After the first Christmas market we visited in Regensburg, I headed over to Thurn & Taxis Palace for the “Romantischer Weihnachtsmarkt” which translates to Romantic Christmas Market. I had high hopes that it would be great but ran into a few people along the walk to the palace who complained that they had gone to the market and there was a fee to get in so they had decided not to go. There was no way after traveling across the world, I was going to miss the market because there was an admission fee. It fee was $7 or $8 Euro and was well worth it! The costs associated for putting on an event like this run high and I’m happy to pay to experience something wonderful.

Obviously, you've gathered from the name that the market is held at a palace. The setting was so lovely! They completely set the stage for something special with the walkway at the entrance that winds through the trees with lit torches burning all the way. For a minute or two, you can't at all see what lies ahead and then you turn a little bend and the castle and a smattering of stands appear and then more and more stands as you continue on.

Remember in an earlier post I mentioned that each market has its own style? This one clearly prizes burlap, greenery, and straw above all else in its styling. I've never seen such masses of greens used on stands in my life. Keep that in mind as you scroll through the images that follow. On rooftops, exterior walls, interior walls, etc. Just wait, you'll see what I mean! It was also really fun to see straw so widely used. I loved that touch very much. It almost felt like I was walking through a nativity scene with all that straw and it reminded me that straw can be so pretty any time of year.

When I stumbled upon the first corridor, I was so excited that there was more of the market to experience. This corridor opened up onto a large courtyard filled with a lot more stands and fires for warming. It was incredibly cold. In fact, I debated all morning if I could possibly go to more than the first market that day because of the cold, but forced myself to continue on because I knew I'd regret it if I didn't. Thank goodness there were so many fires and I had a lot of time. I'd walk a little, stop at a fire and warm up, shop a little, stop at a fire and warm up, walk a little, drink something warm, on and on for several hours. (Watch for a post at the end of the week that describes everything I packed for navigating the markets in the winter and what I recommend).

When I walked up to this little brush stand (below), the elderly shopkeeper was engrossed in a conversation with friends. When they paused their conversation for a minute, I asked him if he spoke English and he replied that he didn't. The couple he was visiting with didn't speak English either. I definitely wanted some brushes so we began a little song and dance with me trying to understand what some of the brushes were intended for. I'd point to one that looked interesting and he would try to explain its use to me. Sometimes the couple would chime in too, trying to help. The first brush I pointed out, he picked it up by the handle and begin tossing his arm forward with it, back and forth, still holding on to the handle. After a few minutes of the three of them speaking German and trying to mime, I figured out it was a brush a priest uses for sprinkling holy water. So, I did the sign of the cross to show them I understood and they were so delighted that I had figured it out! This went on with a lot of brushes and it's a memory I will cherish. Once I had picked out all of my brushes and paid, he put my purchase in a bag that had print in German, but also had Merry Christmasprinted in English. He kept pointing at the Merry Christmas and then to me, and it was just so sweet and lovely. I have several of the brushes in a crock by my kitchen sink now and every time I see them I think of that special interaction that day.

This gentleman was doing his woodworking right there in his stand.

And the basketmaker was working in his stand too. I stood there and soaked it in for a while. I have such respect for craftsmen.

Isn't the honey stand so darling?

Finding another corridor is so exciting!

Another path with more to discover! And all the torches, they create such a special feel. And so castle-like!

Should we take a break from the shopping and have a little entertainment? It's a kid's land!

Back for more shopping, another sweet elderly shopper came up to me while I was taking a picture of the tree. He pointed to the tree and to me and my phone, wanting to take my picture for me, so I obliged. He was so happy to get that shot for me and every time I'd run into him after that, he'd smile and point to the camera.

After several hours, I decided to head out to another market I had heard about across the bridge, on the other side of the river. The market was beginning to really glow as I left and the sky was getting darker.

But as I made my way over the bridge, the sun came out just long enough for me to cross over the river and it felt so good to warm up a tiny bit! I found the other market but it was closed until later that evening, so I decided to stop at the first cafe I saw to have a bite and some tea while I waited for a bus to take me to the boat that had gone on, way down the river.

After a pot of tea, some scrumptious pastry, and feeling fully warm once again, I headed back over the bridge to find the bus. The sun was starting to go down and Regensburg looked so pretty.

As my bus pulled away, I could see the evening Christmas market had opened. I'd miss seeing it, but was happy to see its glow.

This is the eighth post in a series covering my visit to Europe and the Christmas markets in cities along the Danube River, all via a Viking River Cruise. You can find the first post here, the second post here, the third post here, the fourth post here, the fifth post here, the sixth post here, and the seventh post here.

I'll be posting a full recap of the Viking River Cruise portion of my trip later this week and answering the many questions I've been receiving about it. If you have any questions regarding the river cruise or Viking, please feel free to comment below or send me an email and I'll make sure to cover everything in my post.

MEET SERENA!

Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.

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