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Dec 6, 2011

Cologne Cathedral & Christmas Market

*Warning...photo overload!! Sue me, I had too many awesome things to share!*

It's that time of year! Where Christmas Markets are popping up ALL over Germany...and Europe for that matter...and everyone's getting their Glühwien on!! I swear, no country does Christmas quite like Germany. I mean, the whole Christmas tree tradition as we know it today was said to have started in Germany during the 16th century (how's that for little factoid?!). So, needless to say, Germany's been around the block a few times when it comes to all things Christmas. It's seriously like Christmas threw up all over EVERYTHING here! And that's totally a good thing. Makes missing the holidays back home a little more tolerable. D and I had been hearing about all these German Christmas Markets weeks before Thanksgiving came around, so we made list of ones we wanted to visit. No need to go overboard this year...is what I told myself...but we've already hit up 3 markets and it's only December 6th! What can I say? I'm cuckoo for Christmas Markets! And it's totally not true what they say, "Once you've seen one Christmas Market, you've seen them all." Pish posh. Each market has something different to offer, whether it be food, entertainment, or sight-seeing opportunities in the area. No two have been the same for us yet!

We started off the day with a leisurely hour and a half drive to Cologne while listening to Michel Bublé's AH-MAZING new Christmas album. Swoon. That man could melt the ice off a frozen tree with his voice. Mmmm...but I digress. We found our designated parking deck (tip to all travelers in Germany by car: find a parking garage on GoogleMaps in the city you are going to around the areas you are wanting to see and plug that into your GPS...it's a major time saver and takes you right where you want to go without having to hunt for parking!) and made our way to the infamous Cologne Dom (Cathedral).

 The cathedral was so big that I could barely get it all in one photo without having to stand in the street! It is definitely one of Germany's architectural wonders. Very gothic and ominous looking. It was stunning, to say the least. I'm a sucker for a good flying buttress.

The stained glass windows in this cathedral are simply beautiful. So colorful! I have way too many photos of the windows there.

After admiring the inside of the beautiful cathedral, we decided to make our way to the top of the belfry and observation tower. It cost us 6 euro and every ounce of our leg muscle strength to climb the 533 stairs to the top. Oh, and did I mention that the only way up was also the only way down? You had to navigate the spiral staircase very carefully. I seriously thought I was going to die. Proof that I'm definitely not as young as I used to be. I don't know which was worse, the pain and breathlessness from the trek up or the insane dizziness from the walk back down. Either way, I will never do it again.

This is a photo of the view from the belfry. I didn't take any from the observation tower. I was completely exhausted and just happy I hadn't barfed at that point.

After our exhausting, albeit exciting trip to the top of the world, we finally made our way to the Christmas Market right outside the cathedral!

First thing we did...EAT! Duh. Here's D with his yummy pommes mit samurai sauce (basically french fries in a spicy mayo). They are D's favorite things to get from food vendors on the street. Can't really mess 'em up! And they always come in cute little cones! I, on the other hand, chose to stuff my face with a different kind of potato...Späetzle! I loooovve those little potato noodles. These were covered in gooey cheese and topped with caramelized onions and parsley. YUM-O.

And then there's the Glühwein. Ohhhhhh the Glühwein. It's a hot mulled wine that they serve in these ADORABLE mugs. It's like hot cocoa for adults. Apparently it's what everyone goes to the Christmas Markets for...and I can totally taste why. It's ridiculously good. Nothing better than a cup of steaming hot Glühwein to warm you up while you Christmas shop! D and I plan on collecting a mug from each Christmas Market we visit. Remember how I mentioned I usually only take home souvenirs in the form of alcohol? Yeah, I wasn't kidding.

Apfel Strudle, anyone?

By the way, could there be an any more amazing backdrop for a Christmas market? Seriously, I think not.

Down the street a few blocks we stumbled upon another Christmas Market...this one with completely different decorations and feel to it!

There were a crap-ton of people at this particular market. They even had different Glühwein mugs. Don't worry, we didn't get any...even though I totally wanted to. Mr. Crankypants said, "No way, Jose."

Would have been cooler if you had a real monkey, sir.

This market had it's own little ice skating rink. Guess who said no to that as well? Yep, Mr. Crankypants. That was our cue to start heading home. Here's some photos of the view on our walk back to the car:

I want to go back to this store. It's a costume shop with absolutely every costume you could think of! 

So, there you have it. Our first Christmas Market experience in glorious Deutschland! Coming soon...photos and a recap from our visit to the AH-MAZING Strasbourg Christmas Market in France! This place was like Christmas on crack. A must see, for sure!


  1. How fun to experience Christmas in another country! That mulled wine sounds delicious!

  2. Germans are weary, but not that weary to have their children drink mulled wine (at least as long as they are under six ;-))

    Normally you can get an alcohol-free mulled wine (so called Kinderpunsch) that looks the same, comes in the same mug, smells the same. So your kids actually think they have the same. Great stress relief for parents.

    Already curious for your Strasbourg post. That one is really amazing, one of my favorite. Salzburg (Austria) is amazing, you shouldn't miss it. And Augsburg or Nuremberg in Bavaria.

  3. Wasn't climbing to the top to the cathedral fun?! (the text does not quite convey the sarcasm that I intended) Jay and I left our time in Europe with the impression that our number one activity while in Europe was "climbing to the top of stuff." Apparently Europeans enjoy making tourist work for their site-seeing.

  4. wow! you guys are on a roll! we haven't hit one up yet. the cathedral reminds me of the one in strasbourg. cheese spaetzle is my fave!!!

  5. the stained glass in that Cathedral totally sucked me in. I could have just stared at it ALL DAY! And those stairs? phew! They wiped me out! I have an almost exact same photo by the bell =} I'm sad we didn't get to go during the Christmas season. I hope we get back some day.

  6. We are planning to do Cologne this weekend! I'm so excited after seeing your pictures and reading this post! :) Have a great week! --Heather

  7. So jealous! Found you via FTLOB and after reading your "About Me," I've determined that were are, in fact, soul sisters. Haha.

    Seriously, margarita on the rocks and HIMYM?! Best. Combo. Ever. Can't wait to follow all your adventures :)

  8. GORGEOUS photos!!! That cathedral is beautiful!!!

  9. Love all the pics!
    You're probably (hopefully) seeing kids drinking Kinderpunsch... which is like non-alcoholic Glühwein!
    Cologne is one of my favorite cities here!


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