selling their wares.  Many of these markets can take over blocks and blocks and are filled with everything Christmas.

 

 

img_1993
Germany’s Christmas Markets

Your taste buds will be filled with sweet, spice, and nutty flavors.  The food of the Christmas markets change with the village or city and sausage rules and changes according to region.  Gluhwein which is a mulled style of spice wine also changes with region, hot coco, and even non alcoholic versions are available for those who don’t imbibe.  Every market also provides a mug for your journey.  You can choose to turn it in after your visit for a deposit refund or take it with you as a souvenir.  These make great little keepsakes and or gifts.

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Christmas Market Food

The Markets are filled with everything from food to trinkets.  Many favorites are the classic wooden Christmas ornaments.  Lace and varieties of Christmas ornaments are also available and many of the items in the markets are hand crafted from local artisans.

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Europe’s Christmas Markets these are a bucket list item
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Europe’s Christmas Markets

Bundle up though as winter is starting to set in and you will appreciate the warmth of the heat lamps that surround some of the merchants.  If you forget something don’t worry you will find many selections of hats, mittens, scarves, and socks.  I recommend a couple of cups of the local Gluhwein to spice up and warm up the day or evening.  It will slowly melt away any breath of cold that sweeps the area.

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Travel with T at the Christmas Markets in Europe

If you are a lover of all things Christmas I can’t recommend these enough.  Once you go every year you will have a longing to re experience the magic again and again.  Christmas in Europe is a memory maker.  Experiences are to me more precious then things so go out and experience and build your memories.  Better yet make it a River Cruise where you can see and experience these treasures as you glide along one of Europe’s historic waterways.

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Half Timbered house of Germany’s Christmas Markets

magicalchristmasmarkets_passau_ss_335396879_gallery

Book your Christmas Market visit or River Cruise with Travel with T @ Travel Plus of NC

www.travelwithttoday.com www.travelplusofnc.com

Why River Cruising is the best way to see Europe

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Travel with T Photography

I have experienced one of the best ways to see certain parts of Europe in a short amount of time which is the American Vacation and that is River Cruising.   Everything is taken care of including getting around the various countries.  No worries over hotels, where to eat, what to do, and countless hours getting to and from someplace.

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In late fall right around Thanksgiving we opted for a different style of travel.  We selected our first River Cruise.  We were very delighted and extremely satisfied and discovered this type is travel is well suited to the luxury minimalist.  There is nothing more satisfying then gliding down one of Europe’s ancient waterways in complete comfort.   From castles, to historic cities, to story book villages you are traveling on a luxury hotel and your trip is as smooth as glass in more ways then one.

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Think luxury hotel, concierge, all inclusive, all in a pace to allow you to see the sights and sounds of a delightful cities along the way.   Think someone to take care of you every step of your journey from your room to your food and drink now this is river cruising.   Comfort, elegance, active, romantic are some of the words I would use to describe this wonderful mode of travel.   For me I discovered there really isn’t anything more romantic than sitting with a glass of wine as you glide down the Rhine taking in the sights of Europe.  Sitting back and just dreaming of how throughout the centuries people have traveled along this river.  Then to think you are doing the same thing except with a little more elegance and definitely more comfort.

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Travel with T Photography

We opted to cruise the Rhine over the holidays and just in time for the start of Advent season.  What a charming time of the year, everything is decorated in Christmas splendor and the Christmas markets are a wonderful breath of fresh air.  You are surrounded by extraordinary delectable delicacies to suit any fancy.

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Travel with T Photography

Now being the luxury minimalist the timing is very good because the prices have dropped, this makes it a great value for the product you are getting. Edging into winter the temperatures are dropping, the sun sets earlier and it is becoming colder.  Fair weathered travelers don’t necessarily want to travel because temperatures are often not ideal.  The crowds are fewer because it is cooler.  Yet here you will discover the Christmas markets which always seem to have crowds.   They are filled with delightful smells and the warmth of many of Europe’s traditional Christmas pastries.   Here you just join in the fun and have a glass of Gluewhine (hot spiced wine)  one of my favorite little indulgences.  A visit to Europe during this time is magical. and a whirl wind of colors that fill the eyes with an experience you will not likely forget.

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The lines are pretty much non existent and you can see what you desire without the rush of summer travel.   You can visit many awe inspirational places of prayer and worship without the press of time from those who in summer are rushing to get to the next tourist attraction.  The brisk weather creates an experience not be missed as the clouds and mist gather around your backdrop of castles.  It is completely magical.

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Travel with T Photography

So if you really want to see Europe and experience some amazing travel try off season travel.   Bundle up enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas in Europe and try and book a River-cruise you won’t regret it.   It can really save you some money, time, and is a great value.  It appeals to my luxury minimalist style which means it comes in a a great price for a valuable product.

I would love to help you plan your next River Cruise.  Just send me a little note and let me know what you are looking for.

 

Why Germany should be on your travel radar!

In Paris I found fashion, history, and beauty and in Germany along the Rhine I have found a picturesque beauty that people often think about when looking at the Rhine.  My story is from the eyes of a River Cruise through the Rhine from

The weather for the first part of our trip has been classic winter slightly misty but not too cold at all.

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View from Marksburg Castle, Koblenz

As the mist rolls over the Rhine it provides a beautiful romantic backdrop. Some say it is dreary  I tend to think romance and it feels my soul with warmth.  Not the warmth of a summer day but that of a warm hearth fire as I sit drinking warm wine or as most would say gluhwein.  A combination of red wine (sometimes white) mulled spices, and oranges.  It is available throughout Europe really during the Christmas Season at all the Christmas Markets.

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Europe’s Christmas Markets these are a bucket list item

I am in love with the small villages along this portion of the Rhine.  They are absolutely incredible.  Dating back centuries for many which traveling from the US is quite different than what we are used too.    This history of occupation that the various places go through a lesson all by itself.

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The Castles throughout the Rhine are amazing and you will not tire of seeing and hearing about their history.  From the Katz and Maus Castles to Pflz fortress that sits on a rock in the middle of the river.

Marksburg Castle

Cologne is I am sure a favorite of many as it’s history is rich.  The Roman’s founded Colonia Agrippina their first settlement.  Christianity was introduced here with the Roman’s and this city became a seat for the Bishop.  There are many left over vestiges such as Roman walls and such along the street.  The Cathedral is an amazing site to see with it’s Gothic Archetecture.   The background story is that it was begun in the year 1248 and continued over many years finally being finished in 1880.   It largely escaped damage that completely ravaged the city during World War II.  It’s iconic two soaring spires symbolize the city.

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View from Cologne Cathdral
Cologne City Lights from Cathedral
View from Top of Cologne Cathedral

As you proceed along the Rhine you will come to Koblenz, the Middle Rhine and Rudesheim.   This is where you will discover Marksburg Castle which overlooks a town called Braubach.   The castle itself is one of the best preserved onthe Rhine.   It was never besieged by enemies due to it’s remarkable fortification.   It really looks like it did when it was built about 700 years earlier.

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One of my favorite things in the winter and Christmas Season are Europe’s and Germany’s Christmas Markets.  They fill the streets and many are placed right by the local Cathedral which presents a stunning back drop to the market itself.

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You are able to pick up many items such as ornaments, gloves, scarves, and lots of local craft items.   My favorite though is the food it is varied to the region and is presented in a stunning array of colors and designs.   For a foodie this is absolutely amazing and the food is fantastic.  From pastries, to cheeses, to sausages, and much more your mouth will be watering.   Then of course you top it all off with a glass of Gluhwein and paradise has arrived.

Many of these Christmas Markets are set with the Cathedral in the background which brings a stunning historic beauty to the scene.  Nothing compares really.  If you have not been it is a must trip.  Early in the season of Advent is not bad.  We arrived just after the season started and the markets were filled but still manageable.

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If you are looking for a great way to see Germany, I would love to say Viking!   It is a fantastic way to see quite a number of places in the short amount of time you might have.   It’s a blend of various cities, styles, and culture all wrapped up in one trip.  This was from our Rhine Getaway trip.

Go on and open it

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Go on and open the door! Once you do you will never be the same.

I would love to hear if you have been to Europe’s Christmas Markets and if not I would love to help you go.  After all this is how I make me living.   Ready to book give me a call.