Dream Destination LogoDream Destinations       Your journey begins here!
Dream Destinations Newsletter # 7
November 2012 
In This Issue
Have Travel Questions--We Have a Great Source for Answers!
The Holiday Season is Almost Here!
Feature Photo
Hank's Europe Geo Quiz # 4
Why Use Us?
11 Great Travel Essentials Ideas
Boxing Day--A UK Tradition
Answers to Geo Quiz # 4
Hank & Anne Cron Castle Ireland
Dear Travel Friends

We hope you like our new newsletter!  For 16 years Anne & I have been proud to help our friends visit the wonderful DREAM DESTINATIONS of this world.  As you know, we specialize in cruises and European travel. Your journey begins here! 
Don't hesitate to call us for more information at 713-397-0188 (Hank) or 832-244-0215 (Anne).
We are happy to help!

Anne Schrader

 Certified Travel Consultant
 Accredited Cruise Counselor


Hank Schrader, USMA '71

Certified Western European Destination Specialist

Dream Destinations

Your journey begins here!

11911 Fountain Brook Dr
Pearland, Texas 77584


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Both Anne & Hank are  Western Europe Destinations Specialists conferred by The Travel Institute



Have Travel Questions-
We have a Great Source for Answers!


 Travel involves a lot of preparation. How can you know if you are getting the best value for your money? You could just go out and book it on the internet and then try to do all the research yourself. Or you could come to us, let us guide you, and let us become your resource for your answers. Better yet, we have a great resource for you-the ABOUT section of our website.

Our ABOUT sections covers many topics that will help you travel smarter. It has six items on the drop down menu. They are 1) About Us; 2) Travel Tips; 3) Resources; 4) Newsletter Archives; 5) The Traveler Hall of Fame and 6) Contact Us.

So how can this info help you? Just from this section alone, you can learn about our professional credentials; how to protect your money; what are the travel regulations require to enter a different country, what is the weather-those are just a few of the many information items--it is a huge resource!

Let me just highlight just a few items for you. The Resource sections links to websites so you can get the latest info about changing conditions like weather, currency rates, and travel regs. I think any traveler should read our travel tips section, especially the cruise/Europe travel tips & smart money documents. Our newsletter archives & special section has a lot of information that will give you travel ideas and advice on how to get the best value for your money. In the Traveler Hall of Fame, you can meet some of our clients who got to use our services-you can hear what they say about us, see their trip and see some cool pictures.

Our job is to help you learn as much as possible about travel and this portion of our web site delivers! Please click this link to visit this great section.


   We are European & Cruise travel experts--we can make your trip special--call on us to help you find your Dream Destinations!























The Holiday Season is almost Here!

Budapest Christmas Market Stalls 



Christmas Market, Budapest Hungry 

Photo Anne Schrader 

The holiday season is almost here!

by Anne Schrader

There's no nip in the air, no snow flurries and definitely no reason to break out the sweaters. So, besides the fact that the calendar tells me that fall has arrived, I've been aware since for months, since the Christmas decorations went out for sale around June 18 here in Pearland!

Many of you have made holiday travel plans for this year. You've already scheduled visits with family and friends, whether at your home or theirs. Some of you have booked a holiday getaway. (And, happily, I'm here to tell you there are still many options available, should you decide you'd like do something different this year, just give us a call or put your "wish list" on the new form "Tell Us About Your Travel Ideas" at www.dreamdestinations.com.

I wanted to take the opportunity, not for a "sales pitch", but to share our holiday plans. They're not over any specific holiday, but since we'll be traveling during the "season", they definitely fit the bill, as holiday travel. And, coincidentally, since we did a very similar trip last year, almost to the date, it looks like we have established a tradition. Agreeable, not nearly so much a TRADITION, as March-ons, or the Army vs. Navy game, but for 2 people who have not really followed their own calendar for 25+ years, doing the same thing 2 years in a row, in our opinion, fits the bill.

We're heading, again, for a wonderful 2 week-trip to Europe, starting in Budapest, Hungary for a Danube River cruise aboard the AMA Waterways' brand-new ship, AMACerto. This will be our third river cruise with AMA. I'd say they will provide you with a trip of a lifetime, but sailing with them is so great, once in a lifetime is definitely not enough! Not to mention that they sail on several rivers!

What makes this trip so special? Well two things actually.

First, this new ship is revolutionary, as it has "real" balconies. As Hank has written, the ships on a river cruise, unlike an ocean cruise, are limited in size, due to the size locks (a gated section of a canal or river that "enables boats to pass to a higher or lower part of the waterway") on the river. Most of the ships have what is called a "French Balcony". In reality these are double sliding glass doors, with a railing, that open, allowing the passengers to have "access" to the outdoors. On the new AMACerto, there are "twin balconies". One is the traditional French Balcony, and the other balcony is a glassed-in enclosure, with a table and two chairs, so you are actually sitting outside.

Now, I will admit, our stateroom doesn't have a "twin balcony". Since we have sailed the Danube before, we know what to expect with the beautiful scenery. But, you can rest assured; we'll do our investigating of the ship, in order to let you know about all the new bells and whistles! (You've heard it before . . . it's a dirty job, but someone has to take one for the team!)

And, secondly, but not in any way less of a great reason, why we made river cruising our new "annual "holiday trip". . . the Christmas markets!

If just the thought of decorating for Christmas; shopping for handmade gifts; eating traditional holiday foods puts the icing on the sugarplums baking in your head and you need a new "kick with the old Santa's boot" to make your holidays brighter then start thinking about a trip to Europe next year! You will definitely want to experience this absolutely stunningly beautiful, joyous tradition! Just imagine a nip in the air, possible with snow floating around you, hundreds of booths all decorated with lights, selling items that families have worked on during the year. The smell of roasting chestnuts (yep, for those of us living in the warmer part of the US, these DO exist), sampling the multitudes of bakery items (especially gingerbread) candied nuts, and drinking the famous Glühwein (mulled wine). The sounds, sight and smells will ring every jingle bell of your senses!

I've become very attached to the cups that are used for the Glühwein and know we'll use them for our spiced apple cider. Each town's Christmas market has multiple places to purchase a cup of Glühwein. You pay a refundable deposit (approximately 5) plus an additional 2.50 per cup. You can sip the hot wine while strolling through the market. Drop the cup off at a different spot, reclaim your deposit (or pay for a refill and drop off later). But here's a hint: if you decide you want to keep the cup, just don't get a refund. However, make sure you ask for a cup with the year on it when you order and you'll have a wonderful souvenir after enjoying the traditional beverage! One note here . . . in Budapest, the best mulled wine came in a Styrofoam cup, there's really no need to bring that one back!

I could go on for pages about our experiences last year. The Christmas markets were just setting up in several of the towns we visited, but the spirit was still there. And, of course, we didn't get to experience but a few at night, when you really get the full effect. Even though the markets are busy, the people are so polite, no shoving, no pushing; and, listening to the live music, whether choirs or local entertainers; inhaling the scents of traditional roasted meats and spices of the baked goods, all while staying warm with the aid of a hot drink make the life-long stories and fairy tales about the Christmas season in Europe come alive.

Watch for photos of our trip on the website, www.dreamdestinations.com and our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/visitdreamdestinations or our pinterest page www.pinterest.com/visitdd .

It's not a dirty job, it's a labor of love and we're very happy to take this one for our Dream Team!

Thank you to each and every one who has supported us in our business and personal life.  Although we definitely enjoy traveling, we know that without you, we might not pay the attention to detail, that allows us to offer you first-hand information about the countries, traditions and people of Europe!

Happy holidays!




 Call us now, so we can help you find the perfect Europe Trip for YOU! 

Irish Door Dublin  
  Feature Photo
Beautiful Door, Dublin Ireland
Photo Anne Schrader


Hank's Europe Geo Quiz #4 (European Christmas Traditions)

I am a former high school world geography and AP human geography teacher. Ok, class is in session--Good Luck!


  1. What is Santa Claus or St. Nicholas called in a) France; b) Germany; c) Hungary; and d) Spain? (5 points for each right answer)
  2. In what country did the modern custom of the Christmas tree develop? What is the tree called in this country (I'll accept either one of 2 answers here)? (10 points for each right answer)
  3. In Germany, December 6th is St. Claus day (or Nikolaustag). What do many Germanys leave outside their doors on the night of December 5th with hopes the following morning of finding presents? What will you get if you are naughty? (10 points for each right answer).
  4. In what European country do the lucky children receive presents twice? For extra credit-name the days. (10 points for each right answer; 5 points for extra credit for each date)
  5. In one European country, swinging at solstice time evokes an ancient desire to encourage the sun to "swing" higher in the sky. In what European country do people play on swing sets set up especially for Christmas?


Each question is worth 20 points.


90-100    You are a smart Europe Geo genius!

70-85      You know a lot!

60 or less  You spent too much time in the     Pub with Hank, but this quiz will boost your Geo IQ!


Answers are at the bottom of this newsletter!



Why Use Us?
Anne & Hank on the Celebrity Silhouette 2011
The value we add to our customers:
1. It costs you nothing for us to plan your travel.
2. We have 16 years experience--we help you get the best value for your dollar --saves you time & money!
3.  Book it yourself & you are on your own--we can help you avoid problems & help resolve disputes.
4.  We are small enough to give you personalized service, yet big & experienced enough to get you the right trip.
5.  We are honest, hard working with one goal--to serve you--we will do what is best for you not us.


  11 Great Travel Essentials Ideas



What do professional travelers never leave home without? 

A poll of 500 writer/photographer members of the Society of American Travel Writers resulted in the following items:


1) Good walking shoes,

2) Plastic zip-lock bags,

3) Imodium (antidote for diarrhea),

4) Photocopies of prescription for medicines & eyeglasses,

5) Swiss Army knife (be sure it's packed in your checked bag),

6) a pocket flashlight or headlamp,

 7) spare camera batteries,

8) your address book,

9) Photocopies of all credit cards on the trip, along with a copy of the ID page of your passport),

10) Converter plugs for various power outlets  11) Band-Aids & dental floss.

Want more great ideas? Check out our travel tips on our new website under the About Heading at www.dreamdestinations.com  





Boxing Day-A UK Tradition


Boxing Day is an English Holiday that happens on the day after Christmas, December 26. It was traditionally a day when trades people and servants would receive gifts from their employers. Today it is more a public holiday, with banks being closed. If the 26 falls on a Sunday, then the holiday is observed on Monday.

According to Wikipedia, the origins of Boxing Day are unclear. They say "The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of St. Stephen which in the Western church falls on the same day as Boxing Day."

The tradition of gifts continue today.  Schools gather boxes of gifts that are often sent to poorer countries around the world.  Many Brits give tips or gifts to people such as the paperboys.  Churches also collect gifts and money on Christmas Day in Alms boxes that are open on December 26--Boxing Day.

Boxing Day is a time for families to get together and play board games, eat a great meal and watch sports on the telly.  They also take walks in the countryside.

One of the key events of this celebration is the shopping sales. It is just like the day after Thanksgiving in the US with sales and price reductions, often great deals. Combining this with early openings and extended hours has brought about the same shopping frenzy as our Black Friday deals in the US. Just to show how important this day is to shop owners, merchants often make their most revenue on this single day of the year. Along with the great deals come the long lines and hassles involved with huge number of shoppers. To help remove some of these problems, some merchants have gone to Boxing Week Sales.

Football (soccer) and rugby are also big events on this day. The Premier Soccer League and Rugby League, professionals, have games on Boxing Day. They are often against local rivals so that fans will not have to travel too far on this holiday. Horse racing is also popular. Another traditional event is mounted fox hunts, but there is a new twist for modern fox hunts. In 2004 the Hunting Act banned fox hunts, but modern day hunters now chase scent dragged trails instead of live foxes. Boxing Day is the biggest hunt of the year.

Traditional Holidays like Boxing Day are evolving in our modern world. From a day of gifts to workers it is now a public holiday with great shopping opportunities and key sports events.


Here are a few tips when traveling in the Britain during the Christmas holidays. On Christmas day, the tube closes down in London. Hotels are often booked up, so make your plans early. Museums are generally closed from December 24-December 26.


Answers to Hank's Geo Quiz # 4



  1. A) France-Pere Noel: b) Germany Weilnachtsmann; c) Hungry Mikulas; and d) Spain Papa Noel.
  2. The modern custom of the Christmans tree developed in Germany. Germans call their Christmas trees Weilnachtbaum or Tannenbaum (fir tree).
  3. They leave shoes or boots outside. If you are nice, they are filled with presents; if you are naughty you get a rod.
  4. In Poland the lucky kids get presents twice; candy & sweats on December 6th (presented by St. Nicolas) and presents on Christmas Eve (December 24th), usually late at night or December 25 (by the Star man).
  5. Spain.


90-100        You are a smart Europe genius!

70-85          You know a lot!

60 or less   You spent too much time in the Pub with Hank, but this quiz will boost your Geo IQ!


A Travel


Anyone who books a trip  with us before November 30, 2012, has their choice of one of 2 great gifts.  One gift is the Richard Solo Smart Back up Battery for iPhones or iPods (certain models).  The second gift is the WineHug, a protective travel case for a wine bottle.  These gifts will be provided to our clients upon final  non-refundable payment for their trip.  This is just one way Dream Destinations goes the extra mile just for you!
Offer Expires: November 30, 2012 while supplies last