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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?