After a day ambling around Brussels we took an evening train across the border to Germany, our journey ending in Cologne. Wow, just wow.
The shared feeling we got when leaving the train station at Cologne was one of ‘….and relax’. I’m not sure whether it is the comfort of German efficiency, the slightly less chaotic sense to the station, the cold bight to the air, the beautiful Cathedral that hits you as soon as you walk out from the train station, or indeed the fact that we were inching ever further close to our end destination of Sweden, but something felt different to (and for me calmer than) Brussels.
Of course it could simply be a trick of the mind, in that now we were at a second destination, and one with snow, my brain no longer thought at a residual level that this was some sort of work trip with all the fun and games of British trains and missed deadlines.
In stark contrast to my experience in Brussels (which I fully acknowledge maybe a conclusion drawn too hastily), there was something that felt just right about Cologne. I know that I’ll return and I suspect that you could spend a decent period living or working there and still not get easily bored. There was some sort of character to it, a visceral one at that. This was only heightened when peeking out the window after a night’s sleep there had been about a foot of snow. We only had 24 hours in Cologne before one of the planned highlights of the whole trip (the sleeper train north) and so we decided to focus on the christmas festivities. We didn’t set foot inside the Cathedral or any of the museums or cultural activities, instead we ambled around the Christmas markets, soaking up the atmosphere, sampling the Glühwein and generally mooching.
We stumbled across a carol performance at the Cathedral Market by a choir called Art&Weise. Since coming back from holiday I’ve found their facebook page and website where you can get more info and listen to some samples, but I have something else to share with you – an audioboo of their performance of Halleluja. It was tingly good, in a snow covered temporary christmas market, on day two of a much needed holiday – spine tingly good.
I hope you enjoy it, the audioboo comes complete with the hustle and bustle of the sounds of people shopping, drinking and joining in. If you get the chance I’d recommend a visit next year, but for now you can listen to ‘Weinachtsmarkt Köln – Hallelujah’ on Audioboo by clicking that link. Enjoy.