Helpful advice and tips

christmas markets

Christmas Markets

Germany or Italy? Strasbourg or Norway? The festive season might feel a long way off, but the season of Christmas markets will be here before you know it. Large or small, each market reflects the culture of the region – food, drink, music and more.

INNSBRUCK November 15 2016 – January 6 2017

Of the half-a-dozen markets in Innsbruck, the most romantic is in the Altstadt, lined with medieval houses. Stalls are piled high with gingerbread, wooden toys and delicate ornaments made of handblown glass. At dusk, trumpeters play carols on the 500-year-old Golden Roof. Try the kiachln – Advent doughnuts – served hot, with cranberry sauce. At weekends, ride the funicular up Nordkette mountain to Hungerburg. After tasty treats at this little market, continue your journey to the top of the Hafelekar for views of twinkling city lights and snow-tipped peaks.

GERMANY – HAMBURG November 21 – December 23 2016

For sheer diversity, Hamburg is hard to beat. In this historic port, 15 different markets cater to all tastes. Traditionalists head for the square in front of the grandiose city hall, where the rows of stalls are themed, from sweet treats (cakes, chocolates and more) to crafts (leather, silver, tree ornaments). Children are entranced by the Spielzeuggasse, the Toy Street, which is full of playthings from around the world. Romantics opt for the Jungfernstieg market, whose focus is on posh food and gifts; while crowd-avoiders choose the smaller Fleetinsel market by the water, where fairy lights twinkle on antique sailing boats. Strictly for over-18s is the risqué Santa Pauli market on the X-rated Reeperbahn.

STRASBOURG November 25 – December 31 2016

Year round, Strasbourg scores for traditional charm, but during Advent the capital of Alsace is even more magical. Half-timbered houses sport giant red-and-white hearts; stars, angels and snowflakes garland the cobbled streets. Here, the Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570 and even the towering fir tree on the Place Kléber is a 400-year-old custom. Check out the 11 different “villages” – themed areas – and don’t miss the bredele biscuits, a local speciality. These special biscuits come in all shapes and flavours, from hazelnut, orange and cinnamon to walnut, coconut and praline. Take them home. Hang them on your tree… Then eat them.

STUTTGART 2016 dates TBC

Dating back to 1692, the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt is one of Germany’s best-known pre-Christmas jamborees. In the car-free, old heart of this compact city, the air is scented with spiced wine and boughs of fresh pine. From the Schlossplatz to the Marktplatz, some 300 stalls snake along the cobbled streets; decked out with bright ornaments and sparkling lights, they compete for the coveted title of “best decorated”.

COLOGNE November 21 – December 23 2016

Cologne has not one but seven Christmas markets. Head to the Old Town’s cobbled Alter Markt and Cathedral markets for candles, tree decorations and handmade lacework. The fairy-tale St Nick’s Village on Rudolfplatz is good for wooden toys, and locals’ favourite Neumarkt’s Angel’s Market for Dresden Stollen cake. Among the trees of the Stadtgarten is a more leftfield market selling Mongolian slippers, jewellery and dozens o f different honeys. It’s a peaceful spot to sit with a mug of glühwein.

ITALY – BOLOGNA November 20 2016 – January 6 2017

Forget “Merry Christmas” – in Bologna, “Buon Natale” is the greeting you hear in the seasonal markets. Spreading alongside the 12th-century San Pietro Cathedral is the Fiera di Natale, while the smaller Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia centres on the cloister of the Santa Maria dei Servi church. Bologna is synonymous with good food. Mouthwatering creations are everywhere, from marzipan fruits and citrus peel dipped in dark chocolate, to torrone – a festive-season nougat made with nuts and honey.

SWEDEN – STOCKHOLM November 23 – December 23 2016

Although the first Christmas market on Stortorget square in Old Stockholm was held 500 years ago, the modern event dates back “only” a century. In front of the Nobel Museum, close to the Royal Palace, the cheerful stalls are filled with crafts made only in Sweden, such as glass, pottery and jewellery. Prices are surprisingly affordable. Grown-ups sip glögg (mulled wine) and everyone munches pepparkakor – thin ginger biscuits. With a dusting of snow, it all looks like a Christmas card, Scandinavian-style. Be sure to bring home a taste of Sweden: saffransbullar (saffron buns) and vacuum-packed sausages made of – don’t tell the children


Should you find yourself in this Arctic city make a beeline for Torvet, the main square, where you’ll find clusters of wooden chalets and traditional Sami lavvos (tepee-style tents). Burning braziers and horse-and-sleigh rides add to the charm. Buy hand-woven scarves and ceramic wine goblets, berry-flavoured cheeses and dried reindeer meat. Refuel with moose burgers, waffles with blueberries, and tankards of mulled wine around open fires in the lavvos. Don’t miss a walk across Gamle Bybro (Old Town Bridge) to the brightly-painted timber houses of Bakklandet, the city’s former working-class district.

SWITZERLAND – ST GALLEN November 24 – December 24 2016

Only an hour from Zurich, St Gallen ticks all the festive boxes: a Baroque cathedral, wonderfully ornate Medieval buildings, and picture-postcard views of snow-covered mountains. Kicking off the Advent fun is the lighting of Switzerland’s tallest Christmas tree, accompanied by carol singing. Look out for biberli. Typical of St Gallen, these ginger bread/marzipan concoctions come in different shapes, have different decorations, and are always delicious. To warm up, drop by a Beizli, little pub, for a mug of feuerzangenbowle – a wine and rum fire punch. CZECH REPUBLIC – PRAGUE December 3 2016 – January 4 2017 Prague’s Old Town Square, Staromestske namesti, has a stage-set nativity scene, a huge tree and daily performances by folk bands and choirs. Comb the stalls – both here and in neighbouring Wenceslas Square – for carved wooden toys, Bohemian crystal, garnet jewellery and traditional straw and maize decorations. Eat klobasa (Polish sausage) or trdelnik, a hot, sugarcoated pastry. Catch an evening concert in one of the city’s churches, such as St Salvator, St Clement’s Cathedral or St George’s Basilica. BELGIUM – BRUGES November 18 2016 – January 1 2017 The main stalls in Bruges are found in Market Square, overlooked by the 13th-century Belfort (belfry), and in Simon Stevinplein. There are plenty of places to buy handmade jewellery, wooden toys, hats and scarves, leather goods and, of course, chocolates. Don’t miss the local beer at Staminee de Garre, a cosy

Help and advice against internet trolls

Computer Safety – Internet Trolls

Trolls or Keyboard warriors and how to deal with them!

How to avoid internet trolls
Help and advice for everybody online

The Internet is without doubt a great invention! Unfortunately, no one so far has been able to develop an anti-troll device that will help to make it a more civilized place. You might have come across this beast called the Internet troll too, in the white of comment boxes, on social networks, and on discussion boards.

On the web, a troll is nothing but a pest who thrives in the anonymity that it provides. The Urban Dictionary has quite a few definitions lined up. But – one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument – is the most point blank.

So, how do you take the war to the Internet trolls? First, by recognising a troll from a guy who just wants to start a one-off flame war.

Putting a Troll In The Crosshairs – Internet troll Fortunately, it’s easy to spot an Internet troll from a distance. They have their own sets of socially unacceptable behaviors. Trolls generally use provocative and confrontational language. A clever one will mix it up with relevant and friendly posts. Trolls hardly ever stick to the topic; they beat around the bush with the intention to confuse the reader.

Trolls of the subtle variety flag off their attack with innocent questions. You will often find them dressed up as new members of forums and chat rooms. Trolls lack understanding of a topic. They will not respond with a proper answer to a proper question.

Dealing with internet trolls – Trolls (especially the clever variants) use catch phrases to win sympathy. For instance, they may portray themselves as victims or specially challenged.

Trolls use web addresses or fictitious online identities that lead to dead ends. Trolls may make desperate efforts to make themselves liked. Sugar coated responses or overt-flattering comments are signature troll moves.

There are different types of trolls. Most are hit-and-miss and are far easier to deal with. Some are more strategic in the way they embed themselves online so as to cause maximum mayhem with minimum fuss. Identifying an internet troll is half the battle one. You can only count on your experience to get one early before you are baited by them. Now, comes the relatively easy part of dealing with these internet trolls.Surefire Ways Of Dealing With Internet Trolls.

Thankfully, you don’t have to call 911 to deal with Internet trolls. No destruction of property has been reported yet. Effective troll management calls for equal parts of caution and common sense. Here are a few guideposts to follow.

Avoidance is the best policy: If you can catch them shooting their mouths off, totally ignore remarks left by trolls. Don’t feed the trolls should be stuck up on a yellow sticky always.

Avoid arguments: If you do get on a one-to-one with someone you suspect to be a troll, keep your remarks to an absolute minimum. State your facts and move on. Put the ball in their court. By the second remark or so, a troll would have identified himself.

Don’t let them flatter to deceive: There is a high chance that a troll will pay a compliment or two to ingratiate himself before he starts his attack. This is a tough one as there are many real admirers who do sugar coat their comments.

Ask For Supporting Data: To net a troll in the anti-spam net, you can ask for data that can quickly verified like an email address or domain name. Genuine commentators usually have an online persona to back themselves.

The power of the webmaster: You can use blacklists and whitelists to separate the bad from the good. IP addresses can be tracked and persistent attacks from an IP or a range of IPs can be effectively blocked.