In the UK the pop-up, German markets that come to Birmingham in December are a popular and well-known attraction, something I like to visit every year. This Christmas I had 3 weeks off work and returned home, my partner and I were looking for a short Christmas getaway for a few days but being Christmas time, we knew prices on flights and hotels tend to be expensive so we were on the hunt for a last-minute deal.
I was looking into Germany for two reasons, one the Christmas German markets would be on and two the first family I became a Nanny for were there on holiday. We found some good flight prices on Sky scanner that was within our budget and we booked straight away which flew us from Birmingham to Düsseldorf Germany with Euro wings. We needed to be staying in Aachen, a city 1 hour 30 minutes train ride away from the airport so we booked into the Mercure hotel a close walk into the centre of Aachen city.
When we arrived we quickly realized that all of the German words we knew between us wasn’t enough to help us understand and ask anyone for directions, the majority of people were very friendly, happy to help and had okay English speaking skills. It is always good and respectable to know some of the language, not only to help yourself but for the locals to understand what you are trying to ask. So, we downloaded the free google translator app which was a lifesaver.
Over the next three days, we spent our time amongst all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers. The German markets were beautiful, we enjoyed seeing the lights and handmade German gifts that were on sale. The markets are set around the Aachen Cathedral which is amazing on the eye and as you walk around you really feel like the Cathedral is towering over you, it is one of the oldest Cathedrals in Europe. We also tried some German cuisine and one of our favourites was ‘Flammkuchen’. This is translated to ‘Flame Cake’, it has a crispy thin crust and rather than tomato sauce, the dough is spread with crème fraiche and any toppings you desire but traditionally is topped with cheese, bacon and onion. They are then cooked in a wood-fired bread oven, you can also find sweet versions. These are delicious, I would highly recommend having one of these the next time you visit Germany.
Aachen is not just a historical city, there are many other things to enjoy such as, great places to shop with loads of high street stores and a lovely shopping centre called Aquis plaza. This is home to one of my new favourite warm drink shops, ‘The Chocolate Company’. There is also a very exciting water park called ‘Aquana sauna and Freizeitbad’ just a 20-minute drive from the city centre which is fun for all the family, we enjoyed visiting this for an afternoon going down the water slides, river rapids and fun in the wave machine.
I would recommend Aachen Germany as a travel destination for anyone, after visiting twice now, I know there are lots to do in all seasons and another special place to put on your bucket lists!