Driving home for Christmas and heading to South America

Big news – we’ve just booked flights to Colombia in January! As I write this we’re on the ferry back to the UK to celebrate the festive season with family before we begin our 2018 adventures. Driving home for Christmas has taken us to the supreme Cologne xmas markets and to Bruges, which may well be the most beautiful European city we’ve visited to date. Here’s the lowdown on our festive journey and South American plans.

A selfie at the Cologne Christmas Market, Germany




Christmas overload in Cologne

After bidding a fond farewell to frosty Prague, we drove over 400 miles to Cologne, Germany, for some festive fun, and the Christmas markets certainly didn’t disappoint. Picture historic squares filled with traditional wooden stalls, twinkly lights, hot spicy punch, lanterns in the trees, ice skating rinks and people (bizarrely) curling.

Ice skating at Cologne's Christmas Market, Germany

Of the three markets, our favourite was the one in Roncalliplatz, which stands in the shadow of mighty Cologne Cathedral, whose gothic spires reach 157 metres into the sky, making it the fourth tallest in the world. The centrepiece was a stage and Christmas tree, where we watched choirs and jazz bands while sipping punch, a web of lights spread above us.

Kolner Dom, the mighty cathedral in Cologne

Jazzcity playing Christmas songs atthe Cologne Christmas Market, Germany

We even found some vegan almond pancakes and baked cinnamon apples, which we ate whilst wandering around the stalls in the bitter cold. Over the last few years we’ve spent most of our Christmases in tropical climes, but we definitely made up for that this year with a full-on dose of festivity at both the Prague and Cologne markets.

The stage at Cologne's Christmas Market, Germany

Vegan Christmas pancakes from the Christmas Markets in Cologne

Beautiful Bruges

We spent the final night of our European road trip in Bruges, where we wandered the cobbled streets lined with chocolate shops. There was a smaller market in the main square beneath the city’s striking brick belfry and Christmas lights twinkled off the nearby canals. We may have spent just a few hours in the city, but Bruges totally bewitched us, it’s definitely the most beautiful European city we’ve visited to date, just check out these pictures.

Berg, in Bruges at Christmas

The beautiful Bruges waterways at night at Christmas

Driving home for Christmas to the UK

We’re uncharacteristically excited to be heading back to the UK to finish the year. There will be plenty of family visits, vegan baking, Christmas TV and enjoying some downtime after our three-month road trip. It won’t be all rest and relaxation though, as I’m working hard on some freelance projects and trying to catch up with the huge backlog of blog posts.

Kolner Dom, Cologne's Cathedral, Germany

Cologne Cathedral from the eastern bank of the Rhine River

2018 in South America

When we first left the UK in 2013, South America was in our ‘year two’ travel plans, but after falling under Asia’s spell, we still haven’t been nearly five years later. So, we’re so excited to be finally heading to Colombia in mid-January. We’ll land in Cartagena and for once have no onward plans, we’ll just see where the road takes us.

The sparkly Christmas lights at Cologne's Old Market

As always, we do have a wish-list that includes trekking in Peru, visiting the Bolivian salt flats and exploring Ecuador. A lot depends on work, as we’re going to continue our digital nomad journey next year (report about our 2017 experiences coming soon!). At the moment, we’re considering spending a month in Medellin, which we’ve heard is a hub for remote workers.

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If you have any ideas about places to visit, especially in Colombia, please let us know in the comments below and have a very merry Christmas! Where are you spending the holidays?

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16 thoughts on “Driving home for Christmas and heading to South America

  1. Exciting news guys! Medellin is an excellent base for digital nomads. We joined the Fb expat groups and found an apartment from there. You’re gonna love it 🙂

  2. I can’t wait to read your posts about South America! I have mixed feelings about traveling in this part of the world and have avoided it so far. With so many other wonderful parts of the world to see, it is easy to put South America on the back burner. It will be interesting to hear your stories.

    • Hi Nikki, we had mixed feelings too, especially since the flights were so expensive from the UK! We are so excited now to get there and explore though, we look forward to sharing our stories with you. Thanks for reading and have a great Christmas!

  3. Christmas has certainly been very different for you this year😄 Your road trip has been amazing, I loved following your journey. I would love to visit some of these European Christmas markets, they are so beautiful…minus the cold though. I have not been to Colombia, so can’t give any sugestions but I am sure you will love SA. Brian and I are planning to trek in Peru in June/18 so I will be looking forward to hear how you enjoyed it😄 Merry Christmas to you both and many faboulous adventures for 2018😄

    • Yep, we’ve definitely had a ‘proper’ Christmas this year so far 🙂 Sounds like we both have an exciting year ahead of us, looking forward to hearing all about your adventures too. Have a great Christmas!

  4. Have a merry Christmas and a most exciting ,beautiful new year I will find out from a Columbian friend some amazing national parks There is a documentary called wild Columbia and the national parks are awesome Love always louisa

    • Thanks Louisa, have a great Christmas too, we’re really excited about Colombia and will definitely check out that documentary 🙂

  5. Please google on you tube Goats on the road travelling Columbia These American travel vloggers show you some really amazing places and well informed

  6. It must feel good to have that big decision made… to fly south. I’m looking forward to following this chapter of your journey.

    • Yes, that decision took us a long time to make, as you know 🙂 I’m excited to follow the next chapter in your journey too, Happy New Year!

  7. Oh my goodness, I am so excited to see where 2018 takes you! South America is so high on my list! I’m desperate to spend a long stretch of time in Peru, Chile, and Argentina — and would really love to spend a few months in Mexico as well. Can’t wait to read about the future adventures! Happy 2018!

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