When I was at university I travelled Europe by train, ticking off most of the major cities (well, as many as could be done hungover and in 6 weeks). Scandinavia as a whole was somewhere we pretty much bypassed, Denmark was one country we didn’t venture in to, but all is not lost, as I think I would have experienced a very different kind of Denmark to the kind I’ll experience now. Copenhagen is supposed to be one of the most child-friendly cities in Europe, and it is also a quick (and cheap) flight away. It’s cobbled, it’s cultural and the harbor front would make for a great Instagram picture, so it’s a winner with me. At Christmas, Copenhagen has even more to offer, Tivoli Gardens, Christmas Markets and a traditional Danish treats on every corner, so we really can’t go wrong.
Christmas in New York is the ultimate goal. It can fulfill my childhood fantasy after one too many re-runs of Eloise At Christmas Time and Home Alone. I have no love for New York in Summer, it’s busy, a bit smelly and extremely crowded, but I have a funny feeling that at Christmas time none of those will matter. One day when I’m rich and have money to throw away we’ll stay at the Plaza Hotel and take a ride on a horse and carriage with blankets over us in Times Square.. but for now, I’ll keep dreaming.
Venice has always been up there on my travel list. I’ve had a vivid image of sailing down a winding canal in a gondola with my one true love in the back of my head for years, little did I know when it came true I’d also probably be hanging on to a toddler for dear life. The main thing that stopped me from booking Venice during summer was a strong desire not to waste my first time there. It’s idealist, but I have these visions of what it looks like and I’d like them to remain that way. Everything I’ve read has also told me that the streets of Venice are extremely busy and the hustle and bustle of the city mean a buggy is a no-go in the peak months. Winter, is not one of them and everyone suggests it’s much quite over Christmas – even accommodation is much more affordable over these months, and Clickstay have some wonderful properties right in the centre. (This is still off of the list based on one key fact. Venice is built on water. My child has just learnt to run everywhere and enjoys practicing that hobby. Reins would be a requirement, but I’m not sure I want to spend my entire trip wondering if my child is going to try and dive into the water surrounding us.)
If I was to think of one place that screams Christmas (after New York) it would be anywhere in Germany. Munich is the third biggest city in Germany, but the number one on my list. There are roughly 17 Christmas Markets in Munich (Yes, 17!) Almost everything is closed in Munich on the 24th, but it would be a lovely opportunity to cosy up in an Air B&B, or take a stroll when the city would be deserted. From Munich, Austria is a short train journey away and it would be brilliant to tick off two bucket list places in one trip. It’s renowned for the beer, the markets and the desserts, so it’s safe to say the full family would be kept happy. There are some brilliant voucher codes available right now for cheap flights, which of course makes it all even more tempting.
I could try and sell Glasgow in a little paragraph here. I could tell you about the Christmas Markets, or George Square, or the lovely weather Scotland is blessed with. But I won’t bother. I’ll just tell you that Glasgow is home, and at Christmas that really does make all the difference. I think sometimes we forget exactly what our home towns have to offer us, we focus so easily on the negatives that we forget all of the positives. At Christmas, Glasgow can be amazing, and it also offers us the comfort of our couch, our own Christmas tree, no added stress of having to take presents with us abroad. Christmas at home is what we are used to, what we know.
I initially had a plan to end this blog post on a beautiful sentiment about how although traveling abroad at Christmas can seem brilliant, nothing will beat time at home (grass is always greener, blah blah). Truth be told, find me anyone who can write about spending the festive period in New York -in the plaza hotel- who would then choose to spend it at home and I’ll send you a medal. I do not know what Christmas 2018 will bring, but I definitely have a few options now. Would you ever spend Christmas abroad?