Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cologne Christmas Markets

Last Saturday we headed to Cologne, Germany for the day to check out the famous German Christmas markets. There are actually 7 separate markets peppered throughout the city center - all along different squares and city blocks. Cologne had been on our travel wish list for a while, but we waited to combine our visit with the Christmas markets. Seemed like it was the best way to highlight the city. We started our "marketing" there. I loved the cathedral view through the lights and the tree. We were starving so immediately partook in a lunch of German sausages. Connor adores her bratwurst!
I spied this book with the aerial view of the cathedral's market. We were right in the middle of this atmosphere. Very picturesque with the red topped tents!
You can find a little bit of everything at the Cologne market. Wooden toys and decorations are popular treats. As are antique toys for kids. Somehow we made it out of there without having to add another car to our collection. Phew.
I was shocked at how much of the market was devoted to eating. Probably half of the stalls sold food of every flavor and texture. I was surprised to see this one selling hot sauteed champignons, or mushrooms.
After weaving our way through the crowds at the Dom Market (Dom is the word for the cathedral) we went to explore the church's interior.
It was enormous. The altar houses a silver tomb-like box supposedly containing the skulls of the three magi inside. Not sure I totally believe their authenticity, but it lent to the Christmas story so seemed fitting.
The square mosaic of the stained glass was less traditional than I am used to. It was a modern twist.
We squished through Cologne's main shopping streets and made our way next to the Neumarkt, Cologne's oldest Christmas market. This one felt very traditional and nostalgic. I was glad we found it. My favorite booth was the one selling every kind of cookie cutter you can imagine. I bought 4. Christmas cookies are always a hit and this way I can remember Cologne whenever we cut some in the years to come.The very best part about European Christmas markets is the smell, taste, and comfort of mulled wine. In Cologne each market has their signature souvenir mug representing their theme. I loved the Neumarkt's mugs with the angel theme.We also found the Altermarkt. Kirk bought fried potato pancakes, called Reibekuchen, just to taunt me! I am trying to be good. But these were the clear specialty of the market so he and Connor gobbled them down. I stole three bites and oh my were they good!


Karen said...

whoo! I can't wait to check it out this weekend.

Ali Meyer said...

I'm going to Aachen's Christmas Mkt this weekend, but now you've tempted me with Cologne's as well! I think you can't go wrong with any German Mkt! I also might hit the Brussels Mkt next week if I have time before heading back to the States...I'll ring you to see if you're around since you're so close to it. Happy Holidays!

BelgiumBound said...

Wow! I loved the pictures...especially because when we went last year it was raining hard and I didn't get a single snapshot. Thanks for helping me recall the memories though!

Stacie B said...

you know what a sucker for Christmas I am...I so want to visit these!! JEALOUS!

Sues said...

Awwww, I miss the German Weihnachtsmarkts SOOOO MUCH! So fun, and you're right: soooooo much food!!!!!