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Published: December 9th 2009
This past weekend I went to Cologne to visit the Christmas markets. The city of Cologne offers seven Christmas markets in total and they are among the best Christmas markets in Europe. Among them are four big Christmas markets - at the Cologne Cathedral, in the Alter Markt, in the Neumarkt and in the Rudolfplatz.
I arrived in Cologne around 11:00am, just when the markets and shops were opening. The train station was right beside the Cologne Cathedral and the Christmas market. It was pouring rain when I got to Cologne but I managed to look around the market quite a bit and walk up and down the main shopping streets of Cologne. Like the Brussels Christmas market, the Cologne markets had great food and drink, so after looking around I grabbed something for lunch - I learned that at each market they serve hot drinks in special mugs that were designed for each market and are different every year. I had some delicious hot wine in a mug shaped like Santas boot and I decided to start a collection of mugs as a souvenir from the markets in Cologne.
You can take a little train to four of the
big Christmas markets, so after I checked into my hotel, I caught the train and spent the afternoon and evening travelling to the different Christmas markets. My first stop was to the Old Town of Cologne to go to the Alter Markt. According to the famous Cologne legend, this was also the home of the gnomes who were said to be particularly good craftspeople and for this reason, there were many stalls selling handcrafted goods. The next market I went to was the Medieval Christmas market at the Chocolate Museum. At this market the salespeople were dressed in medieval clothing and there were many stalls selling medieval goods like beer and pottery. It was the 10th anniversary of this market and they had special events there like jugglers, concerts, fortune tellers, and a live nativity scene. The third and final Christmas market was at Neumarkt and this is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany because it was decorated as an enchanted kingdom of angels!
On Sunday morning I attended a church service at the Cologne Cathedral. It was very interesting to hear the service and to see the similarities between the church services in Canada and
in Germany - many of the hymns were sung to the same tune...but just in different languages. The childrens choir were also singing liturgical songs and they were beautiful to listen to.
After the church service I decided to go to the two other Christmas markets that I had not yet visited: the Christmas market in Rudolfplatz and the Floating Christmas Market onboard the "MS Wappen von Köln." The market in Rudolfplatz was situated beside Hahnentorburg Castle and had the theme of the brother's Grimm tales. The Floating Christmas Market had over forty stalls and onboard you got a wonderful view of the Cologne Old Town and the Cathedral.
After seeing all of the Christmas Markets, I decided to go back to a few of them and start buying Christmas presents for my family. My first stop was to the Chocolate Museum, which also happened to be the Lindt Chocolate factory in Germany. I then headed over to the market in Alter Markt to buy some wooden smokers and then went to the Nutcracker House to buy a nutcracker (or two) for my mom for Christmas.
Before I knew it, it was coming near the end of Sunday and it
was time to head back to the train station and catch my train back to Brussels. The Christmas markets in Cologne were definitely worth going to and I'd love to go back (with my mom, of course...can't go again without her!!!) another year!
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