A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
The Hague is located pretty much in the center of Europe and so, a trip to many different countries is everything than impossible. Even if you are German and miss the traditional Christmas markets that you can find all over the country (surprisingly, I would qualify for this category), one of the most famous ones is pretty much located on the Dutch boarder: Cologne.
So, some of my friends were really enthusiastic about experiencing this tradition, and off we went. We got a reasonable train ticket and hostel and left on Saturday noon: In no more than a 3 hours train ride from The Hague to Köln. It was great: The Christmas market that was located right next to the famous cathedral was unique (I haven’t been there either) and with all those different nationalities that I brought along (Italian, French, Dutch and US-American) a true cultural leaning experience. We had some nice cups of Glühwein (hot wine with christmas spices), enjoyed the atmosphere and got some Sinterklaas presents for the time back in Holland. After a few hours of checking out every little corner and attraction of the market, we were ready for some food in a nice and warm restaurant – traditional german of course – we chose from Schnitzel to flame cake and typical Kölner dishes. This was also a great way for the frozen fingers of the Italian students to heat up a bit since it was pretty cold outside at the Christmas market and the multiple cups of Glühwein sadly keep you warm for just a few minutes…
After the nice food and another Glühwein at the Christmas market, we decided to finish up this evening with a typical colonian Kölsch beer at a brewery-bar. Well, it wasn’t as great as we expected, very small and not that tasty, but I guess it was essential to try.
The next day, we were checking out the cathedral of Cologne were the traditional “1st advent” church service was held and went home to catch up with uni work. Was it worth the 3 hours of travelling each way? Definitely, Yes! And a great way to get out of the building, city and country to enjoy life – something many students tend to forget during uni-time.