Are you a procrastinator when it comes to gift giving? Why not be ahead of the curve this year and take off to the German “Holiday Markets of the Rhine and Main Rivers” for the outdoor Christmas markets featuring local crafts and regional cuisine. Marjory DeRoeck of Lafayette’s All About Image said, “It was a great way to get all my Christmas shopping done.”
She left for Munich Nov. 30 from SFO, returning Dec. 6 with Vantage, on a river cruise ship, visiting markets in Würzburg, Rothenburg, Bamberg, Wertheim and Frankfurt. “We also were escorted on wonderful side trips to see such historic sights as the Heidelberg Castle, Gutenberg Museum and Cathedral, Rudesheim’s Musikkabinett, with beautiful old music boxes and player pianos, and Cologne’s Gothic Cathedral and Shrine of the 3 Magi,” said DeRoeck.
Orinda resident and local artist Ann Testa was drawn to the trip because she had lived in Germany in the past. “The markets are much more commercial now,” notes Testa. “Yet there are still a lot of handmade crafts.” She also remembered that they were entirely fortunate with the weather. Among the things she liked the most, “there were a lot of young Germans sitting at the food stand drinking beer and Gluwein, a type of mulled wine, and eating bratwurst. They were chatting and enjoying themselves. It was a big place to gather. No matter where I travel, I always pick up new ideas. At the Lafayette Gallery, I’ll probably have some Christmas Angels this year.”
Speaking of angels, I met Paola Gianturco at a Book Passage Travel Writers Conference this summer. The Bay Area author of “Women Who Light the Dark,” has a slew of gift giving suggestions under the “shop wisely” section of her Web site. The “shop for change” store offers products by talented craftswomen who live in areas of conflict. How about a gift that furthers peace? The Jerusalem Candle of Hope is made by women of Israel and Palestine. The candle is available through the Amber Chand Collection.
Nancy Brown grew up in Moraga and lives in Lafayette with her husband and children. Send news of your adventures to NancyBrownConsulting@comcast.net.
Tags: San Sebastian, Spain, Travel, Travel Writer, What a Trip