Postcard from... Cologne


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The Independent Online

It looks a little bit like Christmas threw up in Cologne. Picturesque cabins, twinkling fairy lights and the cheery face of Father Christmas (or should that be Weihnachtsmann?) adorn every inch of pavement in the busy German city. The only thing missing is snow – so far it’s been more of a wash-out Christmas than a white one.

But nowhere are the lights more bright than in Christmas Avenue – the main walkway for the city’s popular gay and lesbian Christmas market located between Schaafenstraße and Pilgrimstraße in an area of the city centre known as the Bermuda Triangle.

Stalls selling everything from “loud and proud” iced cookies to over-priced dog accessories attract crowds from all walks of life while the disco classics – pumped out at full volume – leave passers-by in no doubt over which market they’ve stumbled across.

One of seven markets currently open in the city, it is the only one where Eierpunsch – a sweet, hot, alcoholic drink similar to egg-nogg and served with whipped cream and a straw – outsells the more traditional tourist tipple of Glühwein. But it’s also the friendliest one, where staff, suitably dressed in Santa hats, offer service not only with a smile, but a cheeky wink too.