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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Tale of Two Cities


"We need a break. We need a break desperately," my friends and I thought as 2016 came to a close. Determined to make the start to 2017 unforgettable, (and eat as many local delicacies as we could before our New Years resolutions started) we headed off on a whirlwind 3 day city break across two countries.

The first stop was Cologne in Germany, a beautiful city with spectacular views of the Rhine (the  picture above was taken on a chilly morning walk). An early rise at 4am to catch our flight made for a tiring start to the trip so as soon as we left the tram we headed for a very strong coffee before consulting the guidebook and planning our day and a half in Germany.

Megan on the Rhine bank

We went to the main square so we could explore the city centre and cathedral. 'Impressive' would be an understatement when describing the cathedral. Feeling a bit daring (and in my case overestimating my fitness) we climbed 100m to the viewing platform of the tower, which offered stunning views spanning the city.



Post climb we enjoyed a well deserved Kölsch, the local beer, in one of Cologne's beer halls (an absolute must) and tucked into a traditional schnitzel. We were fortunate enough to stumble upon the Christmas market on our way back and couldn't resist enjoying a gluhwein (mulled wine) while watching people ice skate round the rink at the market. It doesn't get more festive than that...

Cologne Christmas market
Apparently chocolate is a BIG deal in Cologne (not complaining tbh) and so naturally the chocolate museum was on our to do list. If I could recommend any culinary delight from the trip it would be the Baileys hot chocolate we sampled at the museum café. I took one sip and was in heaven, although a word of warning, it's so rich it's a meal in itself.


Next stop, Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. The first thing we did was make our way to the Atomium. It was an impressive structure but sadly it was an extremely foggy day and the queue was huge so we decided against actually going inside. Instead, we explored Brussels city centre, took in the sights of the Grand Place and spent a few hours in the square's museum.

The Grand Place

Group shot...I look like a giant here

Night time soon crept up on us so we stopped off for a carbonnade flamande (a Belgium beef stew) and a local beer before heading to the city's Christmas market to try a delicious waffle for dessert. When in Belgium...With a few hours to go before 2017 we headed back to the hotel to get ready and found ourselves in an Irish bar just in time for the countdown to midnight.

To put it simply, we ate a lot, we drank a bit and saw some beautiful sites. I can't think of a better way to have ended the year...

Hope you had a fantastic New Year!

NG <3



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