Christmas Markets, Cologne

I’m not going to lie, Christmas is soooooo 2019. Originally, I had filed these photos away, done with the holiday season for at least another 10 months. Sorry, Christmas market photos, off to hard drive purgatory you go! But then I felt this little guilty tug – the same one that can’t pass a slightly misshapen stuffed animal in a store without feeling horrendously guilty and ending up taking it home, saving it from what clearly would have been a sad life devoid of love. So here we are, mid January and still chatting about the holidays!And to make matters even funnier, these photos are from Christmas 2018, because yes, I am that behind on blogging! But my next post will be a trip from last February, and I have hope that I can get caught up pretty soon, with some momentous blogging wind at my back!These shots are from our trip to Cologne, right before the holidays. We wanted to eat Christmas market food, buy Christmas market gifts, and drink . . . you guessed it, Christmas market wine. So off to Cologne we went, only a train ride away from Amsterdam but eons more magical when it comes to Christmas! We rented this super cool apartment, and were steps away from the market magic.This is the first Christmas market we went to, and it’s killing me that I don’t know the name! It was a bit further outside the city center, right by our rental apartment. When we got into town, we were starving, so we dropped our bags at our Airbnb and stopped at the first place we saw (this market!!) to get some nosh.Mouths absolutely watering, we ordered everything!Sweet potato fries with chili and mayo.Sirloin burgers.And my favorite, curry wurst!All the while our little traveler friend slept :) with Christmas magic buzzing all around.Our next stop was at one of Cologne’s prettiest markets, the Angel’s Christmas Market.Where we had our first Gluhwein of the trip!The market lived up to it’s angelic reputation, with twinkling lights and merriment aplenty.As much as I love the mulled wine and the deep fried treats, the only Christmas market tradition I regularly uphold is stocking up on bee’s wax candles.As sun went down, the Christmas magic came out full force.
Our next stop on the Christmas market crawl was the Village of St. Nicholas at Rudolfplatz.This market had numerous food stalls, thousands of twinkling lights, and even a small carnival.We kicked off our visit at the Gluhwein stall.Followed by some shopping – where I bought Christmas ornaments for my friends and family in the US that broke in my suitcase! :(And the highlight of the trip for M, a ride on the merry-go-round!At this point, we were uber chilly, and our best line of defense was a mug of warm brew.At this point in the evening, it started raining, but that didn’t deter us from the market fun! We found a tunnel that was glowing in a festive purple, and took shelter underneath. Music from a nearby DJ echoed inside, and a bottle of rum spiked our wine to keep us warm.Everryone had a great time – clearly! :)The next day was a bit of a slow start, but we still had a few more markets to hit up before we headed back to Amsterdam. We started the day at the city’s most famous market, the Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral. Flanked by Cologne’s Gothic Dom, this market is in the shadow of the city’s most notable landmark.Which is so tall, it’s almost impossible to get in one shot!The final market of the trip was Henzels Winter Fairytale. This fairytale themed market is the biggest in Cologne, and even has its own ice skating rink!Here we hung out until the sun set, snacking, sipping, and enjoying the Christmas ambiance.To be honest, this was also the most packed market, making it nearly impossible to get a good shot of the stalls, as they were all so swamped with visitors!As the skies got dark, we headed towards the train station, ready to catch our evening ride back to Amsterdam.Which took us by the gorgeous Dom once again, which was spectacular by night. Kai and I grabbed a quick hot cocoa inside to warm up, and then met our friends at the train station for our journey home. GOODBYE holidays, see you next year ;)

xo Ali

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