December 16, 2003

A Day in Cologne

I love the Christmas markets in Germany. I went to one in Heidelberg at the end of 1999, and it just felt so cosy and very much of Christmas, more than any other place I've been during the season. Perhaps it's the look of the cities in Germany, or maybe it's the Glühwein to keep the stomach warm whilst browsing the market. Whatever it is, I couldn't resist a day trip to Cologne with Snow.

The NS (Dutch railway)had a special promotion on, and we got two return tickets to Cologne for EUR80. After getting into the station at 8am, the lady at the ticket office told us that the latest train we could return on was the 5pm train as the 8pm one was full. What we werent told was that it was only all the reservations that were taken. Nothing would stop us from hopping on the 8pm train without a reservation as our actual ticket only had a date on it. I had a feeling this was Dutch culture in action again - "Oh you couldnt possibly go on a train without a reservation!! That's too unorganised!!".

On leaving the staion at Cologne, one is immediately standing next to the large Dom church, which towers over the city centre. The exhausting 500 stair climb left us totally worn out, but the views were quite something! Aside from enjoying the view, we were able to see where the markets and shopping streets were located - useful as we did not have a map with us.

Wandering around one of the markets, we dug into a few little delicacies - sugar roasted almonds, Glühwein, waffles, bratwurst, and anything that seemed fitting. The christmas markets tend to sell arts and crafts, and naturally, Christmas themed stuff. One seller we came across got my attention with a familiar accent - an Aussie surfie-looking guy selling in a German christmas market! I never expected anything like that but was quite chuffed.

Making our way away from the market, we wandered down the main shopping street. A lot of familiar shops lined the steet, thanks to most of these also being present in Holland. But there were plenty of new ones also, as well as a few with great bargains to be had. Snow almost bought a few cheap clothes but got a little disheartened by the queues! At the end of the street we came across another market, and spent a while wandering around, buying a few things here and there (dried fruit - yum).

Eventually we had seen it all and were getting very exhausted. We'd been up since 6am and had sclaed a 500 stair tower, walked all around two markets and a long shopping street. A nearby U-bahn took us back to the main station. I get a little kick out of trying the different underground/metro systems in different cities and Cologne was no exception. Returning back to the station, we downed a kebab and waited for the train. As expected, the train was full. Without reserved seats, we found a place at the bar and sat there for the whole journey back to Utrecht. And the lady at the ticket office said we couldnt get on - Ha! When checking our tickets, the conductor didnt say anything so we proved her wrong!

Back in Hilversum, it would have been a nice ride on the moped back home. If only it hadnt rained and shorted out the ignition. Thanks to a wet HT cable I couldnt start it, and we had to push the bike all the way back home - about 40 minutes of walking again! It was such a relief to get home finally, after a long but wonderful day in Germany...

Posted by Ben at December 16, 2003 12:24 AM

The post looks funny. gotta refresh to see the whole post.

Posted by: Snow at December 23, 2003 02:56 PM

Posted by: HITMAN at August 11, 2005 09:39 PM
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