Christ­mas? Nyet

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - GLOBAL CHRISTMAS -

Worms is known for its “liv­ing manger” with farm­house an­i­mals and its ice rink (un­til De­cem­ber 23), while kids at the Speyer mar­kets (un­til Jan­uary 6) can leave their wishes with Santa thanks to a “heaven tele­phone”. Buy hand­crafted wooden or­na­ments, lace, pot­tery and ad­vent stars at Ger­many’s old­est Christ­mas mar­ket, Dres­den’s Striezel­markt (un­til De­cem­ber 24), or stroll the city’s “Christ­mas mile” along Prager Strasse.

In Aus­tria, ex­plore Inns­bruck’s Old Town mar­ket (un­til De­cem­ber 23) where trum­peters play car­ols from the Golden Roof at twi­light.

An easy way to mar­ket-hop is by river cruise: Uni­world’s raft of Christ­mas cruises in­cludes the Main River (Nurem­berg to Frankfurt) and the Danube (Bu­dapest to Pas­sau) while Tauck plies the Rhine (Basel to Cologne)., ro­man­tic-ci­, dres­, christkindl­, uni­, in Dubai – in­clud­ing the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions.

Com­pare and con­trast over­the-top tinsel and sparkling trees in The Dubai Mall, the world’s big­gest shop­ping mall, and Mall of the Emi­rates, also the home of Ski Dubai.

The Souk Mad­i­nat, a re-cre­ation of a tra­di­tional Ara­bian mar­ket­place inside the Mad­i­nat Jumeirah ho­tel, hosts a fes­tive mar­ket un­til De­cem­ber 27 that in­cludes ginger­bread and roasted chest­nuts, a North Pole train, ice rink, gi­ant snow globe and rein­deer rodeo.

On Christ­mas Day, the mar­ket has a fes­tive brunch from noon. the­, malloftheemi­,

Christ­mas, with­out trim­mings

To avoid the fes­ti­val en­tirely, head to a coun­try that doesn’t cel­e­brate Christ­mas on De­cem­ber 25.

The Rus­sian Ortho­dox Church, which ob­serves the Ju­lian cal­en­dar, cel­e­brates Christ­mas on Jan­uary 7.

Time a trip on the Tran­sSiberian Rail­way, which runs year-round, to hit Lake Baikal on De­cem­ber 25. The Siberian lake has the world’s only fresh­wa­ter seals and fish that can sur­vive a kilo­me­tre be­low the sur­face – the Lim­no­log­i­cal Mu­seum showcases the lake’s some­times bizarre crea­tures. Or hop off the train in Mon­go­lia, where Christ­mas isn’t big ei­ther.

Sun­down­ers Over­land of­fers 2015 Christ­mas Trans Mon­go­lian tours de­part­ing St Peters­burg on De­cem­ber 11 and Beijing on De­cem­ber 19, $7950 a per­son. sun­down­ersover­

If you’re open to Christ­mas Day feast­ing, book in for a spread that in­cludes roast turkey at Chisholm’s Restau­rant, oth­er­wise BYO pic­nic or bar­be­cue sup­plies. Echo Point at Ka­toomba in the Blue Moun­tains is another popular Christ­mas Day out­ing – as long as the pea­soup fog doesn’t roll in or there’ll be no blue-tinted val­ley view to ad­mire. jenolan­, vis­it­blue­moun­ have a bush-tucker twist: think house-smoked crocodile on damper, caramelised wild roo fil­let with bush tomato bal­samic and na­tive thyme, quan­dong ap­ple crum­ble, desert lime and macadamia cheese­cake, and plum pud­ding with wat­tle­seed creme anglaise. ay­er­srock­re­

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