Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2012

Christmas in Germany, part II

Fritz and I took a weekend and visited the Christmas markets in Heidelberg and Ruedesheim am Rhein, both about an hour from Frankfurt by train.   These were still quite popular, but no where as overcrowded as Frankfurt.

Heidelberg itself is well worth seeing - it's got a castle, lovely old town and a scenic bridge over the river.   Another tip - we couldn't find a non-touristy, yet authentic enough restaurant with free tables, so we ate at the cafeteria in the department store.  Good value for money and a great view of the city.

One thing I love in German Christmas markets are the kitch mugs.  When you buy mulled wine or hot cocoa, you put down a deposit on the mug (rather than environmentally unfriendly paper cups!) and you can also keep them as souvenirs.

Rudesheim am Rhein is an adorable village in Germany's best known wine-producing region.  We visited the market, then took a hike up to the top of the hill.

Dogs are widely excepted in restaurants in Germany, but some go the extra mile (or kilometre).  The sign here says that dogs are heartily welcome.

Christmas in Germany, part I

My first German textbook was entitled "Neue Freunde" - or "New Friends" - and Fritz and I certainly made quite a few new friends in Germany.  Germany is very dog-friendly and we met other dog-walkers and dog-lovers.

I was in Frankfurt for work right before Christmas.  The city has has some great parks, including a lovely one right along the River Main.

We also visited the Frankfurt Christmas Market.  This is one of Germany's larger ones and it was packed!  If you're bringing a dog I would suggest going in the morning on a weekday.  We went on a Friday night and although we had fun, it was a bit difficult navigating all the people.  We had better luck in the markets in Heidelberg and Ruedesheim am Rhein.

Stockholm in Winter

In Stockholm dogs can almost always sit at outdoor restaurants and cafes, even if they aren't allowed indoors.  But some days are not good for sitting outside.

Fortunately, finding dog-friendly places inside is not too difficult.  The 'Dog-friendly Stockholm' site is invaluable (in Swedish).   Within the city there are dog-specific cafes, regular cafes and a limited number of restaurants that allow dogs.  Usually department stores and shopping malls also have restaurants and cafes where dogs are allowed.  We like going to Nordiska Kompaniet in the city centre, which you can see in the background behind the Christmas market in Kungsträgården.

That said, a lot of places still do have year-round outdoor seating, with blankets and heaters.  I saw people sitting at a cafe on the day this was taken.  So, if you really want to...