Friday, 26 December 2014

Germany at Christmas: Part One

As I mentioned earlier this month, I spent the first weekend of December in Cologne.  For six consecutive years, I have been visiting Germany's fourth largest city with my family to experience the network of Christmas markets there and incredibly, the excitement of doing so never wears off!  Following a 4am start and a long day of travelling, you'd think that upon arrival at the hotel we would have kicked off our thermal socks and caught up on some (much needed) beauty sleep, but once you've wheeled your suitcases past the awe-inspiring Cologne Cathedral (Dom), it's difficult to shut your eyes and in turn, shut out all that Cologne has to offer.  After quickly unpacking, I wrapped myself with layers upon layers of thermals until I resembled a snowball and then headed in the direction of our first Christmas Market of the weekend!

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The first market we walked to on this year's visit to Germany, was that of which was closest and coincidentally one of the greatest, Am Dom.  The Christmas market takes places each year directly next to Cologne's Cathedral and features a mass of wooden pavilions, with never more than a few in a row before being presented by a delicious snack cooking right before your eyes!  The focus of this particular market is undeniably the Roman Catholic Cathedral, which can be seen from any standing point thanks to it's daunting height of 516ft.  I have more photos of Cologne's Cathedral stored on my Mac than I know what to do with, because with a backdrop like that, you have no choice but to include it in every photo - food shots included!  However, the heart of the market presents something even more spectacular through an array of lights, all joining together to produce what looks like a blanket of stars - as though you were in reaching distance of a starry night (minus the inconvenience and dangers, of course).
      
        


After drinking plenty of hot chocolate with amaretto and freezing my hands to the bone after accidentally taking my gloves off to use my camera, in the late hours of the evening it was time to wander out of the illuminated Christmas market, past the great Cathedral and back to our hotel.  We stayed this year at the Hilton hotel, which has featured multiple times in our travels to Cologne at Christmas time.  The reasons as to why this hotel has become our number one choice when visiting the city, include the easy access of walking distance to Christmas markets, a view of the Dom when booking a room front-facing and the phenomenal modern decor.  As expected with Hilton hotels, the staff are consistently helpful and welcoming and don't even get me started on the food.   After hours of being on my feet, the complementary tray of toiletries were received very gratefully, along with the warm lighting, soft bed linen and pleasant surroundings!



Oh, and another benefit of staying at the Hilton Cologne hotel, is that you can reach a Kamps bakery in under five minutes by exiting the hotel, turning right and heading in the direction of the Dom.  Although you can enjoy your iced treat whilst admiring the Cathedral out of the floor-to-ceiling windows at Kamps, it can also be nice to enjoy them from the comfort of your own hotel room.  Heaven!

       
After finished a cake the size of my head, I changed into a Ralph Lauren feather-filled jacket, Topshop Leigh Skinny Jeans and New Look Chelsea Boots (currently on sale) to start the day.  It was disappointing not to have ventured out in the early hours of the morning so to experience the city stripped of it's crowds, however tiredness won and so 10.30am would have to suffice.  Seeing the great gothic-style cathedral by daylight was once again thrilling and as always, managed to remind me of how small we truly are in comparison.  One definite and yet at times unpopular opinion of mine, is that to reach the Christmas markets that are based a little further away from the cathedral, walking is best.  It can be tempting to catch a taxi, however unless you've bought a ticket to travel between markets on the wonderfully festive green and yellow hop-on hop-off Christmas Market train, I would always advise people to grab their warmest boots and get walking!              


After various dives into warm stores including Douglas (ah, such beautiful gift wrapping!) and Kaufhof (Galeria), we continued on to our second Christmas market visit of this year's trip!  On that note, I hope you've had an incredible festive season and have enjoyed the first instalment of my Cologne experience.. it's certainly been enjoyable reminiscing!


With love,

Gabrielle x



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114 comments

  1. What a fun outing! I love the bright lights and decorations! Looks like an enjoyable time! xo~ Lena
    www.felinecreatures.com

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    1. It was an incredible weekend, that's for certain!

      Gabrielle x

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  2. Cologne's Christmas market looks wonderful. I love proper German Christmas markets and that it has a hop on and off train between the markets. It sounds like the perfect way to get into the spirit of things.

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    1. Cologne is most definitely worth a visit during December.. and that's a very good point, Christmas music plays on them too! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  3. My boyfriend and I were just talking about Christmas markets yesterday! After seeing your photos and reading about it here on your post, I'm convinced that I have to travel there pretty soon (during the holidays of course)! Beautiful, beautiful photos! Christmas markets looks so beautiful there!

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    1. How lovely that you're thinking of visiting Europe's Christmas markets! I'm so glad to have been of some help and that you've enjoyed this post, Katherine! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Jeanne! Happy New Year!

      Gabrielle x

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  5. Great photos, as usual :) I hope you had a great Christmas!

    \ Indigo Lights

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    1. That's lovely of you to say, thank you!

      Gabrielle x

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  6. The Christmas markets in Germany are truly beautiful! I love how it's a cute family tradition!
    Hope you had a fantastic Christmas Gabrielle!

    X

    Anjel

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more! Haha we probably have far too many traditions now, but the 'more the merrier' right?! ;) Happy New Year!

      Gabrielle x

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  7. Merry Christmas! <3

    I have a new outfit post on the blog, would love to know your thoughts:

    * Electric Sunrise - Fashion and Lifestyle Blog *

    x

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    1. Thanks Helen, I'll take a look at your new outfit post now..

      Gabrielle x

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  8. I never had the good fortune to visit Cologne...I think it was really a nice experience. I hope you have spent a very happy Christmas. Have a nice day, kisses (and thank you for your visit),
    Eni

    http://eniwherefashion.blogspot.it/
    https://www.facebook.com/eniwherefashion

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    1. I really hope that you find yourself in Cologne sometime soon then in that case - it's a beautiful place, particularly at Christmas time!

      Gabrielle x

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  9. This must have been such a magical experience! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas sweetie! :)

    Bella Pummarola

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    1. That would be the perfect descriptive word, Anett! Happy New Year!!

      Gabrielle x

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  10. It looks so gorgeous and festive here! I've been to Christmas markets in Germany before (Aachen and Monschau) and they were fantastic. x

    Kate Louise Blogs

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    1. The festive atmosphere and energy is very, very high in Cologne! I'll have to look into those markets and I'm so pleased you've enjoyed some authentic markets in Germany as well! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  11. everything looks so lovely!

    from helen at thelovecatsinc.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Helen!

      Gabrielle x

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  12. I've never travelled abroad a lot, and I'd love to go to Germany! Great pics anyway, love your blog!
    Sara :)xx

    www.sarapags.eu

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    1. There's plenty of time for travelling yet, Sara! :) I hope you find yourself visiting Germany sometime very soon and thank you, I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog!

      Gabrielle x

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  13. I've never been to Germany, but I always wanted to as it's such a beautiful country. I'm sure you're enjoying your stay there as there's so much to see there. And I love your outfit... You look great!

    TRENDGALORE
    BLOGLOVIN

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    1. Germany is certainly worth a visit and I had a fantastic time, thank you! That's sweet of you to say Hana - anything to keep warm!! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  14. What a lovely post! your photos are beautiful, I think i would have more photos than i would have known what to do with as well had I gone. I love the name of the city haha :) looks like you had tons of fun!

    Vievelle

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    1. Thank you so much for the compliment on my photography, that means a lot! Have a wonderful year ahead!

      Gabrielle x

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  15. Everything looks so beautiful and magical with all the lights. I would have layered up and went exploring also....too pretty to sleep!

    Keisha xo
    www.chrysalisgals.blogspot.com

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    1. At many points whilst walking around the Christmas markets I would get goosebumps, you hit the nail on the head by using the word 'magical' :)

      Gabrielle x

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  16. wow what a breathtaking view! loving the lights at the top. happy holidays lovely! :)

    Metallic Paws

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    1. The blanket of lights were also a favourite feature of mine! Thanks for stopping by!

      Gabrielle x

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  17. The lights look so pretty! Your hotel sounds like it was in the perfect location!!!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

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    1. The hotel location was idyllic, although it's taken a few years of trial and error to figure that out haha!

      Gabrielle x

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  18. I grew up in Germany (Bonn) from 1993-1999 and these photos just made me miss it a lot! I miss Kaufhof lol <3 My best Christmasses were spent in Germany.

    http://www.thestylishbipolar.com

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    1. Oh wow, how incredible to have grown up in Germany! Kaufhof's Christmas Shop is just amazing!

      Gabrielle x

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  19. Wow, all so perfect and pretty! The view is really lovely. Seems like you had a wonderful christmas ;)

    xxx

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    1. I had a wonderful Christmas and hope that you did too! Thank you for your comment!

      Gabrielle x

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  20. Like seriously, what an adventure !!! And hot chocolate and amaretto? Together? ..... (insert smiley face with heart eyes) hehehe

    Continue having an amazing season. xx

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    1. Yes! You just have to try hot chocolate with amaretto, it's beyond delicious!

      Gabrielle x

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  21. This looks absolutely amazing! I love the Christmas markets and the ones in Germany look so festive. Sounds like you had a great time. x x

    www.beyondthevelvet.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Christmas markets are exciting wherever they may be, but I certainly enjoyed myself in Germany (as always)! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  22. It looks gorgeous! I can only dream of seeing something like this. So happy for you, that you get to adventure and see the world. I hope you had a lovely Christmas with family!

    www.hollandsreverie.blogspot.com

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    1. I really do hope that you experience these markets first-hand at some point, if you choose to, that is! Oh thank you, I had a very cosy Christmas and hope that you did too!

      Gabrielle x

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  23. Wauw what a beautiful pictures! The Christmas markets in Germany are really great <3 Looks like a dream with all those beautiful lights.. Seems like you had an amazing time there! X

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this post and have a lovely year ahead!

      Gabrielle x

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  24. Nice pictures your blog is lovely
    www.misslaurenmorgan.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Lauren, that's so kind of you to say!

      Gabrielle x

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  25. That hotel room looks so luxe and the City looks so lovely! Great pics + post! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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    1. Hilton Hotels are consistently impressive which takes the stress out of booking, for sure! Thanks so much for stopping by Tina! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  26. I've been super excited for this post and now I can't wait for part 2! I adore Christmas markets and would love to experience them in Germany. The Dom is absolutely stunning! Hope you had an amazing Christmas Gabrielle!

    Heather x
    http://heatherrrrm.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I'm so pleased you've been anticipating this post, part two is up now! I agree that The Dom is overwhelmingly stunning :) Thank you Heather, have a lovely new year ahead!

      Gabrielle x

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  27. Beautiful images and Merry Christmas to you. :-)

    missymayification.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks so much - have a great year ahead!

      Gabrielle x

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  28. This Christmas Market looks stunning, you also should see Christmas Market in Wroclaw, Poland, it's breathtaking and so festive too ;) ! And you looked amazing in this jacket, Gabrielle :) I hope you had great Christmas dear :)

    http://crafty-zone.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'm so glad you've enjoyed this post and I will definitely look into that, I hadn't thought of Poland's Christmas markets before now! Oh thank you, that's so lovely of you to say :)

      Gabrielle x

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  29. the first two photos are really pretty!!! Hope you are having fun ;)
    I'm really enjoying your blog by the way, I'm here for the first time but will definitely be visting more often ;)

    ♡ my blog ♡

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    1. Those are also my favourite photos - full of busy lights! I'm so glad that you're enjoying my blog.. and thank you for letting me know! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  30. Oh, how beautiful you were at Christmas time in Germany. I love the Christmas market in Cologne. :-)
    Wonderful pictures, love all these lights. Lovely greets Nessa

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    1. Thank you Vanessa, this was a really nice message to receive. Cologne's Christmas markets certainly are impressive!

      Gabrielle x

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  31. Replies
    1. That's sweet, I hope you have a great new year as well!!

      Gabrielle x

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  32. hai un blog bellissimo.

    www.angelichic.com

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  33. Germany is so beautiful, even so at Christmas! Beautiful photos ;)

    besos,
    M
    The Flower Duet

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more! Have a wonderful new year!

      Gabrielle x

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  34. Nice blog! Can we follow each other? You will Write me on my blog or ou will follow me (instagram, fb page, blogvin too) and i follow you:)

    vik-ladyla.blogspot.cz I instagram I facebook

    ReplyDelete
  35. This looks so nice! Thank you for sharing these amazing photos!
    Would you like to follow each other?Let me know:)

    fashion-babel.blogspot.com

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    1. You're more than welcome, I'm so glad you've enjoyed this post!

      Gabrielle x

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  36. I have no idea what Kamps is but they sound delicious nonetheless! Also besotted with that blanket of fairy lights, wow, just wow. I really want a white Christmas and a white Christmas in Europe no less. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and if I don't get to say it before then have an awesome New Year too. May 2015 be filled with happiness, love and success!

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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    1. Kamps is a bakery that sells the most delicious, ginormous cakes you'll ever come across! ;) Thanks ever so much Sonia, that's really lovely of you - I hope next year treats you very, very well!!

      Gabrielle x

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  37. So many pretty lights, the market looks so festive and fun! Hope you had an amazing Christmas and wishing you a happy new year!

    Tina
    www.justatinabit.com

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    1. The constant chatter and music definitely makes the markets even more fun! I had a fantastic Christmas thank you and I really hope you did too!

      Gabrielle x

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  38. The lights look amazing! Would someone like me be able to get around in Germany without knowing any German? It seems pretty English-friendly from the pictures.

    Another Beautiful Thing

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    1. It would be very simple for you to explore Germany with little knowledge of the language - I'm proof of that! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  39. Those lights look INCREDIBLE!!!! And that baked cheese puff looks soooo yummy! DRRRooooling right now!
    kisses!
    xoBeckerman Girls

    www.BeckermanBlog.com

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    1. The mass of lighting above and around was certainly incredible and that is actually an iced doughy cake (which tasted delicious)!!

      Gabrielle x

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  40. Wow .Great post .I love the place .

    ReplyDelete
  41. Such beautiful pictures of your trip. The lighting are incredibly beautiful
    xoxo
    Liza
    www.lizacorner.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Liza, I always have my camera glued to me when travelling!

      Gabrielle x

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  42. Oh my gosh your photos are so very beautiful! Haha in Chicago we have a little mock German mart during the holiday season but it is obviously nothing compared to the real deal! Everything looks so beautiful and decorated!

    <(') Hoda | JooJoo Azad

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    1. Thank you, that has made my night! I'm sure the Christmas market in Chicago is lovely too! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  43. Replies
    1. Thanks very much, Johanna!

      Gabrielle x

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  44. This looks absolutely perfect, what a wonderful time. I love the market....am happy you enjoyed yourself doll :) Xxx

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    1. I miss Cologne already after having been away for just a few weeks haha. Have a wonderful new year! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  45. Beautiful place and nice photos.
    http://elsecretodemistercloset.com

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Isabel!

      Gabrielle x

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  46. Thank you for this beautiful post and the photos. I love Christmas markets, so lovely. I wish you a happy New Year!

    Jasmine x
    For a Real Woman

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    1. You're more than welcome, I'm so pleased you've enjoyed this post!

      Gabrielle x

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  47. Replies
    1. Thank you! Have a lovely week!

      Gabrielle x

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  48. aww great xmas decor! love it, you are so proud

    http://bellerivoli.blogspot.com.es/

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    1. Haha thanks Bella, hope you're well!

      Gabrielle x

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  49. Looks so beautiful there! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Gabrielle and wish you a Happy New Year!:)
    http://sunstreetbymonica.blogspot.com

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    1. I had a truly fantastic Christmas, thank you! I hope you've had a lovely festive season as well!

      Gabrielle x

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  50. Wow incredible photos! Very magical :) hope you had a lovely Christmas x

    www.krystelcouture.com

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    1. Thanks Jenny, it was a pleasure to photography! I hope 2015 treats you well!

      Gabrielle x

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  51. That is such a great family tradition! We are planning to start something like this too but maybe in a couple of years when little tyke is older. I think it's lovely to travel and see Christmas elsewhere. You look lovely, Gabrielle and far from a snow ball! LOL!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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    1. It is undoubtedly my favourite Christmas tradition. That is a fantastic idea, you will never regret the decision to visit Europe's Christmas markets! Oh thank you Shireen, you're far too kind! :)

      Gabrielle x

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  52. OMG what an amazing adventure <3 Gorgeous pictures !!!!
    Serene xoxo

    http://www.imserenel.wordpress.com

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    1. I'm so glad you've enjoyed this post, Serene - they were some of the best days of this year, for sure!!

      Gabrielle x

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  53. Love the castle shot & you're looking prettier day by day, Gabrielle! Happy 2015 to you & may you have a wonderful new year, dear! Well, I'm back in action & resuming my blog hopping now. So glad to be back blogging ^_^
    Luxury Haven

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    1. Shirley, you're far too kind, thank you ever so much for your kind words! A very happy new year to you as well and I hope it brings only good things your way :)

      Gabrielle x

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