We had so much fun in Cologne on Saturday. It a great city because the centre is large enough to have everything you need in a City but it is small enough to be able to walk everywhere. I have definitely walked many miles in Germany which will help to compensate for all the Gluhwein we have drunk and food we have eaten!
We began with a hearty breakfast in our hotel and then set off for the nearest market. The Christmas market on the Alter Markt had an ice skating rink. Lara used to skate regularly but Harvey had never been before. They were both very keen to have a go!
Not quite as easy as Harvey thought it was going to be – we tried not to laugh but I confess we failed 🙂 Luckily his sister is a good skater and a patient teacher. They went round the circuit a few times together and as we were quite early, it was quiet to begin with.
I managed to obtain one of the yellow market porter style trolleys which had little blades on it and was hired out to help beginners. It was brilliant and enabled Harvey to get his confidence and Lara to have a decent skate. This was such a pretty skating rink.
Eventually Harvey mastered ice skating 🙂 A very good time was had by all. After refreshments we wandered along to the next market. Look at this pretty detail on the wall. The market near the town hall had a green and goblin theme, and had lots of traditional hand crafts. It was very crowded! The gluhwein here was served with crisp ginger biscuits. When we had seen all we wanted to see we strolled through the main shopping centre. These enormous gingerbread houses are all edible. We saw many superb examples of buildings such as this. Much of Cologne was badly bombed during the war. Some of the most beautiful buildings were preserved in part and became part of the new building. Very clever. Shopping time – again 🙂 I love habitat and was so sad when it closed down all its shops in the UK. I was delighted to see a habitat in Cologne and we have a car so I could buy things as I could actually transport them home – wheeeee 🙂 Just across the street and past another magnificent church was another market. This one is the Market of the Angels. It was quite different to the others as it was set in a huge square and all the stalls were in white chalets with white stars. The produce on sale here seemed to be very upmarket. After an enjoyable potter about we returned back to the hotel for a short break. It was very cold on Saturday but we wanted some supper so we popped in to the market beside the hotel. This stall sells a variety of sugar coated nuts which I know is really naughty but they were so delicious. A cone of warm sweet nuts was just the thing when it was so cold.
Hello sailor! Most of us had “Backfish” in a roll with tartare sauce. It tasted like cod, the batter was crisp and warm and the tartare sauce perfect. Each one cost about 5 Euros so much cheaper than a restaurant meal. We headed back to our hotel and snuggled up to watch Baz Lurhman’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ which was one of about 40 films on offer. This is the funky Reception desk at the hotel.
So that is the winter Solstice behind us – here comes summer!