Greetings! Has anyone either previously traveld on this excursion or been in this region during early December? I'm wondering how much snow and ice I can expect to encounter when visiting the Christmas markets and touring these locales.
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We've taken two different Christmas Market tours, neither one with Tauck. Both were fantastic and we loved them. The first one was on the Rhine in December of '08. Although it was quite cold, we had the proper clothing, so we were fine. We had no snow, so my boots were unused. The most recent one was on the Danube in December of '10. We had lots of snow this time, so I wore my boots every time we were off the boat. Once again, we had the proper clothing, so we were fine. The moral of the story here is that you just can't forecast ahead of time what kind of weather you'll encounter. However, this past December was unusually cold even here in NC, just as it was in Europe, so what we encountered in Austria and Germany was unusual for them, just as it was for those back home in the states.
It's a wonderful time of the year to experience these rivers and the countries bordering them. The markets themselves are delightful and unlike anything you're likely to experience back home. I'd recommend that by all means you go for it!
I tried to answer your question about how slippery the snow made the streets a couple of days ago, but I had a problem finding the right link. Therefore, my answer is posted under the Warsaw to Prague site. You can find it there. However, the only places we encountered much snow on the sidewalks and streets were in Salzburg and Munich, and it was snowing at least part of the time we were in both cities. Those parts of Germany and Austria have much more snow normally than we have here in NC, so their snow removal equipment is far, far superior to ours. In Salzburg we encountered some slush, but it really wasn't slippery. Boots generally have treads, unlike most street shoes, so they grip the ground and/or pavement better. Your mother should be fine.
If you have other questions, don't hesitate to ask.