In the words of Slade… ‘IT’S CHRISSSTTTTMAAAASSSSS’
For anyone that knows me, or follows me on ANY social media platform, you will be fully aware of my overwhelming love of everything that is Christmas, December and celebrations. For that reason, I was on a full Christmas ban in my office until the 1st of December. Needless to say I came in on that Thursday and sprinkled Christmas joy everywhere around the office, like an Elf on Prozac (in the form of tinsel and fairy lights), all the while wearing a Santa headband. You can’t say my office weren’t expecting it!
Given said Christmas ban at work, I decided to take matters into my own hands and hoped, skipped and jumped on to the Christmas Spirit train (well, plane) to Cologne for a long weekend to soak up the culture and atmosphere in the home of the Christmas Markets.
We spent two nights in the Radisson Blu Hotel which was perfectly located a 10 minute walk from the river Rhine and the stunning Cathedral, and of course the Christmas markets. The hotel bar was lovely: a little pricey for imported spirits and and mixers, but that is to be expected. A lovely ambiance both during the day and in the evening.
Throughout, it was a beautiful hotel filled with happy and helpful staff, spacious rooms and a breakfast buffet fit for a king.
The short walk across the Hohenzollern Bridge brought with it stunning views of the river, the Cathedral and of course the padlock bridge.
Much like the world famous Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, love-struck tourists affix their romantic tokens to the bridge, all individually inscribed with the sweethearts’ initials and the key thrown away to symbolise their unbreakable love. But, just to keep all of those hopeless romantics grounded, we spotted this on the bridge:
Let us all take a bet on whether it was a female or male that went back to the bridge, located their iconic symbol of love amongst the thousands, and took a metal cutter to it…
Back on a slightly more romantic tone, the bars and restaurants around in Cologne were needless to say full of Christmas decorations just as much as they were spirit. Autumnal coloured leaves still clung on the trees and street performers were dotted around the city center.
Twinkly lights surrounded the beautifully decorated Christmas markets. We visited four in total, and while they all followed the same format, each were unique in their own way.
“Isn’t this amazing?! It’s like Winter Wonderland on steroids!” – Christa Kaizer, 2016.
We did dabble in a bit of ice skating – which, by the way, is A LOT more (and dangerous) fun when you’re drunk, one evening after dinner at a local beer house called Bauhaus Ohne Namen, mingling with all of the locals.
Nestled within a shopping street that would give London’s Oxford Street a run for it’s money, we found a little gem called Eigel Cafe which was filled with ALL OF THE CAKES. We stopped here for a coffee and a slice of cake to rest our weary heads (due to the high mulled wine consumption levels) before continuing on to do a bit of Christmas shopping.
We wanted to do more attraction visits but both the Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (yes that does mean Chocolate Museum; congratulations, you now speak German!) and the Cathedral were closed on the Monday. We did however spend 4 hours in the best zoo I’ve ever visited; best €19 I spent all holiday.
It was a lovely long weekend and much needed after a stressful few months at work. I want to make visiting Christmas markets into a December holiday an annual tradition as so many countries host their own markets, and well, I don’t need to give any more reasons to do something that involves Christmas and a holiday.
I went ice skating over the weekend with one of my best friends to soak up a bit of the London Christmas spirit at the LuminoCity outdoor ice rink in Canary Wharf. I went a couple of years ago and loved it; this year seemed a little too overcrowded, especially for nervous/inexperienced skaters. We still had a blast though; me more so than my friend as she is one of those nervous/inexperienced skaters and spent quite a bit of time on the floor, which I’m not shamed to admit did provide me with great entertainment. So, thanks for that, Charlie!
I hope you’re all very much in the Christmas spirit. And if you’re not, then hurry up, there’s only 10 days to go!