Friday, December 7, 2012

Sinta Claus Day! On to Koln

We were well aware of Dec 6 being Sinta Claus day from our days living in Holland.  Germany does not celebrate Sinta Claus day as much as the Dutch in Holland, but there were special breads and chocolates at everyone’s place at breakfast.  Later an aunt and Oma stopped by with little presents for the girls.  The girls also opened their little advent gifts (a small gift is opened each day of Advent). 

We wanted to be on the road by 9:00 this morning, but it was nearly 10:00 before the good-byes were said.  There was snow in the air and there was a light dusting on the ground which made everything look so pretty.  We drove back to Soest as we wanted to take some photos in the daylight, especially of the church steeple.  We went inside the church too to see the “krippe”.  Krippe’s are nativity scenes or creche’s.  Krippe means the “crib scene”. They are interesting.  Some are full scenes while others are simply Mary or Maria and the angel Gabriel, which represents the annunciation.   At Christmas the rest of the figures will be added, and on Jan 6 the wise man.  

We continued onto Koln/Cologne.  We had reserved a hotel within a block of the huge Koln Cathedral.  Koln has lots of pedestrian streets in the downtown, so in finding the hotel we had to maneuver around the walking streets.  We had plans to meet the father of another exchange student at 2:30.  We were a few minutes late until we found the place to park the car. 

While it was still daylight, the three of us explored several downtown churches looking at different styles of stained glass windows.  Some are very modern – we prefer the more traditional windows.  By the time we had looked at the windows it was beginning to be dusk and the Christmas markets lights were on.  Koln had 6 major Christmas markets. We walked around one and while at the second one the sister of the exchange student who herself had been an exchange student in Wisconsin, just across the Iowa border, joined us, and we explored a third and fourth market together (we had met her in Iowa when her family came to Iowa after her high school graduation in WI).  By 8:00 we were at a restaurant where the exchange student and his girlfriend met all of us for dinner.  He and his girlfriend had been in Mt Pleasant this past summer for his 10th year class reunion.  We spent a day together at the Iowa State Fair.  It was good to see them again. 
German Farm House and Barn

Koln Cathedram - Dom, 500 ft Tall

Cathedral Entrance

Inside Cathedral

Cathedral Window


Our evening meal was very traditional. I had mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, with ham, while Cal had different kinds of sausages with his.  Of course beer from Koln!  We actually did not have gluhwein in Koln last night.  After dinner they gave us some Sinta Claus chocolate and a book of photos of their time in Iowa this summer.  It was a great evening.   

Koln Christmas Market

Dinner with Friends
By the time we returned to the hotel we were tired.  We had walked miles and it was not warm!  We had stopped for coffee and walked into several stores along the way to warm up a bit.  Thank goodness we have warm outer wear with us.  We had a wonderful time with our friends in Koln

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