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European Adventure 2023: Exploring Markets and Making Memories on Our Buying Trip

European Adventure 2023: Exploring Markets and Making Memories on Our Buying Trip

Traveling to Europe is always a wonderful experience. When you get to travel with your husband (and no kids!) it’s even more wonderful. And when you get to combine business and sightseeing in one trip it’s the best!

My husband Garry and I spent 19 days running through 5 countries this past February. Winter is not the ideal time to visit Europe but we planned our trip around the Christmas World trade show that takes place in Frankfurt Germany each year.
Gingerbread World European Christmas Market - European Travel Blog
Copenhagen was our first stop. Neither of us had ever been in Scandinavia and we instantly fell in love (with the city…we are already in love with each other!). A boat trip through the canals, the famous Danish hotdog and cardamom bun and schnapps! Both Garry and I had business planned for our short stay in Denmark. I got to visit a trade show where I discovered the Én Gry & Sif collection of felted wool florals, ornaments and gifts that we have since added to the shop.
Gingerbread World European Christmas Market - European Travel Blog
A train ride over the famous Øresund Bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden brought us to the town of Jönköping where we visited StoreFactory. I had been drooling over the Lidatorp candleholders for a year and desperately wanted them for the shop. This fabulous Swedish company does not ship to North America so…I went there and got them myself! This adventure gets a blog all to itself!

Then on to Stockholm where we just got to play tourists. I didn’t know the Stockholm is a city of islands – 27 of them – and we took another boat ride to see the city from the water. Of course, we tried Swedish meatballs but we missed out on the cloudberry ice cream (out of season).
Gingerbread World European Christmas Market - European Travel Blog
Next up was Germany and the massive trade show in the Frankfurt Messe. I had been to this show a number of times but this was my first visit with my husband. So much more fun to go with a friend – and a friend that sees things so differently than I! It was so good to meet my contacts from the many workshops and factories from whom we buy. These were my first face to face conversations with them since before Covid. So good to hear that these companies not only survived – many are thriving! We met the husband and wife couple from G-Bork Ornaments. Together they design whimsical and colourful metal ornaments and we are thrilled to have a selection of these in the shop for Christmas.
Gingerbread World European Christmas Market - European Travel Blog
No trip to Europe would be complete without a visit to our biggest supplier – Lebkuchen Schmidt in Nuremberg. I got a royal welcome from my friends there and got to tour the bakery and see cookies being made. I also got to taste the new Lebkuchen of the Year – Southern Elise. It was top secret at the time!!! In addition to meetings with Schmidt, I stopped in to say hi to the good people at the Fraunholz and Wicklein Lebkuchen bakeries. And…I got to make my own Lebkuchen at the Wicklein shop in the Hauptmarkt – if you’re even in Nuremberg this is a lovely (and yummy!) activity.
Gingerbread World European Christmas Market - European Travel Blog
The rest of the trip was all fun and games for me (not so much for my husband). Edenborough Scotland was a highlight – wow that’s an amazing city! And, because we would be flying right over it anyway, we spent our last 3 days of the trip in Reykjavik Iceland – another amazing experience.

There are so many good memories and highlights – too many! But one thing that stood out to me was how social media played into our travels: I would post that we were in a city and friends and customers would DM suggestions for things to see and restaurants to go to. I was tickled that people were following along with our trip and so delighted to hear about their experiences in the places we were visiting.

If you’re on Instagram or Facebook you can see some video clips and pics of our journey – just scroll down to the posts from February 2023.

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