DAY 1 – THE JOURNEY BEGINS
Bright and early, we arrived at St Pancras station to begin our journey over to Germany! We met our quilting expert Karin Hellaby and fellow travellers before grabbing some edible supplies to keep us going through the day.
We reached our floating home, MS Serenity, late afternoon and got settled in before our first meal on board and a chance to get some shut eye before the adventures begin tomorrow!
DAY 2 – HEIDELBERG
After our first night on the ship, we woke to find ourselves in Mannheim. Time for a spot of breakfast before a morning of crafting begins! Karin introduced the project – some beautiful Christmas bunting, and it wasn’t long before we had a needle in one hand and some fabric in the other! There was also a lovely surprise for us all as two ladies in the group had made adorable little mice for everyone to take home as a trip souvenir! Half-way through the morning we were treated with a sprinkling of snow which we happily watched fall from our cosy craft room! The perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit!
All that crafting built up an appetite so we had lunch on board the ship before gathering for our first Christmas Market excursion – Heidelberg. All bundled up in our hats and scarves, we stepped out into snowy ground and started to explore. It wasn’t long before we stumbled across a stall with Gluhwein on the menu to warm us up! Although these weren’t the biggest markets we saw on the trip, the setting was beautiful – cobbled streets and little cafés were overlooked by a grand castle on top of a hill. The delicious food and drink available kept us warm in the snow, although when our transfer arrived, the heat of a coach did sound very inviting!
Once we had warmed up again on the ship, it was time for some more food followed by a Quiz night as we set sail! Our Stitchtopia group had a number of teams between us but unfortunately we didn’t get enough points to win the trophy (despite a lot of dancing for bonus points!)
DAY 3 – STRASBOURG
We arrived in Strasbourg just in time for some more crafting! There was a mixture of abilities on the trip, but Karin made time for every stitcher throughout the workshops and we made some great progress on our Christmas projects!
After a morning off we were just about ready for another Christmas market – and Strasbourg did not disappoint! Nearly every building was decked in Christmas lights and intricate decorations, making a truly beautiful setting. Every time you found yourself at the end of a Christmas Market, a wander down a side street would reveal another – each one better than the last! There were hundreds of stalls selling tasty goodies, mulled wine and homemade gifts – too hard to resist so we collected some lovely bits to take home with us! (confession – not all the edible goodies made it home…)
We later boarded the Serenity for our final evening and farewell dinner. We were treated to a lovely surprise by the crew – a baked Alaska parade! We also got the chance to thank the wonderful staff on board the Serenity before tucking into dessert! Yum!
DAY 4 – COLOGNE
Time for an early breakfast before we disembarked the ship and headed for Cologne. We had a lovely time on board the Serenity but we were very excited to see what the Christmas Markets in Cologne had to offer!
We took the train along the Rhine which offered some stunning views of Germany and we arrived in Cologne with an afternoon to explore the markets! I think we all agreed that we saved the best until last as there was just so much to see. We made the most of the German food – sampling Bratwurst, freshly baked pretzels, handbrotzeit (a delicious cheesy bread), Kartoffelpuffer (German Potato Pancakes) and of course – Gluhwhein and German Beers!
There were also so many beautiful handmade gifts available at the markets and the stunning cathedral in the backdrop set the scene perfectly. We loved seeing what other people in the group had bought at the markets as there was so much to see, we all discovered different parts. We all came away with some crafting inspiration and ideas for future projects!
DAY 5 – RETURN TO ENGLAND
We woke up at the Maritim hotel in Cologne before saying farewell to Germany. It was such a fabulous hotel for our final night and we were all sad to be leaving Cologne so soon, but we had collected plenty of goodies along the way to extend our experience a good few weeks (we’ll try not to eat them all at once!)
After a big breakfast to set us up for our day of travel, we started our journey. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we experienced quite a lengthy delay just after arriving in Belgium, which set our journey back. This didn’t dampen our spirits however, and it was lovely to see how positive everyone remained! A few stitchers even made good use of the time by continuing with their projects! When we arrived in Brussells, the staff at Eurostar were fantastic in helping us to get on the last train back to London. Once we were all on our way to St Pancras, a glass of wine was needed and well deserved by all!
If a Stitchtopia holiday sounds like your cup of tea, make sure you take a peek at some of our upcoming tours with expert Karin Hellaby!
STITCHING IN NORWAY & TILDA’S WORLD
Join Karin Hellaby on this fabulous tour to Norway. Set against a backdrop of breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, this tour takes you on a discovery of Norway’s rich textile heritage.
FRENCH CHATEAU QUILT RETREAT WITH KARIN HELLABY
Internationally known quilt teacher and author Karin Hellaby invites you to join her for a week of creativity. Surrounded by fabulous alpine landscapes and sunsets, you’ll be staying at the wonderful Chateau des Comtes de Challes.
THREAD YOUR WAY THROUGH BURMA
This special tour will introduce you to an array of textures, rich colours and the cultural treasures of this quite remarkable country. Wondrous sights include glittering pagodas, vast plains, ancient Buddhas and the beauty of Inle Lake.