It's probably a good job the photo above of yours truly is out of focus, or else you'd all be able to see the glint in my eye when tucking into a stick of pork. Funnily enough, at home I'm not much of a meat-eater, however transport me to a new location and you'll find me tucking into every variation of meat within a five mile radius! Food aside, it was so lovely meeting our relatives out there and as always, simultaneously it felt kind of surreal. It's so easy to pigeon-hole people and imagine them only in specific locations, and yet there we all were catching up and telling jokes in the middle of a German Christmas market. It was a special moment, for sure.
Travel tip: if you're in a group, take your food to the outskirts of the markets before diving back in - it's the only option available that doesn't involve bumping into everyone!
Leather Jacket - Clements Ribeiro
Hat - Boutique
Snood - Boutique
Cashmere Jumper - Gift
The next morning I packed my suitcase and tidied the hotel room (anyone else do that before leaving?), took a quick photo of the cosy bar area found near the foyer of the Hilton Cologne and took my case down to the underground car park to meet my family. We had some time to kill before our journey home and so took the opportunity to return to the market visited late the night before. The vibe was so different in daylight, though provided the perfect ambience for a calm meander through the stretch of the market to do some last-minute gift shopping!
The ice-skating feature at this market is a brilliant one. I mean, sure, I can't step on ice without ending up in hospital (three times and counting), however I can still appreciate how great they look! It's easy to lose yourself for hours on the bridge overlooking the ice-skaters down below, watching people glide up and down and of course some falling down over and over again! As I was standing on the bridge surrounded by laughter and cheerful faces, it really dawned on me how fortunate I was to be there - it's funny how travel will do that. Funny and very, very nice.
To end our annual family trip to Cologne, we spent one last hour at the market sitting next to Cologne Cathedral before taking a quiet stroll through the cathedral itself. There was a service taking place at the time and there were hundreds of people gathering at the back of the building, nevertheless at that time it still felt as though there could be no calmer place on Earth. Anyway, a couple of lit candles later, we reluctantly walked back to our car parked beneath the hotel and began the journey home. Sigh.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed the second and final part of my Cologne Christmas Markets travel diary - I've certainly had fun reliving the days spent in the German city this year! Oh and now that we're only four days away from Christmas Day, it feels entirely appropriate to say... Merry Christmas!!