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Colleen & Catie’s Picks for International Holiday Travel
Accommodations: Das Central Hotel – Sölden, Austria – 5 star luxury, alpine-style hotel in the alps. Spa, skiing, dining.
The main Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve. It’s often ‘Gebackener Karpfen’ (fried carp) as the main course.
Dessert is often chocolate and apricot cake ‘Sachertorte’ and Austrian Christmas cookies ‘Weihnachtsbaeckerei’ like ‘Lebkuchen’ (honey gingerbread) and ‘Vanillekipferl’ (almond cookies made in the shape of a horse shoe).
‘Christkindlmarkt’ (Christmas market) from late November or early December, selling Christmas decorations, food (like gingerbread) and Glühwein (sweet, warm mulled wine).
Every year, Austria’s capital city, Vienna, holds a world famous classical music concert ‘NeuJahrsKonzert’ which takes place during the morning of New Year’s day. The concert is played by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Another famous event that happens over the new year in Austria and Germany is the Ski Jumping ‘Four Hills Tournament’ (‘Vierschanzentournee’). It starts in Germany with Oberstdorf (Germany) on the 29th or 30th December and Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) on New Year’s Day; and continues in Austria with Innsbruck (Austria) on 3rd or 4th of January and Bischofshofen (Austria) on the 6th January.
Tips for International Holiday Travel:
Fly at undesirable times – 4am might not be your favorite time to fly, but you’ll beat the crowds and maybe even get a better deal.
Fly on the holiday itself. A lot of people don’t like to do this but you’ll be sure to beat the crowds.
Plan a post-holiday staycation. Even if you travel for Christmas, make sure to pad in some time at home to unwind after the holidays before you go back to work.
Consider getting Global Entry if you fly international often.
Destination: London, United Kingdom
Accommodations: The Athenaeum – An award-winning, family-run hotel is located in the heart of Mayfair, opposite Royal Green Park.
In the UK, the main Christmas Meal is usually eaten at lunchtime or early afternoon on Christmas Day.
It’s normally roast turkey, roast vegetables and ‘all the trimmings’ (carrots & peas, stuffing and sometimes bacon and sausages, cranberry sauce and bread sauce, and often brussel sprouts.)
Trifle is a popular dessert at Christmas. It’s made in a large bowl and consists of a layer of sponge cake (or sponge fingers) at the bottom of the bowl (which is often soaked in sherry or brandy) then there’s a layer of fruit (normally in a fruit flavored jelly) and it’s topped with a layer of custard and then whipped cream.
The UK is also famous for Christmas Cake – a rich fruit cake covered with marzipan and icing.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – London’s largest Christmas fair
Christmas at Kew – Follow a mile-long path through London’s most famous botanic gardens for an extraordinary Christmas light show.
The most famous X-mas lights in the UK are in Oxford St in London
LEGO has taken over The Savoy hotel, where guests can expect to see extensive LEGO builds throughout the hotel including a dragon Christmas tree, a LEGO sleigh, and more.
Churches may do a a Carols by Candlelight Service where the church is only lit up by candles.
Tips for Holiday Travel:
Avoid basic economy – And not just for the holidays!
Ship your gifts ahead of time instead of trying to bring them through security or on the plane.
If you’re visiting family, consider staying in a hotel (depending on how well you get along with your family). This might help to relieve some stress by giving you and your hosts some time apart.
Gifts for Every Kind of Traveler
For the Traveling Reader: Kobo Libra H2O
Cost: $179.99 at www.Kobo.com
This next-generation e-reader allows the traveling reader to bring this lightweight reader on the plane or in their purse. They can also enjoy a book by the pool or in the bath without worrying, as it’s water-resistant with endurance of up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of freshwater.
For the Teenager or Young Traveler on the Go: Yatra Aquatune 5712 Waterproof Speaker
Cost: $39.99 on Amazon
Great for bringing anywhere. Small, fits in the palm of your hand. Lightweight, so great for travel. Plus it’s waterproof! Let it float in the pool or bring it into the shower. Simply connect to your bluetooth and enjoy! Very easy to use, and rechargeable.
For the Traveling Foodie: Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese
Cost: Various at https://cravecheese.com
Send a cheese package to your favorite foodie and give them a taste of Waterloo, Wisconsin. They’ll make sure they ship it chilled and fresh right to your door.
For the Homebodies or Grandparents: Acorn TV – DVDs or Yearly Subscription
Cost: $59.99 – Yearly subscription to Acorn TV, or individual DVDs and box sets available for $24.99 and up at https://acorn.tv
Top-rated British Mystery shows available either on DVD or through a yearly subscription. Miss Fisher, Midsomer Murders and The Brokenwood Mysteries
For the Traveler Who Has Everything: Adopt a Saint Germain Star™
Cost: $150 donation at https://preservesaintgermain.onlinepresskit247.com
For the person who has everything or who loves architecture and history, this is a great gift. Attribute one of the stars in Paris’ 1,500-year-old church of Saint Germain des Prés, strikingly beautiful celestial ceilings to someone important in your life.