Once upon a time, I lived in Amsterdam. I had the most enjoyable of jobs with an eclectic mix of wonderful workmates from all over the world, and really it was quite the most marvellous time in my life played out in the most magnificent of settings. It’s no wonder nostalgia has me brooding over those blithe days of the early noughties all too often, now that I am burdened with the usual responsibilities rather like the best part of my generation – the husband, the kids, the home, the job – the hectic juggling act to keep it all happy and balanced and beautifully operational.
Innsbruck Christmas tram: http://www.innsbruck.info/
But a girl can still dream of long ago days. Of that once perfect past. Of a magic that is as make-believe as the marvel of a child’s Christmas. Amsterdam exults in the very essence of a fabled fairy-tale. And each time Christmas comes around faraway memories are inflamed; of parties, of markets and mulled wine, of fun-filled moments with friends, of an unfussy time before the efforts of each festive season turned into a progression of unpromising family-pleasing performances.
And then there was the Christmas tram too. Amsterdam had, and still has, a tram that gets all spruced up in the spirit of Kerstfeest, which is just the jolliest of ways to jaunt about town and enjoy the Xmas merriment all the more. I think of this and I hark back to happy-go-lucky thoughts.
Amsterdam Christmas tram: http://radio.nl
I spotted a splendidly sparkling Christmas tram in Milan once too, effusively festooned in fairy lights for a fabulous dose of holiday cheer. Again, happy-go-lucky thoughts. It’s often the simple things that bring a smile, just like a tram spangled out in seasonal jollity for no real reason other than to add a quirk of Christmas cheer on a cold winter’s day.
Milan Christmas tram: http://www.neiade.com
When December dawns each year, who doesn’t love a Santa’s grotto, the jingle of those time-honoured tunes, a Christmas market, a gorgeously garlanded spruce tree, a gingerbread bake, a steaming cup of glühwein for genial good measure? All of this gift-wrapped as one perfect Christmas package – and a festive tram adorned with all the trimmings thrown in too – makes for a merry season of goodwill.
Zagreb Christmas tram: http://www.adventzagreb.com
So many cities in Europe, and elsewhere, now serve up public transport sporting suitably seasonal attire – dapper streetcars disguised as Santa, trams transformed by tinsel and twinkling lights, others bedecked with baubles and blaring Christmas carols. You’ll find them parading in sprightly spirit along the streets of Munich, Budapest, Zagreb, Bratislava, Moscow and more; ferrying folk to festive markets or on Christmas city tours, in sleek modern style or with vintage verve, often offering vin chaud and Christmas fancies, and even free rides.
Zurich Christmas tram: https://www.zuerich.com
Zurich’s historic Mӓrlitram is chauffeured by no less than Santa Claus himself, while Christmas stories are read out by angels to add to the magical experience for children on board. Innsbruck’s vintage tramcar has been running a Christmas route around the city for over a hundred years, much to the delight of visitors. Brussels brings out its ever popular Le Tram Vin Chaud each season for festive fun complete with Father Christmas on board to greet the kiddies. In Cologne, the Christmas Market Express mini-train let’s you hop on and hop off from weihnachtmarket to weihnachtmarket on a city circuit.
Brussels Christmas tram: http://trammuseum.brussels
So if you happen to be off to a magical land of Christmas markets, mulled wine and more this season, be sure to look up the local transport for that extra special touch, and let yourself be transported about the city in style for some bonus Christmas sparkle, with bells on.
*Click on the cities in the article to find out more about their Christmas trams and times for 2017