With almost a week left for the year to end, the whole of Delft is quiet. Two weeks of vacation has managed to get every single soul out of the city. Foreseeing this, I decided to go see the Christmas celebrations in Cologne and Brussels. I must say, the whole of Europe has amazing train connectivity. The trip was totally worth it.
Cologne has one of the world’s most famous Christmas Markets which is open until the 23rd/24th of December. The HUGE Christmas tree with every inch of it covered in lights leaves one dumbstruck. The aroma of the deep-fried food, the mulled wine, and the music can lift anyone’s Christmas spirits. A word of caution- none of these food stalls accept a card, so keep cash handy. The market has a lot of pretty Christmas souvenirs to take home. The weather being cold, beautiful handwoven woolen scarfs, caps and gloves that are for sale tempt your soul to buy them.
Christmas, however, is a family holiday and most of the places shut down around that time. This is the case with the whole of Europe I believe. However, all the stores, museums resume activities again the day after Christmas. It would always be wise to plan a trip bearing this in mind so that you aren’t disappointed when the activities are shut down.
Post-Christmas, I had the chance to visit Brussels and Antwerp. Both the cities left me in awe of their beauty. Brussels has almost every tourist attraction at a walkable distance from the city center. The most amusing place for me was the Manneken Pis. It is basically the statue of a boy who is peeing into a pond. He is dressed up in various costumes. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you that there is an entire gallery that houses all the costumes that he has been dressed to date. The neighborhood of this statue is filled with waffles stores. It would be a crime to not try it. It is food for the soul.
Antwerp managed to make it to my list of the best shopping destinations. The street just outside the station is a shopper’s paradise. You will find probably every possible brand of clothing and a wide variety of choices for food too. The Thai wok just outside the station is a must-try food. (P.S the quantity is too much).
With these three places, my short trip came to an end and I am all geared up for the upcoming year!