Jasper at a Christmas market

Jasper at a Christmas market (Samantha Juhan @helloitsjasper)

A chilly gust of wind rushes past as we step out of the busy train car. Basking in the crisp air, ears flapping in the breeze, I pause. That smell… could it be? Was it finally time? Taking a big sniff, I yip with delight and start trotting faster. Weaving left and right through the crowd, I hear a joyful laugh burst from behind me.

“Jasper, slow down!”

My human giggles, “The bratwurst aren’t going anywhere.”

Slowing my stride, I walk beside her as we exit the station. Twinkling lights and a burst of festive music welcome us. I was right, it’s time for the Christmas markets!

Jasper wants a brat

Jasper wants a brat (Samantha Juhan @helloitsjasper)

For the past four years, I’ve been a dog on a mission to see every Christmas market Europe has to offer and I’m dragging my Dog Mom along for the ride. Today, we’re attending our first market of the season! With a wagging tale and lopsided smile, I stroll beside her through the stalls. The fragrant warmth of Dog Mom’s mulled wine fills my senses. It’s spiced with clove, cinnamon and an endless array of colorful berries. I’ve noticed that humans like to collect these market mugs that the drinks are served in. While it’s not really my thing, Dog Mom seems to enjoy it. I guess it’s just the human version of a squeaky toy collection.

As we walk past a cauldron of roasting chestnuts, they crackle and fill the air with simmering smoke. The energy at Christmas markets is always buzzing and filled with life. Hopping up on Santa’s sleigh, I pose for Dog Mom as she waves my impending reward above her head. Mouth watering, I keep my eyes on the prize.

“Good boy!” She exclaims while chucking a piece of glorious bratwurst my way. Nothing beats a Christmas market bratwurst… besides maybe Christmas market spätzle or Christmas market kartoffelpuffer or possibly Christmas Market trdelník.

Speaking of snacks, something smells delicious. Poising my nose in the air, we follow my super sniffer to a stall overflowing with freshly baked gingerbread. The best part? They have a dog-safe cookie jar just for me! Delightfully munching on my treat, I settle into Dog Mom’s side. Occasionally, we need a break from the cold, and a cabin-themed bar, adorned with a singing reindeer head, is the perfect place to rejuvenate.

Joyous laughter echoes as flurries of snow flutter across our next stop, the ice skating rink. Perching my paws on the railing, I offer barks of encouragement to the skaters. Towering in the distance is a grand fir tree, dotted with shimmering bows and glittering lights. Below the tree stands a live band, swaying to the beat as they encourage onlookers to dance. Not one to miss out on a party, I gallop over! Onlookers offer me pats of encouragement as Dog Mom holds my front paws in an attempted, but failed waltz. The smell of fresh-cut trees, spiced wine and gingerbread fills our senses as we dance.

As the night dwindles to an end, we make one last round to collect our souvenirs. A billowing blanket of heat wafts from the glassmaker’s tent as we observe them shaping our newest ornament. Carrying on to the woodcarver’s tent, they offer me a stick jokingly as Dog Mom picks out a traditional Weihnachtspyramide. By the time we reach our train, I’m exhausted from all the fun we’ve had. Snuggled on top of my fluffy blanket, I allow the gentle rocking of the train to lull me to sleep as I dream of the next dog-friendly Christmas Market to come.

Jasper and Dog Mom at the market

Jasper and Dog Mom at the market (Samantha Juhan @helloitsjasper)

Jasper’s Top 10 Dog-Friendly Christmas Markets

  1. Montreux, Switzerland

  2. Salzburg, Austria

  3. Colmar, France

  4. Innsbruck, Austria

  5. Essen, Germany

  6. Budapest, Hungary

  7. Cologne, Germany

  8. Wroclaw, Poland

  9. Ravenna Gorge, Germany

  10. Aachen, Germany

Samantha (and Jasper) creates at

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