The Riga Christmas Market is a Magical Experience

I am a sucker for a European Christmas Market. Generally, they open on the first week of December and close on Dec 23. They open around 10 am til 10 pm (in bigger cities, they close at midnight).

The stalls offer everything from homemade holiday decorations, local arts and crafts, local delicacies, cheese, wine, and handmade clothes and accessories (basically nothing that says “Made in China”).

Each city or town in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Baltics has one. You can also see these in France, Italy, and Spain (although not quite the same).
It is a social activity for family and friends. They serve mulled wine, different types of delicacies, and even desserts.

The biggest one I have ever been to is the Vienna Christmas Market. It is pretty, although I think it is too big and lacks that intimate feeling. The smaller one in Salzburg is charming.

I also love the Christmas market in Munich’s Marien Platz. They sometimes even have carolers singing Christmas melodies. There are so many food options there.

The Christmas Market in Frankfurt is way too small and too packed in my opinion. The carousel is beautiful, though.

The Christmas Market in Riga, Latvia, is one of the smallest markets I have ever been to. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in heart. Such a beautiful setting! If I could only describe it in one word, I would say “Magical.”

Everyone has a favorite market … visit these countries this winter and find your own favorite!

Memorable Latvia

I arrived here not knowing what to expect. Honestly, I have been so busy that I had no time to do my research.

However, two months before my trip, I messaged my friend Andy who works for the US Foreign Affairs if it was safe to come to Latvia.

He just rolled his eyes at me. LOL “Yes, why not? It is very safe there! Go!”
The Riga Airport, though small, is very clean, organized, and modern. You even have dozens and dozens of taxis to choose from. (Some are even Mercedes Benz).

I stayed at Wellton Centrum and Spa which is smack in the heart of the city and the Old Town district. This was the best decision ever! The place has adequate rooms, but they’re clean and such great value. Most of all, it is within walking distance to many restaurants, charming coffee shops, tourist attractions and shopping (the mall is just across the street).
I had the perfect timing too- it has been snowing nonstop since I got here. Yup- I love snow! Haha 😂 Although locals gave me a weird look when I told them I am here for a vacation, “Latvia in November? Really?” You should have seen their faces. 😂😂 It was though I was crazy.

Don’t you worry, folks, you will see me here again!

Acropolis: Gem of Athens

My skin is glowing, right? Hahaha That is sweat right there. Hahaha 🙈🙈😂😂 It is seriously 96 degrees and humid. He wanted to go up soooo badly, and it is our only reason we are back in Athens. So we had to do it.

I was dying because you have to hike up this long windy, path. And you’re 😓 sweating soooo badly. Hahaha I hate the heat- but I do have to admit, it was worth it once you get up there. Pretty amazing views and architecture.

Tip for you- bring bottled water with you. Hydrate hyrdrate hyrdate!

Klima: Fishing for Compliments

 

Klima is the most picturesque fishing village in Milos and is worth seeing. INSANE!!! This beautiful village is situated near Tripiti, on the side of the Gulf of Milos. The scenic beauty of Klima has old fishermen’s houses carved into the rocks and brightly colored wooden doors. The sunset here is an amazing experience. The drive down may be challenging but worth it!

Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof, your (Fabulous) home in Frankfurt

I have stayed at several hotels in Germany and so far, Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof is the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at in the country. My room was very spacious, nicely fitted and luxurious. The bed was so big and comfortable, I was tempted to stay there all day. The bathroom had very beautiful fixtures, Egyptian towels, marble flooring, robes and a great choice of toiletries.

It is located in the heart of the city within walking distance to the shopping district, financial district and the old town. Everything is within walking distance including the train station and the scenic river two blocks away. If you choose to hire a limo or a cab, the airport is only within 12-15 minute drive. If you’re a foodie, you don’t need to go far. They have a Michelin-starred restaurant right in the hotel.

When I made the reservation, I requested for a room on the lower floor. Upon arrival, I was assigned a room on the 2nd floor. I was very impressed. This sounds like a simple request, but you have no idea how many times a hotel doesn’t read their notes.

The following afternoon, the front desk offered to take my shopping bags up to my room when they found out that I was running late to my next appointment.

The turndown service came on time every single night and replaced all our used towels and straightened our bed. The staff at the spa were also so accommodating and friendly. If you have time, make sure you try their tea service at the lobby – IT IS DECADENT (and surprisingly inexpensive).

All 261 rooms and 42 suites, enjoy an ambiance of luxury and first-class service. If you’re looking for an amazing (and luxurious) place to stay at – Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof is THE place.

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Photo by: Edwin Santiago

Photo by: Edwin Santiago