Christmas in Cologne is heaven of sweet cinnamon smells and glittering lights lighting up the grey city – despite the festive season being over, I felt that the markets could not go without a mention here. Many Germans still have their Christmas trees and light up in their windows, so I felt that it was still appropriate…
I really couldn’t recommend Cologne enough at Christmas.
For me, the best thing was that four of my friends – all in their 3rd year at Durham – came to visit. I had the opportunity to show off the city in all its magic and beauty and found myself being extremely proud of the place that I now call my home.
When I was ‘at home’ (parents’ home) for Christmas, I repeatedly used the phrase ‘when I go home…’ This shocked me a few times and it probably shocked my parents too. However, now that I have two months left, I get pangs of sadness with the realisation that soon I would be leaving this wonderful city.
This is my top 10 list of things that you NEED to see if you go to the Christmas markets.
10 The Pretty lights
9 The Dom (the cathedral) – (This is cheating a bit, but I took this picture more recently… we didn’t have a white Christmas)
8 Waffles in the shape of the Dom
7 Mug collecting – For each of the seven different markets in Cologne, each one had their own special mug that you can buy drinks in, having paid a little extra for the mug. This is called Pfand – but you’re given the money back if you return the mug 🙂
6 The market huts!
5 The Medieval Market – This market was just out of Cologne, but it was certainly an interesting find. All the stalls were lit by candlelight and absolutely no electricity was used to power them. They offered honey mead and all sorts of medieval memorabilia. We even had the chance to see some typical medieval entertainment and flame throwing.
4 Flammlachs – This was the best thing to eat at the markets, in my opinion. Slices of Salmon soaked in warm spices are grilled on planks of wood next to an open fire. They are then served in a German Brötchen (bread roll) with salad. Extremely delicious!
3 Stollen – You can’t go to Germany at Christmas without trying some of the local stollen!
2 Ice skating
1 Glühwein – Delicious and warming mulled wine. I often wondered how tourists survived hours of trundling around markets for hours in the coldest cold of December. This is how!
I’m still grieving over the departure of the markets. The streets are just too cold without the smells of cinnamon and the beckoning warmth of glühwein. The nostalgia and post-Christmas blues have settled in but I’m definitely ready for my next adventure … in the south of France!