I will start this entry on Saturday as there is not much to tell about the trip into Cologne – we arrived quite late at our hotel after the highly efficient German public transport system gave us troubles.
So, here we are in Cologne. We have come here primarily to see the German Christmas markets, which many European cities host (Edinburgh has their own set) but Cologne is particularly well known for its markets. We start the morning at the major market set under the very picturesque Cologne Cathedral. To try and give you a feel for what they are like – it is basically a maze of wooden huts with a whole range of stalls ranging from handmade gifts (think candles, leather, iron work, hats, Christmas decorations, glass work) through to sweet stalls, beer gardens, hot foods (german sausages on a wood fired grill, crepes, donuts, other german specialities). The good thing about them is that they are all different and it is not just cheap asian junk at every stall.
So we pretty much spent the two days wandering around all of the different markets in Cologne and tried to avoid the peak times – at about lunch time the tourist buses drop off thousands of tourists at these markets and you literally cannot move, everyone shuffles along and you have no control over direction or speed. At these peak times we avoided the main markets and went to the Cologne Cathedral, the Lindt Chocolate Museum, the Nazi museum, some of the more suburban/local markets where the tourists don’t really go and of course Courtney needed an afternoon nap.
Both evenings we had dinner at my new favourite establishment – a Brauhaus (beer house). Each Brauhaus has its own Brew and serve it up in 200ml glasses at good prices, forget $10 pints at Breakwater. You basically get thrown at a big communal table which has enough room to fit you and they just start plying you with drinks. A tab is kept by keeping a tally on your beer coaster and when it is time to leave they just count your coaster and sort it out. They also serve awesome german food – big hearty meals.
All in all another great trip and really looking forward to our next adventure in Germany with Garrath and Sarah.