Cologne. That word sounds familiar. Cologne is a city and Germany and it is known for its cologne (perfume). Although, I didn’t venture into the stores to check out the scents, I experienced the Christmas outdoors in this amazing city. I have to admit that my first stop in Cologne was to Starbucks. I know its a little shameful, but I’ve been living in Belgium and they only have a Starbucks in the airport. So I got myself a Lebrucken latte. A what you may ask? A gingerbread latte (in English). I sat in the second-level seating area, and looked at the hug christmas tree outside while listening to christmas music. After enjoying my heartwarming coffee and eating a gigantic salty pretzel from a German bakery, I started walking towards the markets. The outdoor shopping in Cologne could not compare to Antwerp. It went on and on and on. There were so many people that everyone waddled along like penguins down the pedestrian-only boulevard. I went into a few shoes stores and was overwhelmed by the collection. In one store alone, there were at least 500 different pairs of shoes in different styles and brands. I don’t know how anyone ever decides on something.

Moving on, there were so many huts with christmas decorations, candles, wooden toys, and many different kinds of food and sweets. I ate a steak sandwich and a chocolate covered banana. I continued down the street window shopping. I made it to the end and the first Christmas market was there: Neumarket. There were little wooden huts set up in long rows. They had painted signs that said in German what each hut had. I saw one hut where men where making fresh bread. One put the dough on a long wood “spatula” and the other put the dough into a large oven which cooked the bread with fire. The stacks of wood beside the oven added the perfect atomosphere and contributed to the great woody smell. My jacket ended up smelling like smoked meat, but it was worth it.

In the Cathedral Market, they were serving hot wine and everyone was drinking it out of a coffee mug. After walking through all the crowds, I went inside a hotel to rest my feet and warm up. The cafe was very classy with christmas decorations and the windows were large so I could see everyone in the christmas market outside. Now this is a smart way to enjoy the festivities as well.

Even though there were too many people for the space in the markets it added to the christmas atmosphere. I am sure that many people go to Cologne during the Christmas season mainly for the markets. Its definitely something I would repeat.