Frohe Weihnachten = Merry Christmas in German.
But first, as we entered Germany from the Netherlands, we made a pit stop at this German windmill:
Surely by now you can tell the difference between a German and a Dutch windmill?
This Geismühle is 700 years old and is one of the oldest preserved windmills from the Lower Rhine region.
As we drove into Köln and parked at our hotel, then took the metro to city center, we started getting impressions:
As so often happens, everything centers around the big church and city hall.
But more on that later....
Snapshots. Impressions. Things to put on the back burner....
...while looking for a place to eat lunch!
We wanted German bratwurst and sauerkraut, the real thing.
We asked and were directed to the Früh restaurant.
More German you cannot get.
And with our tummies full...we started out for our first of 3 Christmas markets: The Cathedral Market.
The Dom is Cologne's Cathedral, the backdrop for this first Christmas market.
Did I mention that Köln was the first city to start the Christmas market in Germany?
That's why we wanted to go there this year, to see what all the fuss is about!
And because we were there, we decided to visit inside the cathedral before moving on.
Before going in, these merry gentlemen made us believe in our youth again.
Construction began in 1248 and was completed in 1880.
As cathedrals go, it may be the darkest we've ever seen on the inside,
though you can't totally tell by these inages.
It's a magnificent structure and is visited by many...like a museum.
The operative words...like a museum. We had no interest in lingering. In fact, if anything, it was so dark, we needed to leave, and we did. It's not something we always feel inside Roman Catholic churches, but this time we did. (If I remember, I'll remind you of that when I show you the church we visited the next day in Nijmegen, NL. But that's another day, another time.)
Once outside, we refreshed ourselves with hot chestnuts...and some German eggnog!
Time for Christmas market #2: The Altstadt (Old City) Market. You actually just walk from one to the other, separated by 2 or 3 or 4 blocks:
At first I was thinking...once you've seen one you've seen them all. NO!
Each market has it own flavor and art and and theme and shops.
And of course, it was mid-afternoon by now. It all started looking magical.
By the way, that's the old city hall in the bottom-right image.
Yes, they even had ice skating there!
We especially loved how all the merchants were in costume!
From there, we went to our 3rd market of the day: The Angel Market:
Don't you just love having separate themes!
Interestingly, this was the one market where all the workers seemd like angels to me.
Seriously. They looked at me and smiled.
Can you imagine working for 4 weeks at a Christmas market day in and day out
with millions of visitors from around the world in your face?
You'd have to be an angel, I do believe!
It was a great way to end our day. It felt like it was late evening but it was only 5:30p. But we were tired and didn't need to see anything else. Our appetite was fully whetted. In fact, we decided we didn't need to return the next day. Instead, we drove home via Nijmegen, NL. But as I said, that's another day, another
For now, it's time to say Merry Christmas to one and all! Next week I'll say Happy New Year!
(from Web Images)