First Impressions of Germany

So on our first morning in Germany, we were delighted to wake up and find everything covered in snow.

Christian, our Couchsurfing host, and his friend Kevin trekked like gentlemen in the fresh powder to fetch us some Brötchen. We draped the yummy rolls with nutty slices of black forest ham and squirted mustard on them from what seemed like a toothpaste tube.

German bread

Cologne

My friend Marina, who hails from the balmy Mediterranean of Crete, was especially excited about the snow. And as a born-and-raised Michigander, I felt it was my duty to teach her how to make her first snowball, or as they say in German, schneeball.

Cologne, Germany

I loved strolling Christian’s neighborhood of Nippes (Admittedly, the name made me giggle. It’s pronounced exactly like “nipples” without the “l.”) It was residential without being staid, and the buildings were very colorful.

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Marina had her next lesson in snowy climate fun when we stumbled upon a real-live, street-wide snowball fight. I asked Christian how to say “snowball fight” in German while dodging schneeballs left and right. (It’s Schneeballschlacht, fyi. Doesn’t that sound a little scary?)

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

We spent the next three hours at the NS-Dokumentationszentrum, Cologne’s World War II History museum that is located in a former Nazi interrogation prison.

The experience was moving, informative and emotionally draining. By the end of it I was begging everyone to leave because I desperately needed an alcoholic beverage of any kind.

NS-Dokumentationszentrum

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

We sought nourishment (and warmth) at a cute bakery. I thought it looked like the perfect place to rest my weary, frostbitten feet, but I was rushed along to a nearby Christmas market with a Brötchen in hand.

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

We then headed to Cologne’s Angel Market, which turned out to be my favorite Christmas market in Cologne. I loved the twinkling star-lights above all of the buildings.

Cologne, Germany

We finished off the day with some Glühwein, which is essentially hot wine stewed with spices like star anise and cinnamon.

Cologne, Germany

And as I learned in Germany, Glühwein and good company are kind of necessary after a long, cold and snowy day.

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21 and has been traveling the world ever since. She's usually in pursuit of yoga, languages and perfectly ripe cheese and her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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16 Comments

  1. Oh, I love Germany’s baked goodness!!! Mmm, Brötchen! I’ve never experienced the country covered in snow, but it looks beautiful!
    Audrey | That Backpacker recently posted..Crazy Cat LadyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Whenever I backpack the Germans I meet talk about how much they miss the amazing bread back home… now I know why!

  2. You definitely picked the right weekend to come to Germany! The snow is all gone now :( I love your pictures!

    Reply
    • Thank you! Just looking at them makes me want to relive the weekend. I am actually strategizing to find a way to move to Germany to learn the language… we’ll see!

  3. You know, your previous post about Germany was really insightful. Germany is a history-rich country and yes, it is really a pity they cannot appreciate themselves fully. Other countries committed similar atrocities in their past but that doesn’t prevent them from appreciating the fact that they are currently completely different. And by the way, I’m sure none of those you talked to were even born during WWII.
    But… that is Germany, that’s the way it is :)
    TheTuscan recently posted..How to overcome fear of speaking a foreign language so to be able to move everywhereMy Profile

    Reply
    • I agree, I think Germany still has a lot of healing to do and I really do hope that Germans can regain their pride without feeling self-conscious about it.

  4. What an excellent experience. Sounds like a perfect day, honestly!

    I know some of the WWII exhibits can be draining but I never pass them up. I read a lot about WWII and it’s so weird to think that, really, it wasn’t that long ago it all happened. Props for sticking it out.

    Reply
    • I totally agree, it might be difficult to see WWII exhibits but it’s so important that we do.

  5. Haha I love the German language as well. I traveled with a German girl in India for three weeks and made her me teach me lots of random German vocab, it always made me giggle!
    Amanda recently posted..Bali, by IphoneographyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Haha that sounds like so much fun! That’s how I was with the Germans I hung out with; I hate when I’m the only one who can’t speak the common language so I always try to learn at least the basics :)

  6. mmmm baked goods and snow

    Reply
    • They go well with each other, right?

  7. Wow, there is a heavy snow now in Germany. I was in Berlin like 2 weeks ago and it was freezing cold, but didn’t snow. I tried some German bakery but didn’t like it as much as croissants and buns in Brussels. :):) Enjoy!
    Agness recently posted..Why Being Back Home Feels so GreatMy Profile

    Reply
    • How did you like Berlin? I’m definitely thinking about going there this spring :)

    • I was told that we got very lucky because it rarely snows in Cologne! But definitely go for the markets, they were amazing and a lot better than France’s. Merry Christmas to you as well!

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