I would like to talk about Europe's Christmas markets.

I'm glad Christmas markets are new to me, but I don't know how they came to be.

Spending any part of December in Europe is special for someone who loves the holidays. There is nothing like this during the Christmas season.

It's the first year that holiday sailings are back since the Pandemic began, and high hopes for Christmas market river cruises last year were crushed when several countries imposed Covid- related lockdowns.

I'm on the Emerald Dawn, which is sailing a section of a two week Christmas market itinerary from Amsterdam to Hungary. This is my sixth river cruise of the year and my second with Emerald Cruises. This is the first time in my life that I've traveled with a group of people my own age. In my next dispatch, there will be more on the Y PS aspect.

We've visited the markets in Cologne, Rudesheim am Rhein and now Wurzburg. I don't want to have to pick a favorite, so I will mention the highlights.

The Christmas market in Cologne, Germany

If you've ever been to Cologne, you'll know that most of the tourism there is centered around the cathedral. The main Christmas market is the same thing.

There is a big Christmas tree in the center of the market with tons of lights surrounding it and stretching out across the roofs of the market stands below. The spires of the cathedral are easy to see at night as you stroll through the markets with a hot cup of wine in your hand.

When you go to a Christmas market in Germany, you have to take a cute mug with you. It is a small price to pay for a memory that you can carry with you.

I've collected about three mugs so far, and I think we have one more market to visit before I have to leave.

Christmas market in Rudesheim

I like to visit Rudesheim in Germany. I love the quaint cobbled streets and how dynamic the town is, with the main downtown area right next to the river and an additional area that is accessible by car and via chairlift.

The Christmas market in Rudesheim isn't as big as other markets, but it's still festive. I think that's true when it comes to the hot brandy, as we ducked in and out of stores while sampling it.

Every time I go to Rudesheim, I need to go to a restaurant and get a Flammkuchen and a beer. I had two friends who had never been to Rudesheim and therefore had never tried a coffee from the place.

When I'm in town, I find that seeing one prepared for you for the first time is an extravagant production of local flair and tradition.

Christmas market in Wurzburg

Even though it's a bigger place, it's still as quaint as a cute town. Christmas lights are lost among the wires that power the city trams and storefronts are adorned with decorations, but it feels like home during the holidays.

The best thing about a Christmas market in a city is that there are so many different things to see and do.