Every year, plenty of cities around the world transform into magical places in the run-up to Christmas. Cologne is one of them. No better time of the year to go soak up the atmosphere in this traditional German city.
Once outside Cologne’s central station, the aroma of mulled wine, gingerbread and hot chocolate tells us a market should be near. Just a stone’s throw away is the “Cathedral” Christmas market, next to Cologne’s impressive landmark and beneath the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland. More than 150 stalls are waiting for us. Quickly, we realise the schedule we had put together won't be achievable. The overwhelming variety of gift and decoration ideas in combination with our goal to taste as many sweet delicacies as possible, watch artisans at work and listen to bands playing on the stage whilst sipping a traditional mulled wine, make us slow down tremendously. We decide to throw our plans overboard and just enjoy the snugness of the market. The strolling between candles, glass balls, ceramics, children's toys, soap and all sorts of gadgets continues.
Narrow, cobble-stoned alleys, full of Christmas atmosphere seekers take us to Alter markt. We stop at a stall selling Flammkuchen. The in wood-fired oven baked, pizza-looking dish is a welcoming change. Mulled wine doesn’t go well with savoury snacks so we leave the Alter markt behind and set sail for the next one: Neumarkt.
It was after dark when arriving at Neumarkt. Maybe it is the mulled wine but we believe the Christmas lights raise this market, also known as Angel’s market, to a whole other level. We finish our Christmas market crawl at the Rudolphplatz. The markets close early at night and we happened to be at this appropriately named market to end our journey. No bargains at end of the day, but nevertheless the very last mulled wine was as tasty as if it were our first.
Cathedral markt, Alter markt, Neumarkt, Rudolphplatz are only a few of the numerous markets spread across Cologne. Leaving this city with an overdose of Christmas festivities is highly possible, but in our case it was quite the opposite: we brought the celebrating mood back to the office. The Hedgren Christmas tree is ready to be decorated and the party is locked in the agenda.
Back in the office: