Posted by: travelrat | May 22, 2013



Kiel: 2nd December 2012

I always visualised Kiel as a rather cheerless port, where ships waited to enter the Kiel Canal. I was happy to be proved wrong! The light wasn’t the greatest … but what do you expect in December? We were told there’s a Winter Market in Kiel, only a few hundred yards from where the ship was berthed, which would open at 10 o’ clock.

Kiel 3We found a huddle of little Christmas Market-type wooden huts clustered in a little square by the church, but all were firmly locked up.

So, we wandered a little further, and found a marquee pitched in front of the Town Hall, advertising an Eisfestival. Could this be it? No, it housed a temporary skating rink.

We took a gentle stroll round a peaceful, placid lake, which is a typically German way to spend a Sunday. Then, we set off to return to the ship, and found what we’d thought to be the Winter Market open and trading. But, they only seemed to be selling food and drink … for ‘consumption on the premises’. We spotted a coffee bar nearby, which had also opened, so we went in to enjoy a sumptuous hot chocolate with cream before returning to the ship.


Hot Chocolate!It was a month or so later that I read that hot chocolate looks more tempting if it’s served in an orange mug. The mug was transparent, but the saucer was orange. Is it true, or was this just good chocolate?

We found out later that there was indeed a Winter Market, which we’d have found if we’d walked a little further. But, we weren’t too disappointed; the Christmas market at Rostock was a hard act to follow.

We managed to enter the Kiel Canal by daylight. Everyone clustered on deck to watch the ship going through the lock, steered from the bridge wing by the Captain himself. I can’t say I blame him. In his place, in such a confined space, I don’t think I’d have entrusted such a fine ship to anyone else, either.

Kiel Canal 2

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