Strasbourg: Capitale de Noel

Viking Baldur docked in Kehl, Germany on another wonderfully moody day. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Viking Baldur docked in Kehl, Germany on another wonderfully moody day. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Still blanketed in a thick cloak of fog and swirling mist, Viking RiversViking Baldur docked this morning in the German town of Kehl. Our ultimate destination, however, was Strasbourg, France – located across the Rhine.

The Rhine acts as an informal border between the two countries, and our guide today made a point of joking that she had arrived in France before the rest of the bus as we crossed over the bridge that took us into the heart of the city.

Fog kept temperatures in both Kehl and Strasbourg below freezing all day. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Fog kept temperatures in both Kehl and Strasbourg below freezing all day. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Of course, both France and Germany are part of the European Union (EU), and as such, there are no border formalities to clear; signage simply changes from German to French. Strasbourg is also the location of the European Parliament, which controls the EU budget and oversees some 20 member states from a building that looks remarkably like an ocean liner out of water.

But in December, even the European Parliament takes a back-seat to the Capitale de Noel. Strasbourg boasts ten Marchés de Noel, or Christmas Markets, spread throughout the historic city center.

Haven't read up on your next port of call? Don't worry - Viking Baldur's well-stocked Library can help! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Haven’t read up on your next port of call? Don’t worry – Viking Baldur’s well-stocked Library can help! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

There may be ten, but don’t assume that any two markets are alike. In fact, they’re extremely different in terms of theme, wares, food, and even beverages.

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Our Live Voyage Report along the Christmas Markets of the Rhine aboard Viking Rivers’ Viking Baldur continues tomorrow from Heidelberg, Germany! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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