Normally I try to focus on places I have been (or will be going shortly) for my Travel Thursday posts; however, this one is going to be slightly different! I like to be at home with friends and family for the holiday season, and enjoying our snowy traditions. (Definitely going to have to go up into the mountains when I’m in Seattle…) However, there are some holiday destinations that I would love to see and will probably pick away at these over the years. This is my dream Christmas travel list that I will one day be able to complete!
1. Bath Christmas Market
Okay, I realise that the Christmas market at Bath isn’t necessarily the biggest or most well-known market in Europe, but it’s been recommended to me by several people, including my cousin who has never once led me astray in her travel recommendations! (It also has won several awards, if you were curious. The only question I have, is how do I get on the panel for Christmas market awards?) Described on the market’s website as “over 200 twinkling chalets spread out across the picturesque Georgian streets of Bath”, I’m already sold; Christmas, Georgian architecture, and twinkling lights?? Three of my favourite things. I suppose that the North American equivalent of the Christmas market is the craft sale, but they typically aren’t all Christmas themed. I firmly believe that Christmas markets are where it’s at. Also, being that it is in Bath, I would obviously have to indulge my Austenite side and spend some time with one of my favourite authors! Although it isn’t my period of study, I love engaging with the Regency and Georgian period, it’s such an interesting time in English history. Being able to see the Royal Crescent covered in snow and lights? That would be the perfect postcard! And being the historian that I am, of course visiting the Roman baths (and possibly the modern spa as well…). Seems like the perfect Christmas trip to me!
2. Lapland, Finland
So, I think that all of us know that Santa is Canadian (being that he lives at “North Pole, Canada, HOH OHO), and given our snowy and conifer laden landscapes seem the perfect place for reindeer and elves to scamper about, it’s not a huge stretch. However, if I were to admit that Santa lived anywhere else in the world, it would definitely have to be Lapland, Finland. The most northern region (not province, as of 2010) in Finland, Lapland is that same wintery, snowy paradise with more reindeer than anyone could imagine. You can sleep in huts with glass roofs to watch the Northern lights- while I can do this in several places in Canada, it would be far cooler to do it in Finland! You can enjoy a bonfire outside while looking at the most gorgeous scenery, and then go on a sleigh ride pulled by reindeer. (I don’t know if my reindeer love is coming through, but it’s there.) I don’t know how domesticated these reindeer at the resorts are, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. And the number one thing I would do? Dog sledding! I mean, my brother has two huskies, so I already love the breed to bits, but I don’t know that Thor and Loki really want to pull me around on a kick-sled for a couple of hours… If you tell me that I can hang out with huskies for a day while exploring the Finnish countryside, I will already be mapping out a trip!
I understand that Bavaria is a large area and in fact a state in Germany, but there are several things there that I want to see! First of all, Schloss Neuschwanstein is gorgeous at time of the year, but if I’m ever able to make it there I want to see it in the winter- I want to look out of the window of one of those impossibly high turrets and see a mountain full of snowy trees and drifts with tiny critters frolicking. (IT WILL HAPPEN, OKAY??) My other big reason for wanting to visit Bavaria (and Germany in general) is because of the Christmas markets! The Munich Christmas Market and Nuremberg Christmas markets both look to be AMAZING, and as someone who actually studies the history of Christmas, German Christmas traditions play a large role in the Western Christmas traditions that we know and love today. Being that I collect ornaments, being able to find some at a German Christmas market would be a big highlight for me! Finally, I would have to visit Schloss Rosenau in Coburg, the birth place of Prince Albert (consort to Victoria)! Victoria and Albert were a big conduit for those aforementioned German traditions making their way west, and some of their traditions are still observed in the British Royal Family today! (I’m a history nerd, okay…)
Now I know that London isn’t theoretically related to Christmas but I would love to see the Christmas displays at Harrods and Fortnum and Mason and Liberty London (which is probably going to lead to one of my favourite things, shopping…) and wander about in the quiet time when most people are with their family. (Unless for some reason my whole family is with me, and then this probably won’t happen….) I know that the chances of snow sticking around for Christmas is pretty rare, but that’s the ultimate dream… I think I would try to visit all five Historic Royal Palaces, as they all have their own holiday traditions- including a Victorian Christmas at Kensington Palace!! Obviously if I’m in London at Christmas, I will have to see The Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, and hopefully a production of A Christmas Carol. (For people who have seen it in London, is it better when it’s actually in London??) And although it’s not specifically in London, I really want to go back to the Harry Potter Studio Tour to see Hogwarts in the Snow and all of the Harry-related holiday things! Honestly, I will visit London at any time of the year, but being able to visit one of my favourite cities at my absolute favourite time of year is a dream!
Where are your favourite “Christmas/holiday places”? Any and all recommendations welcome, please!