Afternoon InquisitionRandom Asides

AI: European Flash Trip

At press time, I’m boarding a plane to Nashville for a brief stay, and then I’m immediately off to Europe for Christmas. Right now I’m looking at stops in Germany, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, and Austria; some places with good skiiing, good Christmas markets, or both. But I’m traveling with my brother, and he and I don’t like schedules too much. The four winds have always been the best guide, but you can help them out. What would you recommend if your starting point was a major hub, say Frankfurt?

European skeptics sound off!

Are you traveling for the holidays? Where? What will your Christmas be like? What kind of fun can a gruff but loveable Yank have in Europe in a short 12 day span? Where is the best place to go for music, laughs, and general debauchery? Would you freak out if I showed up on your doorstep? What if I brought Wassail?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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19 Comments

  1. I’d look for some smaller towns for Christmas Eve or Day if you know there’ll be doing some kind of traditional festivities or event. And I’ve always wanted to be someplace like Salzburg Austria for Christmas just because it looks like such a beautiful city and location. Also I’d just strike up conversations with the locals and get recommendations when you get there and I’m sure you’ll find all the seasonal debauchery you want!
    Have a great time!!
    ~Jealous

  2. I lived in Denmark for a year as a teenager, and I have to say the Copenhagen is a wonderful place to be during Christmas! Make sure you go to Tivoli and drink up the gløg! Strøget – the main shopping street – is fabulously lit up for the holidays!

    I echo James – *jealous*

  3. My company has 4 official holidays and 3 mandatory days off. Everyone will be gone. I plan to get some serious coding done in a quiet, meeting-free, phonecall-free, email-free blissful solitude.

  4. I have no plans for x-mas as I don’t celebrate it. I have 4 days off though and that means tons of hat-making.

    As for showing up on my doorstep, go ahead, though I’m in the opposite direction (L.A.) and what’s wassail?

  5. I’m going to travel, visit my family. Me and my siblings will all go to my parents. We might take a day trip to visit my grandmother and other relatives. My Christmas will be a quiet and nice one in my childhood home.

    I would recommend a stop at Karlsruhe or Stuttgart for a Christmas Market.

    Ask around for the nicest pub, most people have a favorite they can recommend in the city you are staying in. When you find a nice pub, try some glögg or Glühwein (that’s mulled wine).

    You would be welcome at my doorstep, but I think Finland is a bit out of the way for you.

  6. I would like to echo James Fox on Salzburg. Also go on the salt mine tour just across the border in Germany.

    In Switzerland we enjoyed the small city of Basel, and the lovely town of Stein am Rhein, which is near where the Rhine River leaves Lake Constance.

  7. If you can travel by train for part of this trip, it might help you get a better sense of how Europe is tightly knit together.
    Besides any part of Switzerland/Austria (Geneva to Basel, or Zurich to Wien), I’d recommend going up from Frankfurt (or even from Basel) toward Hamburg and Bremen, along the Rhein, you get to see the Lorelei and other nice sceneries.

  8. I wouldn’t freak out if you showed up at my door step. But you’d have a lobster roll, not Wassel, for I am in Maine. And you’d be terribly, terribly lost.

    If it were me, the heck with the small towns, I’d head for Paris or any big city. I’m from Philly originally and BIG CITIES on the Holidays = greater likelihood for debauchery? Why? Statistics! There’s more people to debauch with.

    Enjoy!

  9. If you’re starting in Frankfurt you could do worse than stay quite local. Take in the Christmarkt there, or take the train to Stuttgart or Heidelberg. Actually, if you’ve never visited it before, Heidelberg’s a must see. You could go to Strasbourg in French Alsace, Freiburg is a beautiful smaller German city if you want to make your way down to, say Basel in Switzerland on your way to the Swiss alps; or you could go East to Munich and Bavaria, then South again to Austria… There’s a lot to choose from, thes are just a few ideas to get you started.

    If you want to go skiing, you could do a lot worse than Serfaus in Austria.

    (DOI – my wife is from the Black Forest in South Germany…)

  10. Caught a bit of internet time.

    Thanks for all the sugestions. You guys arfe the best.

    I have been in the region before, so I won’t be totally lost, but I am def going to look into some of the suggestions (time permitting).

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