Q – Hope this gets answered on traveltruth or via e-mail. We’re in our early fifties and both my wife and I work long hours as programmers and data consultants. In the last ten years of our marriage, we’ve gone away for the Holidays to the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico seven time over Christmas. (cancelled or seriously delayed flights five of the seven times). This year, we want to get out of bed and do something a little more challenging like going to Europe in the off-season. We know the weather will be cold but we were wondering which European city might be the most interesting during Christmas or New Year? Is this at all a good idea? Love the site. There’s nothing else like it.

A – Anything that offers you an escape from the  Dominican Republic is probably a good idea. Why pay top dollar for a beach when you can get Donatello at a discount? We think this is a wonderful idea and, when you find the ideal European city, we would make it an annual affair, and we mean that quite literally. Were it us, we would want to visit a truly charming alternative to a huge European metropolis. The key requirement would be to visit a place that is overrun with tourists during the height of the season and relatively empty during the winter. For us, that would be Venice. Walking the streets or doing  the canals wrapped in  the warmth of a horsehair blanket, is a wonderful alternative to mass tourism and tush-to-tush beaches. We also love Munich during the Holidays. Barcelona is wonderful without crowds and there is always the Left Bank of Paris. But for this first experiment – do Venice and live like a Venetian!