Get into the Christmas Spirit Touring Germany’s German Christmas Markets
Kris Kringle was a jolly old man who has brought joy to many children during Christmas since as far back as the 3rd century, according to historians.
Some say the elflike man, St. Nicholas who was the Bishop of Mira, originated somewhere in southwestern Turkey somewhere around the 3rd or 4th century. He became the patron saint of children, sailors, unmarried girls and many other souls after his death on Dec. 6. Around the same time, Pope Julius was seeking to claim a date for the birth of Jesus. The pope chose Dec. 25, which was the popular Solstice festival celebrated by the pagans in hope to convert them to Christianity. Eventually, the celebration of St. Nick merged with the pope’s designated day to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
His legend superseded him into Europe where various cultures adopted St. Nick and created their own colorful and spirited celebrations of the generous saint who visited houses on the eve of Christmas gathering the treats left him by children. He then came to America where he met even more widespread commercialism. Modern day legend has St. Nick delivering toys and towns lighting up to celebrate the season around the world.
No one brings to life the celebration of the traditional Christmas spirit than Germany, the home of gingerbread houses, classic images of Kris Kringle and of course the German Christmas Markets. This year TourCrafters takes families and Christmas lovers alike on a weeklong holiday tour to the legendary German Christmas Markets on the German Christmas Markets Tour.
Christmas is a magical time in Germany, with sparkling lights, decorated streets, and stalls selling hot chestnuts, grilled bratwurst, gingerbread and Gluhwein (mulled wine) everywhere. Giant Christmas trees and concerts of Yuletide music add to the festivities. And the markets offer traditional crafts—toys, marionettes, jewelry, pottery, teddy bears and lambskin slippers—all hand crafted.
TourCrafters takes in the highlights: Frankfurt, with its 600-year-old market; a sightseeing tour of UNESCO Heritage Site Wurzburg and its historic market; and a tour of the walled medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and its legendary market. In Nuremberg there’s a city tour and visit to the Old Quarter’s Christkindlesmarkt, Germany’s most famous Christmas market. In Regensburg, an ancient city on the Danube founded by the Romans, there are several Christmas markets.
Munich combines the atmosphere of a charming historic city with that of a modern metropolis. Here you’ll tour the main attractions, including Marienplatz, where the Christmas Market started in 1642. From Munich it’s a short trip to Germany’s winter sports capital, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and a stunning view of the snow-capped Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. Then it’s on to Neuschwanstein, the definitive fairytale castle built by “Mad” King Ludwig, and Stuttgart to see a winter wonderland on Palace Square and the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The tour ends with the romantic old university town of Heidelberg, where there’s a tour of the picturesque castle on the Neckar River and a Christmas Market spread over five historic squares before returning to Frankfurt.
The six day escorted tour by an English speaking guide departs Frankfurt, Germany Dec. 8. The tour includes luxury accommodations at 4-star hotels, transportation, daily buffet breakfast, tours and excursions, and admission to Heidelberg and Neuschwanstein castles for $1,605 per traveler and doesn’t include transatlantic airfare.
To get into the Christmas spirit in Germany, visit TourCrafters or call 800-482-5995.
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