Last weekend, Teriann and I took a great trip to the Christmas markets in Cologne to take our minds off the interminable wait to come home.
Cologne is not a pretty city. It was almost completely flattened during WWII, so, except for the massive Dom, consists of fairly drab post-war buildings. Perhaps because of this, though, I have never seen a city get more dressed up for Christmas. Both public spaces and individual businesses were decked out in garlands, lights, and decorations. Combined with the excellent food and the friendly people, we ended up really loving our weekend there.
They even turned one of the river boats into a Christmas market.
And Teriann indulged on the local beer!
Still, there's a small part of town that survived the bombs, where buildings still lean over narrow lanes.
The pink one was our hotel, from which we could see the Rhine.
We also went the Chocolate Museum (awesome) and the Dom (actually less interesting than I anticipated).
Far and away the highlight of our weekend, though, was stumbling into Papa Joe's Biersalon, which is apparently the only place to be in Cologne. It was a raucous pub where no one spoke English and the music was provided by these two animatronic gentlemen.
The result was the most stereotypical German experience I've ever had: a sing-along to 'Rut sin die Rusen' (Red are the Roses).
See more pictures in the facebook album.