Baden-Baden!!! What a wonderful little German spa town. I hope everyone gets to visit this opulent place at least once in their lives. The buildings are incredibly maintained, not one scratch of paint or dirt, people are excessively friendly and they have one of the cutest Christmas markets in Germany.
We stayed in a wonderful AirBnb in the center, cooked steaks every night, ate sausages by day, drank hot wines at the Christmas market, spent a wonderful evening in the most elaborate spa I’ve ever seen (click here), crashed a film festival in the iconic Baden-Baden casino and drank local beers in a smokey bar with a bunch of awesome immigrants after their shift.
Though smaller than the Strasbourg Christmas market, Baden-Baden held its own with higher end fairs, a concert and real animals in the manger.
The Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in France. Old Town becomes pedestrian only, shops and hotels decorate their facades and little wooden huts popup everywhere selling regional good and treats. The streets are filled with joyful people drinking hot wines. We were so excited to meet our friends from Luxembourg on the Sunday for drinks, shopping and carousel rides.
A few years back my Canadian friend Janna who lived in London told me about her yearly tradition of visiting a new European Christmas market. She and her boyfriend have travelled from Norway to Slovakia exploring these magical markets and with every one of their Facebook posts my jealousy grew. Inspired by my friends, Matt and I are starting off our Christmas season with a triple Christmas Market attack plan (we have some catching up to do). Step one, the famous Strasbourg Christmas Market. Step two, Baden-Baden Market spanning the grounds of the famous casino (November 27-28). Step three, Sofia’s German/Bulgarian Christmas Market where we will celebrate my birthday (35…seriously getting old!). These are photos taken with my phone in Strasbourg.
Shops, hotels and apartments decorate their facades with Christmas decorations which gives the whole town a storybook atmosphere.
It’s been raining on and off. People bundle up…some even look like “boules mousse”.
The most amazing tree.
The tree matches my jacket.
Hot red or white wines, hot apple juice and hot orange juice.
Every year I try to do something fun with my little Russian neighbours, this year I threw a “Girl Party” in my tiny apartment. We baked cupcakes (12 people in a 450 sq/ft area with the oven blasting in 30 degree weather), made icing from scratch and decorated everything with candies and fruits. We listened to jazzy music while we cooked (their choice) and played girly dance music while we waiting for the cakes to cool. Post cupcakes I taught the girls how to play Pictionary and everyone thought it was “sooooo coool” that I let them use erasable markers to scribble on the window instead of using regular paper. These girls are truly amazing, I couldn’t believe how sweet and polite everyone was, I just loved having them over! Next year I’m organizing a lantern festival, I’m already excited!
Stotinki sneaking in a cuddle with Margo.
The marshmallow tripled in size in the oven.
Bragging to friend in Russia and Poland.
The powdered food colouring dyes everything, Sasha might have a blue mouth for the rest of her life. P.S. How cute are these girls!!!
The frosting got a bit messy.
Diana sporting this year’s shade of neon green.
I respect Dasha’s attention to detail and fierce concentration.
The cupcakes were really darn good.
I think they had fun.
We played a medium level (all in English) Pictionary game without any problems or language barriers.
My favorite drawing was Olivia’s masterpiece, the flamingo! Ha ha we laughed so hard!
I chose a vanilla cupcake filled with sprinkles and gummy bears topped with rainbow icing. Perfect party with my fantastic friends!
We spent Valentine’s day in a cute little village called Zheravna in central Eastern Bulgaria. This village is known for its historical wooden houses (between 200-300 years old) surrounded by stone walls and cobblestone alleys. We where there during the “off season” which meant we were the only tourists in town.
View from our room.
Homemade Polish milk caramels.