This past month has been a fun one! I knew with having our three littles that there would be a lot of fun to be had in celebrating Christmas. I read a blog mid-November, though, that got me thinking about adding a little something special to this Holiday season. The lady writing gave the idea of doing an advent for your husband so that he can be reminded just how much he is loved, too, despite all the focus that tends to be put on the kids during the Holidays. I shared this idea with my friend Sarah and our small, simple idea quickly evolved into something much bigger. Some days were just sweet notes and treats, some days were special things like a date night in where Mr. picked the movie or a ‘coupon’ for a back massage, and others were some bigger gifts that he had to do silly things in order to ‘win.’ My favorite, though, were the special date nights I had set up. First of all, we have INCREDIBLE friends because I totally would not have been able to pull this off with out them. So thank you Kim for babysitting and loving on our girls! They simply adore you and I do too! Thank you for giving up a few of your Friday nights to hang out with our girls! You are amazing! Thank you Luke and Brittany for keeping our girls for a night and joining us on a super fun double date night! And thank you Randy and Sarah for the double date night away trip and also for keeping our girls another night for another night away for us! And thank you Candace for covering for Andy so I could surprise him and let him leave work a tad early! None of this wouldn’t be possible with out you all and I am SO thankful for all your help (and secrecy!).
One of the biggest things I had planned for Mr.’s advent was a night away, just the two of us, to Köln. For my American friends this is the same exact city as what we call Cologne. And for purposes of not wanting to have to constantly slow down to add a special character I am just going to call it Cologne for the rest of the blog, too. Anyways! Once I knew his holiday work schedule for Christmas I decided the 23rd would be a great night away since he’d be off the 24th! I knew he would never suspect something like that on a Monday! He was certainly VERY surprised and we had a blast getting away and exploring an absolutely beautiful city!
I was able to sneak him out of work a few minutes early which he was thrilled about because it had been a busier day for him. The drive there was shorter than I expected and we had a lot of fun ‘rocking out’ to Beatles music and just chatting our time away. We had our first tiny German parking garage experience once we reached our hotel. Our tank of a car barely made it in and then as we were parking we quickly learned that our side view mirrors don’t have the option of folding in making it even more difficult. Lets just say I left my mark on a German pillar and it left it’s mark on our mirror. Thankfully it wasn’t any sort of damage that actually hurts our car other than an ugly mark. 😉 AND for the record the reason I was the one who caused the damage is because I’m the better parker and we switched seats after Mr. couldn’t get it to work. Not that it matters, but it does. 🙂
The hotel was absolutely amazing! When we first arrived we decided to just eat dinner at the hotel restaurant and I am so glad we did. It ended up being a fancy little French restaurant. I had THE best schnitzel I’ve ever had and Mr. had a steak and ox cheek! No joke. He is quite an adventurous eater. After that we decided to head over to the cathedral to catch the last night for Christmas Markets in Germany!
Online we had read that it was about a 10 minute walk to the cathedral from our hotel. It ended up taking us about 5 minutes max. We simple walked down the road and through the train station. Here is a view of the cathedral peaking out about the train station:
After a brief walk through the train station we walked out and what we saw absolutely took my breath away. Literally. I audibly gasped. As I was taking pictures that night I kept looking at them and telling Mr., “I don’t think this even begins to capture what this is like in real life….”
The Dom of Cologne has towers that soar 500 feet into the sky. It is absolutely huge. I wish I had a better work to tell you about the enormity. I felt like a speck of dust next to this beautiful church. Not only was it incredibly large, but it was incredibly detailed! From what I understand the construction on this cathedral began in the 1300’s and eventually was finished in the 1800’s. However, I believe there has been a Bishop there since the 800’s. Another amazing fact is that this area was heavily bombed in WW2. The cathedral itself took 14 hits, but despite that it continued to stand.
After a night of fun at the market we headed back for some sleep. We were both super tired! We actually felt pretty old wanting to call it a night at 8:30. Oh well! That is what you can do when you are kid-free!
The next morning we walked down the street to a really cute little bakery and ate breakfast there. I had a delicious fruit pastry and Mr. had a chocolate filled croissant! Of course we had coffee. That is a given!
Then, we decided to go walk around town a bit more in the day light. While it made seeing the cathedral easier I think I preferred it in the night. The glow around it just made it feel so whimsical. Either way, though, it was incredibly breath taking. The only down side was that is was SUPER windy. It was practically blowing me over! So we didn’t actually spend a lot of time out and about that morning and instead decided to head home a little earlier than planned. Which actually ended up working out well because it made for a more relaxing Christmas Eve back home with the girls!
I am so thankful that beautiful places like this are an hour and a half drive away from my home. It is such an incredible blessing. Not only that, but that I get to explore places like this with my handsome husband! It was such a great way to start our little Christmas Holiday!
Another fun fact is that the supposed remains of the 3 Magi are located at this Cathedral. We didn’t actually view them. In fact, we didn’t really spend much time inside the cathedral. We did go in for a bit, but I just felt uncomfortable being too nosey and touristy since there were quite a few people in there praying and worshipping. I just felt like I would be annoyed and frustrated if someone was coming in to take pictures of my church when I was trying to spend time with the Lord so I should be considerate of others trying to do the same. I think I’d like to go back again someday, though, and take the tour! It was just as beautiful inside as out!
If you want to see more pictures of our trip head HERE for the complete album!