So, if you have read my 26 things to do before I turn 26 list, you will see that number 26 was in fact go to the German Christmas Markets. In Germany! So we did. I asked Mum if she wanted to go and we got it all booked. Cologne, Germany; second weekend of December.
I know I know, I’m sorry! It’s taken me what, 2 months?
I knew we would struggle a little if I’m honest because we hadn’t booked to go for very long. Mum is never really great at walking too much, gets tired quite quickly, and well… I just want to walk everywhere! We flew at 7:55am Friday morning and we had booked to fly home at about 11am on Sunday. (More about that later…)
I had no expectation of Cologne.
I’d never been before and after doing a little bit of research it became apparent that it’s not the biggest place. But we were going to go anyway. Because… well why not?! They have a chocolate museum [eeek!] SOLD!
They did also have 7 Christmas markets.
So, we’d landed in Koln-Bonn Airport. I must say, it was one of the shortest flights I’ve ever been on. By the time I’d got comfortable, and settled ready for a sleep, we were about to land! Anyway, we landed and jumped in a taxi straight to the hotel. We were staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, which was just a short walk to Cologne Cathedral, one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Cologne. Our room was bright, clean and I took a few snaps of our room;
By this point, it was about 11am. We put our bags in our room. Sorted our money and locked all our prized possessions in the rooms safe and we headed out. The lovely guy at reception kindly gave us a map of the city with a few recommendations and off we went. Walking down the road towards the train station, I could already see the spires of the cathedral. We had to walk through the train station, which just felt like an underground shopping centre, to get out at the ‘Dom’. WOW! We all know I love cathedrals. Cologne Cathedral is huge! Although, I must say, it does look like it could do with a good clean.
I won’t lie, I was pretty hungry by this point.
So after a quick look around and inhaling all the different smells being presented to me, we chose Gaffell am Dom for lunch. It turned out to be a very tourist heavy, HUGE, brewhouse but it was cool. The waiter asked if we wanted beer… now I’m not the biggest fan, but when in Rome. Or in this case, Germany… I won’t lie, I’m still not a fan but I drank some, and gave the rest to mum before ordering a glass of white wine. And then came the decisions for food. Obviously, it just had to be Schnitzel!
And obviously, I got a goofy selfie with the waiter! (thanks mate!)
Once lunch was over and we stepped outside in the freezing cold rain, I swiftly put my camera away for protection and we made a dash to the cathedral. I wanted to go in anyway, so what better time than when it’s pouring with rain to walk around? And WOW, what an amazing cathedral it is. At a very impressive 144 x 86 metres, 11 bells and the spires standing at 157 metres, I was definitely impresses. Just a few photos I took;
Once we were done, it was time to head back out in to the cold, where we hoped it had stopped raining. It had settled, woohoo! As we stepped outside, walked around the corner we found the first of the Christmas markets. And then… it started snowing! My legs were pretty cold, (note to self, double layers on the legs or just wear something thicker than jeggings!) but it was so beautiful and so very magical! It was finally starting to feel like Christmas.
After my first glass of Gluhwein, the traditional mulled wine consumed at Christmas markets, and a bit of a sing song and mooch around the stalls, we started walking towards the next Christmas market. At the second one, we found an Irish Pub… Obviously! Called The Corkonian. Erm… Okay? Anyway, we popped in for a quick drink and a toilet break before heading back out into the crowds once again. Look at my pretty little gingerbread woman that I bought… ahhhh!
The third and final Christmas market of the day had an ice rink. I know what you’re thinking…. Did they?
No we certainly did not! I didn’t fancy spending my trip in the local hospital! But on our walk back to the hotel, there certainly were some beautiful sights….
After our very long day, we got back to the hotel, not really wanting to venture back out in to the cold for dinner. However, there was an Italian right on the next corner that we stumbled too, ordered a bottle of prosecco, ate a HUGE pizza (No jokes, even for me this thing was enormous!) and then stumbled back to the hotel for a well deserved rest!
Cheers to that!