Well hello to you my reader chums!
The festive season; a time for heart-warming tunes, Christmas markets and good food. To experience something different in the run up to Christmas, a group of my friends and I headed to Cologne for the weekend just gone to visit the Christmas markets. If you've been reading for a while, you'd know I love nothing more than exploring a new place so hopped onto the chance of going. We went for four days and three nights, packing in Cologne's best features in the process. I have to say, I was blown away by the calmness and charismatic appeal the city brought, it was unlike anything I've seen before. The colourful buildings, twinkling lights and picturesque scenery were beyond words, a city I'd definitely recommend to everyone, especially in the festive period.
We ventured on our journey at around 2am on the Friday morning, driving to London Stansted for our early 7.55am flight. After a food stop and security checks, we were off on our way to Cologne, Germany, bursting with excitement for the adventure ahead.
Upon arrival, we dropped our bags into storage as the apartment wasn't ready for us yet. Then we took to the streets of Cologne for a gander, browsing round the Christmas markets and eating some of the local treats. Afterwards, we retreated back to the apartment and were amazed by the accommodation. The two floor, open planned and contemporary style apartment was beyond incredible. There was enough space for everyone, including 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a living area, two dining rooms and kitchen. Dinner out and Christmas markets came next, with a chilly festive frost in the air. The markets looked even more glorious at night, twinkling under the sky. Crafts, decorations and food stalls galore, the two main markets showcased some astonishing goodies, located only a short walk from our accommodation.
Christmas markets at night
Me, Danielle and Chloe at dinner
Cologne Christmas markets with all the girls
Rooftop view of the markets from our apartment
The second day was a late start but featured one of my highlights of the trip, the cathedral. Despite being incredibly tired and claustrophobic walking up the 500+ steps, it was so worth it. The panoramic view of Cologne was mind blowing, you were able to see the entire city and all the Christmas markets that lay below. Like when visiting other cities, cathedrals and churches are an attraction which really impress me and Cologne was no exception. It's a definite must see! I would advise however to take a gym class or two beforehand because we were all crazily unfit and couldn't cope with the exercise! Before and after the cathedral, we visited two separate markets. A quaint, tucked away one which served up crepes and all the breakfast foods we wished for plus a much bigger one, surrounding the cathedral grounds. Here, they sold Christmas decorations, artwork, chocolate strawberries (the best I've ever tasted), mulled wine and more! We then dined in a classic German pub style restaurant with a few drinks, that evening.
Side shot of the cathedral
Key hole shot of the city
Front of the cathedral
The girls at the cathedral grounds
The squad in front of the cathedral
Danielle, Chloe, Molly and I in the skylight room
The third day commenced with even more Christmas markets, located nearby to the river Rhine. Before heading to the chocolate museum that day, we took a look around the quirky markets on offer, soaking up the local delicacies they had in store. After much anticipation, it was time for my chocoholic-self to enter the chocolate museum, 'Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum'. All of us absolutely adored it. The aroma lingered throughout and not only did you get to learn about the chocolate's history but you could see the yummy treats being made and even got to try it! The place was like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory brought to life, I was in sugar heaven.
When evening came, we headed back to the apartment to get ready for ice skating. I was worried initially about skating but eventually gave it a go and had a whale of a time. I'm thrilled we opted to go at night because there was better atmosphere; festive songs were playing and with the lingering scent of mulled wine, Christmas had been amongst us. We had a chilled evening afterwards, purchasing a few snacks and drinks to enjoy at the apartment.
Entrance to the markets
Café stall in the markets
Inside the chocolate museum
The markets nearby the chocolate museum
Ice skating rink
Molly and I on the rink
Me, Molly, Danielle and Chloe on the rink
Me and Molly in our matching pjs
The last day, we embraced all of Germany's highlights once more, tasting the fresh food served up on the markets, walking around the city one more time and goofing around, appreciating the sensational location we called home for the past few days. I got to eat the freshly made waffles and have to admit they were the best I've ever tasted. I had a true foodie day, trying pretzels, strudel and of course the famous sausages; not being a big meat fan I finally found one I enjoyed. It had a slight spice to it and reminded me of a classic saveloy. Overall though, I couldn't fault the cuisine, every dish or snack I purchased was freshly made and tasted divine; if you're a foodie, get yourself down to Germany at Christmas time.
Danielle and I with our waffles
The River Rhine
Having a laugh with the girls at the apartment
Molly and I at Cologne airport
Danke Cologne, you were a true pleasure, I'd love to visit again one day.
I hope you enjoyed this adventure style post. Have you ever visited Cologne?
Thank you for reading <3