Can you believe that it’s Christmastime once again? We don’t get snow on our side of the globe, but the weather’s notably cooler, especially at night, and the streets twinkle with beautiful fairy lights. Throw in some holiday tunes and a delicious cup of coffee, and it’s the perfect time for reminiscing.
Four years ago, after my colleague Sheila and I had our training in the little town of Löhne, Germany, we made our way to the not-so-little city of Hamburg to experience ourselves some European Christmas spirit. Of course, our first stop had to be their Rathaus—German for city hall.
As we walked up the steps of the subway, our heads were drawn up to the impressive sandstone walls housing the seat of Hamburg’s government. To give you an idea of just how grand this neo-Renaissance building is, its number of rooms tops that of London’s Buckingham Palace. Awesome, right?
We would’ve wanted to join one of the guided tours to its public areas, but since we had a free city tour to catch, we decided to simple explore the sights outside. And since we were there mid-November, we were right in time for the Weihnachtsmarkt, or Christmas market, held in the plaza in front of the city hall. It was just like being in a movie set, with the stalls painted to look like traditional half-timbered houses, red-and-white striped awnings lined with garlands, and a towering tree of lights.
The market looked cool during the day—if a bit deserted—but it was magical at night. It totally sold me on the idea of spending Christmas in Europe with someone I love. Someday, hopefully…and I wouldn’t mind getting a taste of some falling snow, either!
To warm up, Sheila and I headed for a coffee shop that’s close to our hearts—and we went there twice, too! The first, while waiting for our walking tour, and the second, after revisiting the Christmas market at night. I tried their special holiday offering Lebkuchen Latte, but now, I can’t remember what it tasted like. I do remember that we both loved the caramel hot chocolate, so much so that we ordered it at our local Starbucks when we came home! Sheila even lucked out with a customer feedback receipt that entitled her to a free drink.
Come to think of it, I’m kind of craving for a nice mug of that hot chocolate right at this minute…
Photos courtesy of Sheila Jumao-as Robosa, edited by Marian Bartolome