Posts Tagged With: Christmas

Tumbleweeds, Anyone?

Empty Streets of Baden-Baden

Empty Streets of Baden-Baden

I found myself in Baden-Baden for Christmas this year and with absolutely no prior research, I was expecting it to be a winter wonderland.  Once again, I was WRONG (turns out my internal weather predictor is also broken!) as the weather proved to be rather pleasant in a no need for a jacket kind of way.  Without a shadow of a doubt, it looked like I’d be having yet another Green Christmas this year.  Truth be told, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this but when you’re in the mood for a little snow, this little detail is nothing if not heartbreaking.

Nevertheless, with jacket in hand, I went off to explore all that Baden-Baden had to offer.  Despite the fact that our tour specifically stopped in this little German town over Christmas, it was essentially shut down for the holidays.  Nothing was open.  The thermal spas that the town is known for were closed.  The shops (some mighty fine vintage finds I might add) were also closed.  Even the Christmas Markets all about town were closed.  If I’ve ever been in a setting ideal for the beginning of a horror movie than this was it.  Aside from the 40 of us on tour, the streets were empty.  It was as though we were at the beginning of a slasher film and everyone was in awe of this picturesque small town and not seeing the evil that was bubbling just underneath the surface.  If I’ve learned anything from horror movies, it’s to stay with the group and I did just that.  Despite the fact that I wanted to see the castle, I stayed with the largest portion of my tour group and explored whatever they wanted as day turned to night.

Smack In The Middle Of Town

Smack In The Middle Of Town

Beautiful Cathedral Found On Our Walk

Beautiful Cathedral Found On Our Walk

On the surface, all seemed alright and I started to think that maybe I should expect nothing more than a quiet dinner with group before calling it a night in this sleepy little town were internet wasn’t a necessity in life!  This is where I went wrong for the second time that day.  After the sun had set, the people in this town all started to emerge.  Perfect and beautiful in that just stepped out of Gossip Girl kind of way, they all appeared one after another and started to congregate in the nightclub we were in.  They were young (pale too I might add but don’t worry, I reminded myself that vampires are a myth and not proven fact) and out like it was your average Tuesday night.  There were no signs of it being Christmas eve, there were no ugly jumpers, or families out together.  They were the young and beautiful who looked like they had spent the last 5 hours grooming for the evening.  As they quietly swayed to the techno beat, I looked around in awe and not sure what to make of it.

As I escaped the nightclub with a fellow traveller, we couldn’t stop talking about how weird it all was.  Its Christmas and yet the queue to get into the place we were abandoning was around the block.  I’m glad that I gave it a go and celebrated Christmas Eve as they do but I’m 100% certain that I’ll never ever do Christmas in Baden-Baden again even though I have full intentions heading back to this town someday.  Hopefully it will be when the crowds are out and the stores are open and I can just sit back and relax instead of worrying about what lies beneath.

Categories: GERMANY, germany: baden-baden | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Festively Dressing Up Naked Limbs!

Ever since I built my first pin-hole camera, trees were one of my all time favourite subjects and so why would I expect my photos from the recent tour of the German Christmas Markets not to have an abundant of them is beyond me.  As I sort and examine over 1,000 photos taken on the 11 day tour, I figured it was only right to share my favourite 3 that have been all dressed up for the holiday season.

Cologne Christmas Market Beauty

Cologne Christmas Market Beauty

All Dressed Up for the Cologne Christmas Market

All Dressed Up for the Cologne Christmas Market

The Beauty On The Streets of Baden-Baden

The Beauty On The Streets of Baden-Baden



Categories: GERMANY, germany: baden-baden, germany: cologne | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Christmassy

The BOXCar

By TheBOX featured Travel Writer and Photographer: Sharen Ram

When it came to the holidays this year, I decided to ignore my gut on fleeing to a sun destination and enjoy all that this time of year had to offer in Europe.  After all, who knows how long I’ll be calling this part of the world home so figured there’s no time like the present to experience Europe the way I had dreamed.  In my head, Christmas and Germany seemed to go hand in hand and before long, I had images of a winter wonderland dancing around in my  head.  Come on, who wouldn’t have been excited at the idea of a little snow and a lot of gluhwein to make it feel a lot like Christmas, right?  After an internal debate and a quick internet search, I was booked on a tour known as the Festive Escape.  I figure…

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Categories: GERMANY, germany: cologne | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Says Christmas Like A Pub Crawl!


The 12 Pubs of Christmas was something I’d never heard of until I set foot on Irish soil. Leave it to the Irish to kick off the holiday season (yes, my politically correct “North American” term that my Irish coworkers detest) with copious amounts of drinking while wearing a tacky jumper. The rules are simple – get your friends together, dress up Christmassy, and hit 12 pubs where you have 30 mins in each establishment to down 1 pint or shot.

I wound up buying a rather pricey red Rudolph jumper and assembling a group that resembled the United Nations and set off to hits the pubs up and down my street. In no tome flat, I was corrected by the Irish in the bunch that my drink of choice didn’t qualify as a real drink. Turns out a vodka soda is only half a drink and I would have to down double vodka sodas to be legit!

Truth be told, I only took on the doubles when it was his shout as it was the only to avoid a little holiday stomach pumping…yeah! All in all, it was a good night and we made it to 12 pubs and a random Asian karaoke bar but I only managed to drink in 8 before closing time rolled around and we had to call it a night. If you’re ever in Ireland during the festive season – this is one ritual that I’d highly recommend if for nothing else but interestingly tacky attire.

Our 12 Pubs Mascot at the beginning of the night - by the end she was nothing but twigs with mementos from each pub

Our 12 Pubs Mascot at the beginning of the night – by the end she was nothing but twigs with mementos from each pub

Categories: IRELAND, ireland: dublin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So This Is Christmas…

The fish in our snorkelling area

Christmas Day rolled around and I found myself getting out of bed feeling sick.  Damn you flu!  But before I could complain and sulk about it, my kiwi travel-mate told me to get over it as we were heading out to the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel on a beautiful day.  So I put on my best “I’m not sick face” and got ready for our trip.

I had visions of finding Nemo dancing in my head as we headed out into the sea and kept drinking tea in order to drown the flu.  By the time we arrived, I was armed with my stinger suit (essentially a human condom used as protection from jellyfish…take that jellyfish!), flippers, a snorkel mask, and a can-do attitude.  Strangely, before I knew it, I was in the water and feeling panicky.  Don’t feel sorry for me though as my kiwi travel-mate came to the rescue once again by telling me to snap out of it and got me out of my head and snorkelling my little heart out.

The cherry on top that day was that I took to the sky to view the reef… hello, my name is Sharen and I’m addicted to helicopter rides! 

View from the sky

It was beautiful and worth being the unprepared and slightly wet chick running to catch the flight in a bikini (did I mention that there were 3 people on my flight and I was the only one not fully clothed).  If I had taken a few seconds to think about it – it might have made me self-conscious but instead, I just enjoyed the views and forgot about the details.  This may not have been the typical Christmas but still just as enjoyable.

Categories: au: cairns, AUSTRALIA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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