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Christmas is notoriously weeks of hard work, planning and manic shopping for a few days of family, food and TV – which are over in a flash, leaving us broke (but a few pounds heavier) and wondering what happened to that real Christmas feeling of childlike wonder and excitement we used to get? In an attempt to rediscover my Christmas spirit, I decided to head out of the UK, and over to Germany.
You may be thinking I’m a complete Scrooge who obviously hates Christmas, but actually – I love Christmas! I love spending quality time with my loved ones, going for long dog walks in frosty parks and watching people open presents I’ve carefully picked for them. The bit I don’t really care for is the commercial madness, all wrapped up with endless Christmas songs and crazy shoppers.
That is why this year I decided to skip the high street and try to find some classic Christmas spirit in a small part of Germany called Aachen.
Aachen is steeped in Roman history and beautiful architecture, like the awe-inspiring gothic Cathedral which was Germany’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aachen is also situated very close to the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands, making it the perfect pit stop for any European traveller.
However, during the winter months its Aachen’s Christmas markets which really attract travellers.
The streets are filled with beautiful market stalls, selling everything from delicious bratwurst and reiberkuchen, to hand crafted jewellery and children’s toys.
We walked around and admired the carol singers, twinkly lights, and beautiful gifts with friendly fellow travellers from all over the world – and even shared a small china boot full of mulled wine with locals. While I enjoyed my warming tipple, I couldn’t help but be infected by everyone’s Christmas cheer!
Whether you’re looking for some unique hand crafted gifts which will last longer than Boxing day, or simply your Christmas spirit, I would definitely recommend a quick weekend trip over to Germany, to have an true taste of Christmas.
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