Winter In Germany: Add A Sip Of Holiday Spirit in Frankfurt and Cologne

Winter In Germany: Add A Sip Of Holiday Spirit in Frankfurt and Cologne

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The Holidays in Florida

Living in Florida, finding Christmas and the holiday spirit(s) takes a little extra effort. When we first moved to the Sunshine State, we laughed as Lowes peddled plastic palm trees decked out in Christmas lights. Even with giant Nutcrackers guarding the streets and wreaths hanging in shop windows, usually decorated with fish and golf ornaments, temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s obliterate the New England holiday vibes that only exist in our imagination.

“Where are you ChristMASSSS; I cannot find youuuuu.”

Who wants to drink spiced hot chocolate as they sunbathe by the pool? Tourists and vacationers…and SNOW birds!! That’s who.

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But when you live in God’s waiting room with sand ‘snow’-men and dolphin statues donned in Santa hats, you find yourself wanting warm boozy drinks, ice-skating, and boots that serve a purpose besides just looking cute.  Trust me, I know about these things. Every year now, we actively seek the white stuff or at least some cold air that isn’t from our AC. Spending winter in Europe is one of our new traveling traditions. Hello lights, pop-up skating rinks, and lots of delicious holiday spirits. Ya know, the booze kind.

Winter in Europe Traditions

I cannot pretend to be an expert on winter in Europe travel.  We’ve only just started this tradition for a few years now.  But I freaking love it! What I do know is that during the months from November to March, we’ve enjoyed and learned about a few winter traditions and had delicious tipsy alcoholic beverages that I seek out every time we land in Europe. A drink and a holiday activity or three represent each city, for me.

  • Ice-skating in front of the Rijks and warming up with with Jenever (Genever) at an infamous library bar in Amsterdam
  • Sipping Glühwein at the Frankfurt Christmas Market as kids and adults spin around on the carousel
  • Downing endless pours of Kölsch beer in Cologne as a reward for scaling those 533 cathedral steps
  • Grabbing a waffle, fries, and Belgian beer after a chocolate tour and mesmerized gawking at Brussels’ Grand-Place square

From Christmas markets to local brews and unique literary hotspots, these are two German cities and their attractions that The Uncorked Librarian suggests to get you in the holiday spirit. Cheers.

From Christmas markets to local brews and unique literary hotspots, these are two German cities and their boozy attractions to get you in the holiday spirit. Cheers. #Germany #Frankfurt #Cologne #traveltips Click To Tweet

Winter in Germany

We have barely scraped the surface of Germany. I would love to visit Bavaria, Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg. For just a weeklong trip, though, with the goal being Christmas Markets, Frankfurt and Cologne are perfect.  Picture sipping Glühwein in a gingerbread village (aka Römerberg Square), cotton candy carousel rides, hiking twisted staircases, and stalls shaped like the pretzels they sell.

Celebrating winter in Germany is a great holiday destination, especially if you are visiting the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Find travel tips for Frankfurt, Germany during the winter. #Germany #Frankfurt #ChristmasMarkets

A Few Quick General Winter in Germany Travel Tips

Before you go, here are a few tips that you might find helpful:

  • The Frankfurt am Main Airport usually tops the lists for busiest and largest airports along with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. We loved being able to fly nonstop out of Orlando International to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. For being so large, the Frankfurt airport experience is rather chill.
  • Lufthansa has been one of the only airlines not to mess up pre-ordered special meals for this colitis traveler. Buttttt, they definitely decided that lactose-free is easiest to combine with vegan meals. I would have loved some butter-free chicken. 
  • Frankfurt is clean, safe in the right areas (and not in others), quiet minus the city sirens, and easy to get around, especially with the MyTaxi app. Uber is currently not allowed in Frankfurt.

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  • Frankfurt boosts somewhat debatably of the oldest Christmas Market (1393) and one of the largest in Germany.
  • Many restaurants around the Frankfurt business district and market require advanced reservations, even on random weeknights for cheaper places.
  • Only a day or two is really necessary in Frankfurt.  Along with the Christmas Market, the Städel Museum and Palmengarten, the botanical gardens, are worth a visit.
  • You can take the ICE (high speed) trains between cities.  Cologne is one hour by train from Frankfurt if you pay more for no transfers.  You do not have to book tickets in advance.  If you buy online tickets in advance, tickets are usually not refundable or changeable. When you purchase tickets, you can choose to pay more to have an assigned seat or attempt to find a few open ones.  Sometimes the train screens are iffy so you might just have to move at each stop if you don’t reserve a seat.  Musical chairs gets pretty funny, unless you loose.

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Boozy Drinks at the Frankfurt Christmas Market

Once you’ve done a little planning ahead, it’s GO TIME.  One word: Glühwein. Moving on to Cologne. JUST KIDDING!

Glühwein is what hangovers…I mean dreams…are made of. Red wine is king in Germany, and this spicy, served warm sugary goodness is undoubtedly the signature drink and possibly even the main event of adult Christmas Market touring. What is it? Mulled red wine. Typically, spices include cinnamon and anise. Boozers can add rum—which blends in—or Amaretto, making it teeth-rotting sweeter.

Markets in Frankfurt serve this liquid gold in cute ceramic mugs.  You pay a deposit on the mugs, usually around 2 euros.  If you decide that keeping a souvenir that has had HUNDREDS of lips on it is not for you, then you can return the chalice for your deposit back.  A picture suits me just fine.

The market is the best place to drink your steamy cup of heaven.  People watch, walk around, and shop for Christmas ornaments. Römerberg Square looks magical with its half-timbered buildings lit for the holidays.

A literary Glühwein secret: The Adina Apartment Hotel Frankfurt, one of our accommodations of choice, made us the best Glühwein.  Their little bar hides menus in the first few pages of old books. Yes, I died.

By biggest tip: If you have trouble sleeping, don’t be like this uncorked traveler and drink 3 of these hot wines late at night. You might just find yourself staring at the ceiling at 4 AM fantasizing about the NyQuil sitting on your American counter.  Many stalls add a ton of sugar.

For full details about the Christmas Market, its hours, tours, and what to expect check here.

Celebrating winter in Germany is a great holiday destination, especially if you are visiting the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Find travel tips for Frankfurt, Germany during the winter. #Germany #Frankfurt #ChristmasMarkets

When Not Drinking in Frankfurt…

Contrary to popular belief, The Uncorked Librarian does other activities besides drinking.  We love museums, gardens, and breaking into libraries.  Two of my favorite Frankfurt activities:

Städel Museum

Founded in 1815, find at least 3,100 paintings, 660 sculptures, and 100,000 drawings and prints. There are photographs and special exhibits too focusing on European Art from the Middle Ages until now.  Vermeer and Rembrandt are their blockbusters.

We happened to catch the Victor Vasarely exhibition with its trippy optical illusions, playful art techniques, and 3D rainbow designs that drew me in like hearing the word “free wine.”  The museum is rather friendly for its vastness (unlike Frankfurt), and you can take photographs.

Winter in Germany is a magical time of year. Visit Frankfurt, Germany for its Christmas Market and check out the Stadel Museum. #Frankfurt #Germany #travelblogger #museum

Like many museums, it is best to get to the Städel at opening to beat the tours and crowds who typically come later on those wintery days.  We had many galleries to ourselves for the first hour before school groups and mobs rolled in to snap pics. With ticket prices ranging from 14-16 euros, the museum is worth a peak for one to two hours.

Remember to check hours and get the complete details on the official site here.

Palmengarten

With about 18 acres of land, Palmengarten is home to exotic plants and its namesake, palms. Even though we stopped by on a rainy day in the winter, we spent hours touring the grounds filled with ponds, greenhouses, and walking paths. Although the outdoor flora and fauna is DEAD–barren like my Glühwein mug–you might find renovations in the off season, and the grounds lack the vibrancy of spring, we enjoyed the remaining nips of color from the fall foliage and an escape from the market crowds in the city.

That sounded bleak.  One, if you are travel blogger, this is a great spot for Instagram shots–hear those husbands’ moans.  Two, when museum fatigue hits, you’ll find this park refreshing.  I can only imagine how beautiful Palmengarten is in the spring.

Winter in Germany is a magical time of year. Visit Frankfurt, Germany for its Christmas Market and check out the botanical gardens, Palmengarten. #Frankfurt #Germany #travelblogger #botanicalgardens

For around 7 euros these botanical gardens are worth checking out as long as you remember its winter.  Check the calendar too because closer to Christmas, they light up at night.  Visit Palmengarten’s website here for complete visitor info.


For More Boozy Travels, Check Out TUL’s Card Catalog of Drinks Here.


Charming Cologne, Germany 

One hour by high-speed train from Frankfurt, Cologne is a must when visiting the western region of Germany.   As the train glides into station, little sparks of rainbow glitter off the love-locked bridge. Just as fast, the jaw-dropping and Gothic Cologne Cathedral towers welcome you to the enchanting city. Majestic and almost surreal, call it love at first sight.  Maybe there is a wine God if I get to sit inside this bad boy…

If you want to spend winter in Germany, Cologne offers the perfect winter travel destination. Visit Cologne Christmas Markets and the Cologne Cathedral. #CologneGermany #WinterInEurope #CologneCathedral #GermanyTravel #theuncorkedlibrarian

A day passes quickly in Cologne, and we wish we kept our original plans to sleep there instead of heading back to Frankfurt.   If you have just a day, staying within a half mile of the Cathedral will keep you thoroughly entertained with one of Cologne’s Christmas Markets, the Cathedral itself, restaurants and beer gardens, and the lock bridge.

Boozy Drinks In Cologne

But first, the booze.

Seen from the Cathedral, Cologne’s easiest to find Christmas Market from the train station is next door. What did we find? Glühwein, of course. Note that Glühwein is pretty much Glühwein wherever you drink it, but Cathedral views make it extra cozy. And Glühwein in Germany is still > Glühwein in Disney’s Epcot Germany.

Even more special to Cologne is its Kölsch beer. Fermented with ale yeast and finished with lagering, Kölsch beer combines two usually separated beer-making processes. Or so the research dictates. All I cared about was finding this infamous goodness, and a story that I had read in the Bible, aka Lonely Planet: when you visit a beer garden in Cologne and order Kölsch beer—which is served in smaller glasses—the bartender will keep pouring you drinks until you put a coaster on top. They tally your drinks on the coaster. No coaster; no stopping.

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 ….Sound like some crazy Rio Brazilian steakhouse shit that no one told you about?

Like how you are sitting at a table with salad and wondering why the guys with the goods are not coming toward you to shave candied dead animal into your mouth.

Do you smell? Do you not look hungry enough?

Then suddenly you see this red chip and flip it to green?! Next thing you know, you are getting the meat sweats and wondering how the hell you are going to pay for this dinner. Or is that just me…

Unfortunately, I did not get the full Kölsch beer experience since I lazily sought out beer at the Christmas Market and a potato pancake, which apparently is hard to find in certain parts of Germany. Maybe it’s not really German, but don’t tell me.  More importantly, did the beer win its stellar reputation? Tasted like weak and equally terrible Heineken to me. Sorry not sorry. I still drank it.

If you want to spend winter in Germany, Cologne offers the perfect winter travel destination. Visit Cologne Christmas Markets and the Cologne Cathedral. #CologneGermany #WinterInEurope #CologneCathedral #GermanyTravel #theuncorkedlibrarian

Magically Enchanted Cologne Activities

When you find out that you can climb the Cathedral tower, you just have to, right? I work out at least 5 hours a week; I GOT THIS.  Plus, Dr. Oz just said that if you can’t climb 4 flights of stairs in like 30 seconds, you are fucked.  Climb the tower, he said.

Travelers’ Tip: Do not eat a giant plate of sushi, head to the Cathedral, and decide to hike the 533 stairs.  It’s like swimming right after you eat lunch.  You think those leg cramps and tummy aches are all myths your uncle told you to get some kid-free pool time until you find yourself upchucking some hotdogs and nearly drowning. Am I right?

If you want to spend winter in Germany, Cologne offers the perfect winter travel destination. Visit Cologne Christmas Markets and the Cologne Cathedral. #CologneGermany #WinterInEurope #CologneCathedral #GermanyTravel #theuncorkedlibrarian

Cologne Cathedral

The Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom took quite the time to build. 1284-1880 to be exact. The Cathedral also survived WWII bombings. Today the Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and active Episcopalian church. When there are no services, visitors can wander the pews for free.

Head around to the right side of the church for the Tower of Terror. For 4 euros, you can pay to get your daily workout, and just pray that teams of wild teenagers aren’t behind you, racing. DO NOT ENGAGE. I repeat: Do not engage. Your heart may explode in your chest and the AED machine is at the very top, far far away.

Are you afraid of heights?

I read mixed reviews about the tower climb. Besides being exhausting, there are tight spaces, and then of course, the whole high as shit thing. Once the tallest building in the world, the North Tower reaches 157.38 meters. I am American; don’t ask me to convert that. While I am not afraid of heights, on occasion, see-through stairs threaten to ruin my life. If you are deathly afraid of heights, you might need to play this one by staircases—as there are more than one and some just suck.

If you want to spend winter in Germany, Cologne offers the perfect winter travel destination. Visit Cologne Christmas Markets and the Cologne Cathedral. #CologneGermany #WinterInEurope #CologneCathedral #GermanyTravel

The initial ascent is your typically tight and winding tower. Two-way traffic causes stops, and there are a few but limited pullovers. About 75% of the way up, stop to breathe and see one of the bells. Keep going and then you reach my personal hell: A cage of see-through stairs. In no way are you ever in danger or can you even fall, but still…

Is it worth it? DUH!

Make sure to check hours and services here.

Meandering Around Cologne

If you are on limited time, along with stopping for food and drinks, we loved:

  • The Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
  • Hohenzollern Bridge – The “love locks bridge” — I just read an article about the train companies wanting the locks to come down because of bridge corrosion.  Maybe get on seeing it now.

If you want to spend winter in Germany, Cologne offers the perfect winter travel destination. Visit Cologne Christmas Markets and the love lock bridge. #CologneGermany #WinterInEurope #GermanyTravel #theuncorkedlibrarian

Facing the tower side of the Cathedral, not only can you find the love lock bridge, but also street performers.  I fell in love with the man making giant bubbles for kids to run through directly in front of the church.  The bridge sees some beautiful sunsets, and reading the locks with their engravings is romantically fun.  I’ve heard locals who break up do make the trek to remove their locks.  Glühwein with a splash of bitter, anyone?

What are your favorite spots to visit in Europe in the winter?  What are your favorite German cities?  Please share in the comments.

Europe and Germany in the winter always capture my heart.  I’m in love with how European cities decorate and almost librarian-style catalog their streets and neighborhoods based on holiday lights. What’s you favorite part of Europe in the winter?

If you want to spend winter in Germany, Cologne offers the perfect winter travel destination. Visit Cologne Christmas Markets and the love lock bridge. #CologneGermany #WinterInEurope #GermanyTravel #theuncorkedlibrarian

Love Boozy Europe and Winter in Germany? Share the SPIRIT! Pin it!

Are you looking for the perfect winter escape? Winter in Germany is fun for Christmas Markets and hot boozy drinks, especially in Frankfurt and Cologne. #Germany #Cologne #theuncorkedlibrarian #ChristmasMarkets Are you looking for the perfect winter escape? Winter in Germany is fun for Christmas Markets and hot boozy drinks, especially in Frankfurt and Cologne. #Germany #Cologne #theuncorkedlibrarian #ChristmasMarkets Are you looking for the perfect winter escape? Winter in Germany is fun for Christmas Markets and hot boozy drinks, especially in Frankfurt and Cologne. #Germany #Cologne #theuncorkedlibrarian #ChristmasMarkets

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30 Comments

  1. December 16, 2018 / 12:14 pm

    Aaah!! This sounds like the perfect combination of cozy Christmas spirit, boozy seasonal drinks and cultural experiences! I have to admit Germany isn’t a place I’ve visited much as an adult, but I’m definitely all about colder climates around Christmas time…. Christmas in the warmth just isn’t the same! Sounds like you guys have an awesome tradition to balance the two!

    • Christine
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 6:11 pm

      We definitely found the Christmas spirit with this trip. The second we heard the Christmas carols–mostly American, LOL–and spied all of the glimmering lights, we knew that we had made the best choice this year. Amsterdam last year was equally wonderful. It even snowed in the Netherlands. Although Frankfurt isn’t my favorite European city, their Christmas Market was unlike any other (not that I’ve been to a ton). I just loved watching adults and kids gorge on gingerbread and take endless pics on the carousel. You couldn’t not laugh and smile. The seasonal drinks, of course, helped. I would love to explore more of Germany, for sure. I ate so much MEAT–and it was delicious. No regrets. Back in FL, we decorated our tree when we got home, and we bought Gluhwein to make ; ) And….we went to Epcot for their Holidays Around the World for more Gluhwein. I’ll pretend it’s cold out, or blast the AC with a sweatshirt on. Hope you enjoy the holidays! Xxx

  2. December 16, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    Your pictures make Germany look so dreamy! I really love the one with the pretzel booth – so German and so Christmas! I really love what Palmengarten looks like in your picture as well – I do love what it looks like all dead in Autumn and you said it was a good escape from the crowds. Even though I am also terrified of heights I would still climb up that North Tower!

    • Christine
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 6:19 pm

      Cologne was the dreamiest. Once I saw bubbles, it was over. I never wanted to leave. I had read about the Cathedral from LP but had no idea that we would creep up on it from the train. There were few non-local travelers on the train or at least in our car, but you could tell the ones who had never been. We all sat dumbstruck as the two towers came into sight. The shuffle for cameras was for real. The train in felt like such a grand entrance. The Cathedral truly marks the city. Cologne’s Christmas Market was really sweet too as they had male carolers dressed up to sing.

      Palmengarten was absolutely huge. We chuckled at all of the labels with dead plants everywhere–which we expected. They had a few greenhouses open with cacti and other alive trees that was nice. Sometimes I just get so tired of museum hopping–and even drinking–that you just want fresh air and some exercise. I loved it, and we had the grounds mostly to ourselves.

      As you know, heights are getting harder for me for some crazy reason. I made it up–there was no doubt–but I definitely held on tight. My calves hurt for days!

      I hope you have a great holiday season Xxxx (and share all of it on the blog).

      • December 17, 2018 / 10:08 pm

        “The train in felt like such a grand entrance. ” – I love that! It makes it sound so much more magical! I also really love that all of the dead plans still were labelled. This has made me want to visit Germany even more around the holiday season! Germany and NYC are my Christmas adventure places that I need to visit someday!

        You have an amazing holiday season too!

        • Christine
          Author
          December 19, 2018 / 11:17 am

          Thank you so much!

          I am sure that Germany is wonderful during other seasons, but I just cannot imagine anything more special and German than those markets. You are right! I hope you make it some day soon.

          I’ve done NYC around the holidays, too, and although all of the buildings turn into frigid wind tunnels, the city is pretty special around Xmas and New Years. I’d love to see the ball drop from a warm rooftop bar. Plus, iceskating, trees, and just SO much to see and do.

  3. December 16, 2018 / 4:42 pm

    Christine, I wish I had started reading your posts sooner because now I feel like I have lots of catching up to do! Your writing is so engaging! I cracked up when you mentioned not being able to convert meters as an American. I can so relate! American education system, why? Germany will have to go on my end of the year holiday travel destination list! I also really just want to stand by the Cologne Cathedral. I feel like that is an experience in and of itself.

    • Christine
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 8:38 pm

      Hey Keri! It’s probably better you didn’t read my earlier posts. I am slowly getting the hang of this blogging creature ; ) I am actually editing a lot of old travel articles and discovering my niche; you are just in time. Thank you SO MUCH!! I really appreciate the kind and encouraging words. I love following along with you too.

      I won’t even begin to tell you how my husband and I convert Celsius to Fahrenheit. It’s just ridiculously funny and SO American–and not very accurate when we do it. I lived in Indonesia for a year, and I had the darnedest time getting used to distance, speeds, and measurements. It’s like we live in the Stone Age.

      The Cologne Cathedral along with the charm of the Frankfurt Christmas Market are two takeaways that I will never forget. Winter in Europe should definitely fall on a bucket list item–it’s so special.

  4. December 16, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    Ah, I’m in love with Cologne and I’ve never been there! This post is so wonderfully written with so much information and booze. Christmas in Europe really looks and sounds so magical. One day I will have to take the leap, buy a good coat and boots, take that trip to Europe for Christmas.
    Your photos are beautiful! You’re right, I love the one the bubbles.

    • Christine
      Author
      December 16, 2018 / 8:46 pm

      I think you and the hubs would like Cologne. If you ever go to Frankfurt, your hubs and I can compare notes ; )

      It’s actually really fun to buy winter clothes in FL. I was recently home in CT, and my mom commented how I have been wearing the same sweater for at least 7 years. It still fits, and because I never wear it in FL (it literally gets worn once a year when I travel), the sweater is STILL in great shape. BUT, the sweater is OLD. For this trip, Tom and I actually went outlet shopping. I got a new peacoat, found a warm sweater, and grabbed two flannel button downs. I hate shopping, but since I never see winter clothes, I actually enjoyed it. Now you will see those new purchases for the next 5 years but still… And I love wearing boots. I wear them in Florida even when it’s 80 degrees out. People look at me like WTF and where did you come from…NOT HERE, but I love love love boots. It’s December and these feet NEED boots.

      Thanks for the photo compliment. I tried really hard. I’m still not too worried about anyone stealing my pics, though. GAHAHA. I guess it’s a good thing.

  5. December 17, 2018 / 12:56 am

    Saw you tweet this earlier & could not wait to give it a read! Absolutely loved this post, from the tips to the tipsiness haha :’) Not gonna lie, I would probably buy one of those mugs lol. The markets & cathedrals look gorgeous & appealing & breathtaking ahhhh. That park definitely looks so peaceful & calming, maybe one day you can visit in the Spring and see it in all its glory!

    • Christine
      Author
      December 18, 2018 / 8:32 pm

      Haha, I love that line and may have to use it sometime: “Tips to tipsiness!!” GAHAHA That is so perfect.

      Now that I am back home, I 200% wish that I bought one of those mugs. In Belgium, they used plastic cups at the market and then sold glass ones separately. You could keep the plastic ones for 2 euro (I didn’t like drinking warm wine out of plastic cups) so I should have bought the cute ceramic snowman. Although…Frankfurt’s mugs are a little more traditional and cozy. Hopefully, I’ll be back for another market and will keep the mug.

  6. December 17, 2018 / 3:40 am

    This looks like an amazing trip! I can’t imagine having a warm Christmas and, even though I occasionally like to whinge about the cold weather, reading your opening paragraphs made me feel grateful for it.

    Your pictures are gorgeous, and it sounds like you really made the most of your visit. There’s so much information packed into this, you’ve done a great job. Also, I love the picture of you on the carousel! 🙂 It made me smile.

    A few years ago, my sister and I went to Prague in November, and that was wonderful, too.

    • Christine
      Author
      December 18, 2018 / 8:53 pm

      We had such a great time! It truly is hard to imagine having a warm Christmas, even after living in FL for over 7 years. I am not sure that I will ever get used to it. I love watching people/tourists/family get excited about having a FL Christmas–posting drinks at the beach and by the pool.

      You must get to see Christmas markets living in England, right? I love how a lot of Europe celebrates for the holidays from markets to street lights and trees in the city centers. We didn’t see any Christmas Markets in Amsterdam the previous year, but maybe that was because I didn’t know they existed?! Or maybe all of Europe doesn’t have special markets…hmmm.

      Thanks so much! I loved that carousel and watching all these giddy adults hop on to play.

      Prague sounds absolutely amazing. I’d love to go there one day, and I am glad that you loved it! Enjoy the holidays!

  7. December 17, 2018 / 4:26 am

    You were right near me! I live outside of Frankfurt and love all the Christmas markets here 🙂
    I also adore the high speed rail that makes it easy to hop from one city to another. One extra tip for these markets: they often get super crowded on the weekends, so it’s best to go to larger ones (such as Frankfurt’s) during the week and on the weekend visit a smaller city or village.
    Greetings from Germany 🙂

    • Christine
      Author
      December 18, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      Hey Molly,

      That’s so neat!! If/When we head back to Germany, now I know who to ask for tips. Thank you! You are SO right: We definitely noticed that those markets were packed on the weekends and even prime weeknights. I was so glad that we snuck to the Frankfurt Xmas Market again during the day. The market was wide open, unlike the Sunday before, and we got to play with all of the adults on the carousel. We had room to sit and drink our Gluhwein without long lines. I was also so scared that someone was going to bump me with that boiling hot wine in my hands.

      What is your favorite city to visit in Germany?

  8. December 17, 2018 / 10:44 am

    This is awesome! My dad’s side is from Germany and although I’ve never been, I plan to start going over there soon. These are great tips for visiting Frankfurt when I (hopefully) make it there. Thanks!

    • Christine
      Author
      December 18, 2018 / 9:42 pm

      Oh, that’s so cool! Does your dad ever travel back to Germany? Do you still have family there?

      I hope you make it one day–I am sure that you will! Definitely save time for Cologne, too. Thanks!

  9. December 17, 2018 / 10:59 am

    I mean this with UTTER UTTER love, but I think you’re funniest when you’re talking about booze. I mean, you’re funny all the time, but booze clearly brings out the best in you. When future generations ask why you became a full blown alcoholic, historians will point to this comment as the beginning of the end.

    I am a bad friend.

    But also, I’m now picturing a crazed game of musical chairs on the ICE. It amuses me and I thank you.

    You should definitely visit Berlin at some point. I always wind up there in the winter and it’s great. Supposedly they also have amazing Christmas markets. Not that I would know because we kept walking past the on our way to visit prisons/labour camps/*insert dark tourism attraction here* But they looked nice. I, on the other hand, need to get my butt to Cologne because it looks magical! Plus, it’s in Germany, so I’m sure something sad happened there…

    I gets easier to convert to metric. Just don’t move to the UK, it’s like half metric/half imperial and I never know what anyone is on about. For starters, pints are NOT the same. WHYYYYYYY?! I mean, the British pint makes more sense, my point is just WHY ARE THEY DIFFERENT?!

    • Christine
      Author
      December 18, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      GAHAHAHAHAHA. Booze brings out the best in a lot of people. Unless you are a mean drunk…or fall asleep after ONE glass of wine. I am so glad that you love the boozy niche. 2019 will be the year of booze. Booze, Books, and Blogging! It’s all in the sake of research and work, right? I think I am going to start doing more video IG stories: I also think that I should have wine in them…like me drinking wine and bashing influencers, working out, and just shooting the shit ; ) This comment CRACKED ME UP!! I will look back one day and 200% blame/scapegoat you….

      I was just talking about my boozy persona with another blogger. I am waiting for the blogging trolls to come at me for writing a boozy blog, period. I definitely talk the talk for fun, but I sure as hell don’t walk the walk (most times). 2 drinks, and this girl is too worried about the extra junkie cals or puking in the AM. Ok, maybe 3-4 drinks… but still… I know some people don’t like when others normalize drinking (or so I have been told), but normalizing drinking is what made me not a partier and pass out drinker. Talking about alcohol can be a good thing. I grew up where wine was like water or a glass of milk with dinner. You had a glass, it wasn’t anything special or demonized, nothing fun happened, and that was that. …Unlike my friends who never had a drink until college, got wasted every weekend, and abused the bejeezus out of booze… I can’t wait to write more where to drink posts this year and have fun with it. It is SO MUCH more fun than boring itineraries…as you guys know and refuse to do too.

      You are the greatest friend, ever!! Except that your blog comments are keeping me up past my 30+ year old bedtime right now. Just kidding. Maybe. BUT I LOVE THEM ALL. Thank you!

      Berlin is on my list, and I wish we hit Berlin on this trip. Yea, I think you might find some dark (f* up) shit…maybe…just maybe…

      Wait, pints are different? That just changed my world and is so enlightening. My beer drinking makes so much more sense now.

  10. December 18, 2018 / 4:23 pm

    We managed to get to Cologne for the night and it was one of the best Christmas markets on our whole trip. There was a fudge stall and it was one of the only ones we actually purchased something from… twice. I don’t even like fudge or so I thought! Man it was good. Love the Gluhwein too but had a beer here instead – gotta switch it up and go with what is famous for the area! This was one of the best I saw for decorations too. What a beautiful city. We loved Belgium this time around though, had no expectations and Brussels/Ghent/Bruges all exceeded our expectations, I totally recommend (chocolates and beer – I know you’ll be as sold as I was!)

    • Christine
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 11:10 am

      I am so glad that you made it to Cologne and forever bummed out that we missed you. I definitely drank a bit more beer in Brussels and Cologne. Cologne just has such a cool beer tradition that you have to partake. Did you like their Kolsch beer?

      We didn’t buy too many things, but I did want some Christmas ornaments for the tree. We found a cute little cat and owl clay ornament that made it safely back, and I needed a fox snow globe, lol. Fudge sounds amazing. Sometimes I am so glad that I have dietary restrictions or I would eat it ALL.

      Like you guys, we had no expectations for Brussels and were totally surprised. We enjoyed our Chocolate Museum tour and they had special goodies that we could eat (gf and lf). I wish we made it to Bruges, but I’m thinking a spring Netherlands, Bruges, and Luxembourg trip is required in the next year or two. I’m still working on incorporating Brussels into a blog post ; ) Albeit late for the season.

      Glad you had a fantastic time. Can’t wait to see and hear more about your van travels. Glad your trip didn’t get totally sidelined from the van troubles too.

  11. December 19, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    What an amazing trip you had, I am so jealous! I loved the pictures – especially the Gothic Cathedrals, I loved Gothic architecture so much. I’ve never been to Germany but would love to go some day.

    • Christine
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 7:19 pm

      The Gothic architecture is SO stunning, especially as it ages over the years. This cathedral was completely jaw-dropping. I hope you make it to Germany some day–and all over the world ; ) Xxx

  12. December 19, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    Okay, one now I want to Christmas in Germany. Actually, I always talk about wanting to Christmas anywhere abroad bc I just want to get away from NY. We get white Christmas snow, but trust me, by mid-Christmas day it’s brown and disgusting from the ten thousand cars on the road…it’s not charming and I’m so tired of shoveling! I’d much rather travel or drink, preferably both and at the same time. I’m excited for Paris in a few weeks and I’m literally bummed about not being able to drink all the French wine because I’m pregnant. I can’t even lie about it – I miss my wine. I hear you on the booze trolls tho – I’m waiting for them to come at me about my wine mom post (kind of a satire but not really), but I guess there are benefits of having a newish kind of failing blog.

    • Christine
      Author
      December 20, 2018 / 8:17 pm

      HAHA, I want to Christmas everywhere too. We haven’t been to our hometown for Xmas in 7 years, and I am dying inside a little each holiday that passes.

      I totally understand the dirty snow effect ; ) I am from CT and would lament the same darn sentiments every year. I love the first white snowfall. It’s fun, beautiful, and just gets you in the spirit. BUT then you drive into a snow bank, the snow gets dog pee all over it, and an icicle threatens to cut you in half. Lets not even talk about when I didn’t have a garage. I prayed Santa would bring me an automatic car starter. We used to head to NYC too–and those buildings became WIND tunnels. OMG!! The crowds were something else.

      I cannot wait to see pictures from your Paris trip. If I ever become pregnant, I’d really have to reconsider my travel blogging niche for 9 months…I also don’t know how I’d give up wine. Like smokers who quit smoking, I’d probably be chewing a lot of gum and drinking apple juice ; ) We spent a week in Paris, but I still can tell you nothing about their wines. I don’t think you are missing much.

      I remember your wine post on IG, AHAHA. AND YOU DO NOT HAVE A FAILING BLOG! I’ve been checking it out and definitely been meaning to comment, too.

      Have a fabulous time in Paris! You deserve every wonderful second.

  13. December 20, 2018 / 8:08 am

    I sat reading this post as “Somewhere in My Memory” played on my Christmas Pandora station, and looking at the Christmas market pics with the music, I got ALL the Christmas feels.

    Also, at the beginning of your post, I thought you had found a photo of THE dirtiest snowman to ever sit upon the earth; I had no idea that was actually a SAND “snow” man, LOL. Hilarious.

    I never used to have any interest in Germany until I started going there for work about…10 years ago now? I used to go to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October every year, and that’s when I fell in love with Germany. I haven’t been to FBF in a few years now, but the last time I was there, my friends and I did a day trip to Cologne, so I absolutely LOVED this post. It brought back so many good memories!

    I’ve been to an outdoor market in Frankfurt in the fall (kind of Oktoberfest-y), and I loved it. The merchants, the open-air aspect, the hot drinks and warm food, everyone sitting outside in their scarves and hats and talking. I feel like America should embrace this trend, and I wish we did. (Side note: I actually found a Christmas market in Philadelphia this past weekend, and it was VERY authentic. I even saw the mugs you were talking about! When i saw your post a few days after my trip, I was like, “OMG! The mugs we saw!!!” LOL. Oh, and it was still frickin’ FREEZING that day, so if you don’t want to travel all the miles to Europe one year, rest assured that the Philly market will satisfy the craving just a little bit, if you pardon the more industrial scenery.)

    Frankfurt has become a favorite city; I love the Romer and the Zeil. I’ve seen that area so many times, but never at Christmas, and it looks so beautiful in your photos! However, I had NO idea there was a botanical garden in Frankfurt. I’m sending this post to my friend who still ventures over to FBF each year; she would love to see the gardens when she has some down time. So glad you wrote about this!

    And, I looooove that view of Cologne from the cathedral. I went inside the cathedral when I was there, but I didn’t make it up the tower; for some reason, I don’t think I realized you could do that! A note for next time, if there ever is a next time. It was a delightful city; I got some amazing chocolate and baked goods, and we had a wonderful meal outside that night. One of my best memories from Germany is that Cologne day trip.

    Thanks so much for the beautiful photos and account of your trip! So glad you had a wonderful (boozy) time. Merry Christmas!! xoxo

    • Christine
      Author
      December 20, 2018 / 8:29 pm

      OMG, the dirtiest snowman ever; AHAHAHA!!!!! Like every single dog in the world peed on it…and maybe some drunk humans. Nope, that’s just how we roll in FL. I have a pic of a sand-Jack-o-lantern too.

      I was reading about that glorious sounding book fair before we went to Frankfurt. Tell me more!! I had heard that Frankfurt was famous in general for all sorts of trade fairs, and when I saw books, I about died. I probably will never head their solely for the book fair, but if I can time it right with a trip around Germany again, count me in. The Frankfurt airport is a huge hub.

      I also need to partake in Oktoberfest. It just has to happen. Sponsored travel post, anyone?! Anyone?!

      The Philly market sounds amazing. P.S. I used to date a guy who lived in Philly for college, and I freaking loved the city. They had this stellar flower and garden show, and I loved the museums. That was sooooo long ago, though. St. Pete, Florida is having a Christmas Market, but I cannot make it. They are slowly popping up all over the U.S., and I love it. You would think that drinking Gluhwein at Epcot’s Germany the other day would be lame, but NO!

      If your friend goes to Palmengarten in the spring, send me pictures! The botanical gardens are huge. She should check out the Vasarely exhibit too if she’s there soon–it’s pretty unique and brilliantly colorful. I wish I asked you for Frankfurt tips before we left. DARN! We weren’t quite sure at first where to go or eat. Of course, we had the lovely Christmas Market.

      Cologne will be on my favorites forever. The bubbles outside of the Cathedral won me over and the engraved locks. The step hiking is a must, although my heart was beating pretty darn hard. Nothing beats coming up on that Gothic Cathedral from the train.

      Thank you so much! Merry Christmas, too!! How is it here already?! xxooxoo

  14. December 21, 2018 / 11:36 am

    omg, YES!! I felt the same way when we emerged from the train station. Just breathtaking. The same thing happened to me the first time I saw Big Ben, coming out of on of the underground exists, and there it just was, looming ahead of me. Amazing. 🙂

    I love Frankfurt Book Fair, but I don’t know how it is from a visitor’s perspective. For me as a publisher, it’s a LOT of hard work. It’s basically like speed-dating, except you’re selling rights, mostly for translations. (e.g., if you’re a Chinese publisher and you want to translate Harry Potter into CHinese, you meet with the rights manager at the original publishing house, and you negotiate the deal). You have new meetings every 30 minutes, all day, every day, for about 4-5 days. It’s exhausting, but it’s one of my favorite events because you meet so many people from SO many different countries, and a lot of them are people you’ve been emailing with for months, even years. So, when you meet with many of them, it’s like you’re meeting with a friend. I’ve developed some great friendships with people overseas that I met through work and specifically the FBF.

    I know on the weekends, they open up the fair to the public, and I see a lot of people going there dressed up in costumes like it’s ComicCon. I’ve only been on the weekend once, and it was INSANITY. Wall to wall people. So, not sure I would recommend it. But, if you don’t mind crowds, it’s a great experience to see ALL THE BOOKS in all different languages.

    I like Philly a lot.. I’ve been there only a few times (even though I live so close to it), but there’s always good food, good attractions, great sites to see, etc. I much prefer it to NYC since it’s much smaller and has a bit more history to it. But, I also work in NYC, so perhaps I’m jaded about that city (okay, I’m TOTALLY jaded when it comes to NYC, lol).

    Thanks for the additional recs about Frankfurt! I’ll let me friend know. 🙂

    And, yes, let me know if you need Frankfurt restaurant recs next time. I keep cards from all the good restaurants I visit. Right off the bat, I can tell you to go to Da Cimino in the Niederrad section of Frankfurt for the BEST Italian food. However, I know you have some dietary restrictions, so perhaps Italian is not for you…?? If you can do it, though, get the “pizza bread” (life changing. I still crave it) and any pasta dish on the menu. It’s all incrediblt cheap, too.

    • Christine
      Author
      December 21, 2018 / 4:02 pm

      We did go to this delicious vegan restaurant in Frankfurt that was jam packed: Vevay. And we found this sushi bar where the sushi literally rotates in front of you. Grab what you want, it changes frequently, and pay for plates at the end. I’d have to look up the restaurant’s name. We have some dietary issues, as you know from all your yummy posts. I can have the wheat–which sounds delicious–but the hubs can’t. Cheese is evil. Although I love it and wish that I could eat it. Italian is rough unless they specialize in GF/LF. Italian in Italy, though, is much different. They don’t over sauce or dairy everything to death. They were amazing with gf foods in Sicily. We were shocked.

      I am NYC jaded too. I like NYC, but it overwhelms and terrifies me. I don’t get it, and the vibes aren’t for me. You really need a local to take you around and hook you up with its amazingness. There are parts that I love. On occasion. Once every 5 years.

      The book fair sounds super intense but still pretty cool! Do you need an assistant? LOL Thank you for sharing what you do. That is so COOL. I would love meeting all of the different people from all over the world. And books. Then, I would sleep for a week if I were that busy.

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