Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Weekend in Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany is just a quick train ride away from Amsterdam. If you get the ICE train, a high speed train not only will you get a really nice ride with a nice dining car you get there in just 2.5 hours! There is just enough there to keep you entertained for a weekend as a tourist. So, read about our weekend and get to planning your own trip!



Arrival
We took the high speed train so we came in at Koln Hbf, or Cologne Central station. When you come across the bridge on the train you get a great view of the Rhine and the Cathedral. Once you walk through the front doors to exit you get an amazing view of the Cathedral once again and about a million people sitting on the stairs. It is absolutely breathtaking.


According to our host we just needed to take a quick walk over a bridge to get to our hotel, but by this time I was exhausted and there were so many people everywhere and our host was kindly waiting for us we just took a taxi. They are easy to find as there is a taxi stand just outside the train station. Taxi's in Cologne are very cheap, so even though we arrived at rush hour, it wasn't terribly expensive for the cab to get us where we needed to be and it gave us a good idea of how to get to where we were going from then on.

First night
After settling in at our accommodation we wandered back over the bridge...

Found some food and then checked out the cathedral lit up at night. Simply gorgeous!

The fountain



Crazy enough, at 10 at night we saw people entering and exiting the church. I am not sure if there was a service happening or what, but I was surprised that people were coming and going!

First full day
We got up the next morning and decided our first stop would be the Cathedral.

I mean, come on Europe, even your corners are cool!

Seeing these views in the mid-morning autumn light was perfect!

We were able to step inside, it is free of charge. You must be quite though as this is a functioning cathedral and they often have mass going, which they did on this particular day. The photos of the inside are done with my iPhone as my DSLR is quite loud when it takes a photo and you can't be a rude tourist!





Love this huge organ, there were three of them, one smaller than this and one larger.

This door had my heart. I love the design.

This was an absolutely fascinating place. We were quite happy when we discovered you could climb a billion steps to the belfry and get amazing views of Cologne. I highly recommend doing this, it was cheap and well worth it. Workout + panoramic views=WINNER!






I find it amazing that at some point in 1994 there wasn't the wire around the outside as people were able to graffiti!

After that we went for a nice walk along the Rhine and found our next stop: The Chocolate Museum!

This place is extremely unassuming, but in the end we were extremely impressed!

Upon entry you are given a piece of chocolate (score!) then you can wander through. There is a lot of great info about fair trade chocolate and why this is important, the history of chocolate through the ages, and finally info about the processing of chocolate.


Lots of interactive exhibits...

They showed a lot of packaging from the past and present.

How the packaging comes to fruition.

Can you believe these views from inside the museum?!


Some history of chocolate.

Chocolate serving set, I want one! 


Still loving these views, even with the reflection. Just can't get over how stunning it is!

There is also an excellent cafe that I highly recommend you go to, come back tomorrow for more info on this.

After the chocolate museum we decided to head down to the shopping district. Coming from Amsterdam, Cologne has an excellent shopping area-not to be missed-especially the ice cream cone!



We were very tired after this day of non-stop walking, we walked back to our room thinking we would watch a movie and we fell asleep! ha!

Second Day
We slept in a bit as after the first full day we were exhausted. We didn't take cabs or transit anywhere, just walked enjoying the architecture and views of the Rhine.

After waking we walked back across the bridge and walked the opposite way of the Chocolate Museum (sad lol) and went to the Cable Cars.




We took the cable cars there, enjoyed the down below view of some old naked people at some resort, walked around the little park, and then rode the cable car back.




Views were absolutely stunning! I highly recommend doing this activity while you are there.

Conveniently the cable cars are right next to the zoo. We hadn't been to a zoo in ages, so we decided to go. The zoo is a bit expensive for my taste, but we did get to see some sea life we'd never seen before and it is a pretty old zoo having opened in the 1800s so a bit of history there was nice.





Post zoo we just wandered for hours getting a snack and eventually dinner.

Post dinner we weren't quite ready to go back to our room so we wandered the streets some more watching everyone come and go for Oktoberfest, some fun costumes, then we headed over to The Triangle for some night time viewing of Cologne.

Views from the bridge on our walk to the Triangle.
I love how the light plays in this one and makes the cathedral appear green.


Views from the Triangle:




It is a bit blurry but I loved the light in this one with the full moon. This was the only decent shot I was able to get with my DSLR, I really need to learn to use that at night time haha all the rest are with my iPhone.

All-in-all we had a great time, but really were stretching it to find stuff to fill two full days. You could easily leave Friday after work and spend just a day and a half in Cologne and feel like you weren't rushed.

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful place. We visited three cities in Germany with small kids and it was fun, but very stressful experience. Now we will wait till they are older to venture to Europe again. Looks like you had a great time though. The cable cars and the chocolate museum sound like just the right thing for kids... and me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, I see how Germany could be tough with very small kids, although I felt Cologne was very child friendly-but I can't say I'd travel all the way from the U.S. just to see Cologne. haha

      Delete
  3. How cool! It's beautiful there! Thanks for sharing at Small Victories Sunday Linkup!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds amazing and the pictures are stunning! I'm glad you had a good trip! Thanks for sharing on #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup!

    ReplyDelete