London Diary – Christmas Markets and Beethoven!

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November 2017

Going to Germany for the first time and for its legendary Christmas Markets. Where to was the question. Berlin, Dresden, Munich or Cologne, the list goes on. It however didn’t take long for me to decide on Cologne for its proximity to Bonn, birthplace of Beethoven.

Cologne

The prettiest part of Cologne is the river front near Cologne Cathedral. The view from both side are pleasant.

Cologne Cathedral is probably the largest cathedral I’ve seen apart from St Peter’s In Vatican. It is quite magnificent if you can see past its shockingly blackened exterior. I did wish it had been cleaned.

Weather was grey the majority of the time, cold in low 30s, and grew even colder on the last day when light snow turned into continuous light rain.

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Luckily the Christmas Markets are truly phenomenal and there are many of them. We visited Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral, Old Market Christmas Market at Cologne City Hall, St Nicholas Village, Angel’s Christmas Market at Neumarkt, Harbor Christmas Market at Cologne Chocolate Museum overlooking Rhone River, and Stardtgarten Christmas Market in Belgian Quarter.

Each has its own theme in decorations and my favorite is St Nicholas. While there is some variation, you find similar treats and folksy crafts at them all. We did a little shopping and lots tasting of local delicacy, to name a few, Bratwurst, Currywurst, Reibekuchen – a delicious potato pancake, and Gluhwein everywhere, which is severed in a mug or glass uniquely designed for that specific market.

The river side Chocolate Museum is also a fun place to visit. Its café has nice view and lots chocolaty treats.

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Bonn

Beethoven is one of my two top favorite composers and it was a touching and inspiring experience visiting the house where he was born, which is now an interesting museum. Among others, you can see the clunky hearing aids he used, which did not work well at all. What a genius and truly my hero, despite the loss of his hearing, he continued to create great music.

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And of course, there is a Christmas Market in Bonn too, located at Münsterplatz Square, not far from the house and there is a grand bronze statue of Beethoven at opposite side of Bonn Cathedral.

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