What to do in Winter?

Why, hello, there! Have you enjoyed the soothing serenade of crickets here on the site, gentle reader?  My deepest apologies for leaving you without astounding travel news and inspiration from around the world.  I have been quite present on social media, however.

So present, in fact, that it has been paying the bills for the last several months – and a delicious vocation it is, too!  I have added a new section to the old CV (that’s “resume” in Yank-speak): Social Media and Content Manager for Eating London Food Tours.  That’s right, my dream has come true.  I now get paid to play on Facebook ALL DAY LONG!  BOOYEAH!

 

Banana Bread Pudding with vanilla rum cream custard somethingorother...  GAH!  It's just AMAZING, OK?

That, my friends, is Banana Bread Pudding with vanilla rum cream drizzleliciousness and… justomgoshyum!

 

This means that I occasionally need to pop over to Londontown to meet with visiting bloggers, attend networking events, and – most importantly – eat amazing food!  There are 7 food stops on the tour and each one features something incredible.  Oh, and Eating London is the newest branch of the company in Italy which introduced me to Roman food that was actually good.  Better than good – super-delish!

But I digress…  how about that post title?  What to do in winter?  Curling up with a book in front of a fire for, oh, 3 months or so, sounds good.  But this is Europe!  There are so many amazing things to see!  Here are a few of the things to which I am looking forward:

  • delicious hot beverages!
  • Christmas / Solstice / holidays
  • bundling up, singing, and nostalgia
  • Christmas markets
  • TRAVEL!

As mentioned, I occasionally pop over to the UK for work-related stuff .  Most recently, I went over to visit my many blogger friends who were attending the World Travel Market, to do some networking, and – bonus! – drink free wine and eat canapés.  The latter undertaking met with a resounding success.  So much success, in fact, that now the thought of drinking wine or eating tiny food sculptures piled on crackers makes me a bit queasy.  Oof, I need to stick with soup for the next little while!  (Well… ok, I could be convinced to go for some banana bread pudding.)

Can you guess what kind of tea?
A Moroccan drinking tea… Hmm. What kind of tea would that be, Rachid?

I spent an extra week on the island, post-conference, during which time I visited the Tower of London, picked up tidbits about hipster London from my friend, Adam, and dined frequently in the East End.  An incredible discovery, thanks to Adam’s use of Foursquare, finally convinced me to join the mob of check-in zombies.  This, despite my tendency to make obscene gestures and swear at technology that increases our Big Brother state of modern living.   I won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say if you find yourself at The Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane, you really should ask to meet the Mayor.  *conspiratorial wink*

I also finally managed to pop over to Wales to visit my dear friend, Rachid.  We’d had a couple of near misses, what with my earlier trips to Nottingham and London, but it finally worked out and, gosh, was it nice to see an old friend.  We walked around the center, had tea, visited the castle – and I finally got to meet his wife!  (She’s from the UK, which is why he’s there, you see.)  The best thing about making new friends is seeing them again after you’ve become old friends.

Amazingly, the timing worked out just perfectly for me to experience the opening day of the Cardiff Christmas Market.  Now the bit I saw was rather a small affair, just a series of German-inspired cabins/stalls set up along Working Street, though I understand there are more Christmas-y bits that that get set up by the court and the National Museum.  It was, however, adorable and I did buy enough presents that the Ryanair baggage check guy gave me the stinkeye.

 

It's Germa--  er, WALES!

It’s clearly not Germany.  The lack of lederhosen gives it away.

 

Cardiff was super fab, not only because Rachid is one of the dearest people I know, but because it is getting me amped for an upcoming trip in December to…  AUSTRIA!  Yes, will be joining a couple of travel writing pal-a-roonies to hit up the Austrian Christmas markets!  I had previously only ever heard of German Christmas markets as A Thing, but apparently many of those Alps-dwelling folk do this.

I absolutely adored my trip to Vienna a few years back and have been aching to return.  (Alas, all of the sturm will be gone, but a host of new drinks and foods await!)  Among other ridiculously picturesque alpine activities, we will be spending a couple of days at the White Horse Inn, a very luxurious looking hotel on the shores of Wolfgansee (Lake Wolfgang).  I have put in a special request for a sleigh ride that ends with hot adult beverages.  In addition to attending the Advent and Christmas markets, drinking mulled wine, and taking in the sparkling snowscape, I hope to learn how to pronounce words like Wolfgangsee.

If the mulled wine and spa are not enough to melt the ice from my bones, I am planning to hop down to yet another destination come January.  This time it’s a revisiting of…  MOROCCO!  Sadly, Rachid’s new life in the UK means that I won’t have him as a travel companion this time around.  I will be going with my friend, Elisabeth, however, and she’s been learning Arabic.  Now that we have this trip planned, she’s desperately studying the Moroccan dialect in hopes of not embarrassing herself.  As for me, I’m totally fine with embarrassing myself.  An Inshe’Allah here, a shokran there, smiles, wild hand gestures, and remembering my squat toilet skills – I’ll be fine!

 

It's a mini dune!

Not Marrakech, but definitely Morocco.

 

Not to mention, we’ll be visiting Amanda of MarocMama!  She and her hubby decided they wanted their two sons to be able to speak Arabic without an accent, so they moved to Marrakech for a while to be near her husband’s family.  Most excellently, Marrakech is exactly where I wanted to spend more time.  It was rather abbreviated last trip due to my limited funding and schedule, not to mention Rachid’s complete dislike of the city.  “Marrakech where this is no cash!” he would say, while wrinkling his nose at the price of tea.

So…  despite my primal urge to hunker down in front of a heater and laptop all winter, I will be madly springing about the globe!  No plans for Solstice or Christmas days, as yet, so curling up with cocoa and computer may be my present to myself.  Still – what a (sleigh) ride!

Which winter activities excite you the most?

 

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