Christmas Markets!!! I finally had the chance to go to my first of many markets to come, and it was better than I imagined. There is nothing like this in The States; and there SHOULD BE!!! They are quite magical.
Anyways, met up with Kensley in Cologne and hit up the largest market that contains about 150 vendors and lies right outside the Cathedral, making for a perfect backdrop. The place is full of handmade crafts, jewelry, toys, honey, and the smell of food and Glühwein. So much food. Cakes, cookies, nuts, and did I mention Glühwein??? The cool thing about the Glühwein is that you can purchase a mug for 2.50 and the wine is 2.50. You can either keep the mug as a souvenir or return it and get your 2.50 back. The mugs from each market are unique and represent that year at that particular market, so of course I kept mine! I’m sure I’ll be trying to pack 20 mugs by the time I’m headed home.
More unique German sweets like stollen and Leibekuchen, sausage of all kinds, fish being cooked by a flame, crepes, vegan chili, “Southern” pulled pork haha, and this delicious concoction called Trdelnik. Tasted similar to a cinnamon sugar pretzel but crisper, and 10 times better.
After buying some gifts and walking around, we went around the corner about 200 yards to the Old Town. This market has a Gnome Theme. Cologne has 6 markets, all with different themes, and you better believe I will be visiting as many as possible. We only had about 30 minutes so we were not able to see all of the Old Town market, but we plan on returning tomorrow to finish seeing it and some of the others.
Went back to the Christmas Markets today and was able to see all but two of them. Monika had to go to Neumarkt, the city’s shopping district, so I rode into town with her and met up with Kensley again. We checked out the rest of the Old Town market and got to see the ice rink. We also had a Käse und Schinken Handbrot. AKA Cheese and Ham Hand Bread AKA Heavin. In. My. Mouth.
We then ventured to the “Angel Market” in Neumarkt, and neither of us were too impressed by it. So we started walking with no destination in site and stumbled upon “Nikolausdorf”, or in English Santa Claus Village. This was by far my favorite because of its charm and perfect size. It was situated next to the old city gate in the Rudolfplatz neighborhood. Here I got some Glühwein in a mug shaped like a Santa Boot.
After getting back home there was yet another party in the neighborhood. This one was for Jan’s mother and he told me there would be Bigos and young people so I went, mainly for the Bigos. I met many of Jan’s female cousins and their boyfriends and all were extremely nice. I sat and ate and talked for a long time. This party was much more like what I’m used to. The next morning Monika asked if I like the night better and I said yes for sure. She said she could definitely tell I felt more comfortable in that setting.
Last weekend the party we attended was loud and the young people all looked like they were about to hit the club while I was in my usual jeans, sweater, and Chucks. Last night it was much quieter, everyone was sitting around having conversations without having to yell. The young people were also much more like my friends back home, which was very refreshing to be around. I am really becoming comfortable here. Figures that would happen right as I’m about to leave.
I finally got at least a third of mine and Kalin’s trip situated, she will be here Wednesday and we will head straight to Berlin. Hopefully she can get over her jet lag quickly!