Cologne, a 2000 year old city spanning the Rhine River in western Germany. A landmark of High Gothic architecture set amid reconstructed old town, the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral is also known for its gilded medieval reliquary and sweeping river views. This city was heavily bombed during WWII and wiping almost 95% of the population in the town. Now, it is the cultural hub for impressive Christmas Markets and all sorts. Important thing to note if you do visit, almost all the shops are closed on Sunday including many restuarants. Only small convenient stores are open. Luckily, the markets were still in operation.
12:00pm We start walking around town and the Cathedral is just too eye-catching to not visit. The enormity of the towers is so impressive and dwarfs everything around it.
1:00pm Conveniently, there is a Christmas Market right next to the Cathedral. Live performances, delicious salty pretzels and the smell of sugar and cinnamon fill the air. We were really taken back by the amount of people in the markets. It was difficult to move – let alone stand to enjoy the food.
There’s an alcohol-free (alkoholfri) option – Mulled fruit juice, hot chocolate or soft drinks.
We weren’t expecting much from this pretzel but it was surprisingly tasty!
Another Langos for the tummy.
Just a minute’s walk, there are more Christmas markets. Open piano playing, ice sliding games and well lit merry go-rounds.
There seemed to be a lot of craved wood figures in this market. We were lucky enough to see the carpenter in action. He used a small chain-saw looking machine and carefully carved out the many angles and shapes from the raw wood.
This was exciting for spectators and players. It was like a game of lawn balls but on ice. You would retrieve the swinging tops from the end of the board – careful not to slip!
This was magical. The notes coming from this piano filled the streets with a warm liveliness. He played christmas songs with an uplifting melody.
This was just too cute. “Guys, I can’t see a thing!” when I look at this. This is perhaps reference to the 3 wise men which Cologne claim to have the bones stored here.
We had lunch at a place called Maki Maki which was a vegan Japanese sushi restuarant. The sushi looked like pieces of artwork. It’s a first for all of us – vegan roe, vegan bacon and vegan cream cheese.
Here are some more iconic pictures of the Rhine River and the Cathedral from the Observatory tower.
Locks. Oh so many locks. If you didn’t get a chance to put your lock on the Paris bridges, you can try your luck here. The bridge is congested with the declaration of love. It is running out of space and we see that bike chains have been added to add to the lock real estate.
Overall, I think we are done with Christmas Markets this year. Thank you Cologne for having us. It was magical.