Sinterklaas, Glühwein, and Libby

Hello friends. Truthfully, I am not the best at keeping this baby updated. I try, but fail. “A”for effort, right?

Libby Wallin, one of my dearest friends, visited in the beginning of December and it was magical. Libby and I studied abroad together at Furman; so – as you can imagine – we were thrilled to be back on European soil together.

Libby arrived on Saturday and hit the ground running. I am not kidding. I think she was riding a bike within the first hour!  The first few days, the three of us explored Amsterdam. We have an extra bike (if you remember “the purple beauty” from my first post :)) and so Libby, Bryan and I rode bikes around our neighborhood.

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While Bryan and I worked during the week, Libby traveled to Copenhagen by herself. She is quite the adventurer.

On Friday, Libby and I took the train to Cologne, Germany. Only a couple hours away from Amsterdam and conveniently located, Cologne is the perfect weekend trip. Bryan needed to work on Friday and so he came to join us that evening.

After we dropped our bags at the hotel, we went straight to a healthy brunch spot. I highly recommend the Great Berry if you ever find yourself in Cologne. We ate incredible smoothie bowls and avocado toast. At brunch we gabbed and mapped out all the Christmas markets. We knew we needed to get several in before Bryan arrived! 😉

This is us at the first Christmas market. Naturally, we had to get Glühwein and the hot chocolate. We did a lot of browsing around and taking it all in.

Libby and I also walked into the beautiful Cologne Cathedral on Friday afternoon, but waited to climb to the top the next day with Bryan.

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Look at this beauty in front of the beautiful cathedral!

Bryan came on Friday night and we went to a delicious pizza dinner. Of course, I left my sweater there. Who is surprised? And, when we went back it was gone! Boo. Besides that misstep, it was a wonderful dinner and the pizza was delicious. After dinner, we went to a really neat cocktail bar and each ordered a unique cocktail. We felt like locals.

On Saturday morning, we visited more Christmas markets and climbed to the top of the cathedral.

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The 3 musketeers.

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All in all, I think we ended up going to 4 different Christmas markets. Cologne is small enough to where you can walk around the entire city without public transportation and big enough to make a weekend trip out of it. All of the Christmas markets have a theme in order to tell them apart – it is quite lovely. We went to the elf themed market (all of the stalls have gnomes on top!) the angel themed market, and the santa themed market. The atmosphere smelled like christmas and the mood jingled with Christmas spirit. My friend from work told me that the Germans view these markets as their social gathering spot all season.

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We headed back on Saturday afternoon because Libby’s flight was early on Sunday morning. Some friends of ours hosted a “white elephant” Christmas party on Saturday night and we went to the party when we got home from Cologne. I love that Libby is always up for anything and it was a treat to introduce her to our Amsterdam friends. Of course, we definitely needed to dress up. Everyone loved Bryan’s vest – ha ha. Ho ho.

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Our amazon purchases = gold. Thanks for carrying them over, Libby!

Having Libby in Amsterdam for the week was soul-filling. I love this quote from Shauna Niequist: “Everybody has a hometeam: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.” Libby is one of those friends to Bryan and me, completely on my hometeam.

We miss her already and cannot wait until she comes again next year. We are already talking about it!

Until next time,

Hila

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