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Merry Christmas, my dearest readers!
I am writing to you from the living room of one of my best friends, having had dinner and having enjoyed the holiday season. For those of you who, like me, didn’t know this, Germans celebrate Christmas Eve and two days of Christmas, which is awesome for lovers of Christmas like me.
We are close to the end of the year and on the next post I will talk to you a bit about words, plans, and projects for 2018, but for now, let us have a look at the Christmas Markets in Cologne.
Cologne is the most populated city in North Rhine-Westphalia and it is the fourth biggest city in Germany. It is also one of the cities I like the most, but we’ll talk more about it another time.
In Cologne, there are several Christmas markets located in different parts of the city. Because I didn’t have the time, I went only to two of them: the one next to the Cathedral and the one in the City Center.
If you ask me during any other season, I will most certainly tell you that, despite the beauty of the Cologne Cathedral, its southern square is one of the most uncomfortable places to be. It is empty, cold, windy, and has almost no benches to sit on.
However, during the Christmas season, the square is completely transformed and where most of the year there are only tourists with thick jackets and people complaining about the wind, there’s suddenly a beautiful scenery full of lights, food, and music.
The stands are shaped like little houses, the roofs are red, the air smells like punch and caramel-coated almonds, and the lights and the trees make the place feel a little magical.
Yes, you will probably find the same things in every market. The same Christmas lights, the same Christmas ornaments, the same paper stars and the same clay houses. But there’s something about getting closer and really looking.
I like to hear the people talk about their plans for Christmas, compare their work-schedules, and exchange tips about food and gifts. Working at the Christmas market can be cold and tiresome, but most people do it with a smile.
At the heart of the Cathedral Market, there’s a stage where there is always someone playing Christmas music. People gather there to sing, drink and talk. At least they do it before six o’clock, which is when most people start arriving and the market becomes so full that you can’t even walk freely without bumping into anyone.
A fun stand I found this time was called “Names and Cats”. I saw the name and I didn’t know what to expect, but as I got closer I began to realise that there wasn’t anything else to expect except things with names written on them and cat drawings.
The hand-painted ornaments are always beautiful to look at. Despite them having the same pictures and patterns, if they are hand-painted, not two of them are ever completely alike.
In every market that I visit I try to take pictures of different objects, and after two or three markets per year, it’s getting harder to find something original.
But every now and then I find myself staring at a different kind of stand. This year it was the stand with the plaster faces.
I walked twenty minutes to get to the other market. The Market of the Angels is located in the centre of the city. It is also relatively small but its style is quite different from the market at the Cathedral. The stands are white or brown, and its distribution makes it look like a small town.
When a good friend of mine recommended me this market, he told me that the best part about it was the lights on the trees. It’s like a starry night, he told me and, indeed, it was one of the parts I enjoyed most about it.
The smells in this market are also wonderfully intense. It smells of punch, traditional German food, wine, chocolate, and freshly baked cake.
The last thing I saw and bought was a waffle.
A giant, delicious, powder sugar-coated waffle shaped like the Cologne Cathedral.
It was amazing.
That’s all for today. What about you? What did you do this Christmas? Leave a comment. I will see you again very soon to talk about books, words, and plans.
Thanks for reading!