Koln has always had a sprawling market presence – at least six markets are dropped into city parks and along the rivers – I favor the crowds gathered among brightly lit stalls beneath the enormous brooding central church. an hour’s drive from Maastricht, it’s an easy afternoon excursion, and the festive spirit still overwhelms the high prices charged for eierpunsch, stollen, foil ornaments and beanbag toys. It’s enough to just wander and take it all in without buying lots.
It seems ironic that the better markets are being fielded by the sometimes parsimonious and dour Germans, but maybe it follows their emphasis on local over central institutions and a different sense of civil / commercial balance.
More pix at my Flickr site