Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How To Embrace Winter

Of course the Germans have figured out how to make the cold tolerable.

Right next to our hotel in Cologne is an open plaza, about twice the size of a football field, which is ringed with restaurants and shops. In the summer all the pubs and restaurants have outdoor seating here, and in winter, I see, it becomes home to a huge outdoor holiday market! This plaza connects to a series of others stretched across this section of town, and all have been pressed into service for the purpose.

I got in last night and saw all the lights ablaze, but it was about 8 hours past bedtime and I was just too shot to venture out. But everything was back in full swing by lunchtime today and I wandered around and took in the sights. It's cold here--mid-high 20s, I'd say--but the atmosphere was festive and friendly. Every third vendor was selling hot food or beverages, and cheesy, good-natured holiday music from all around the world was piped through loudspeakers throughout. Susan will hate me; this place would make her very happy.

The whole collection of photos--to which I hope to add after sunset--can be found here.


Jon said...

Nice pictures! Looks to be quite festive and also busy for 10 in the morning. Can you read enough German to try the food or do some of them speak english?

wunelle said...

Everybody here speaks good English, or most people do--especially the younger crowd (many of whom are anxious to practice their skills with a native speaker). The food here is much less mysterious than the bubbling sidewalk cauldrons of godknowswhat around Shanghai.