Travel Diaries: Cologne 2017

I’m catching up! Finally! This post is only being published a year after I actually went to Cologne (I know, it’s crazy!). So, during the autumn break, the whole family took a couple of days of to visit Cologne and some surrounding cities. I have to admit that, for me at least, the circumstances weren’t the best but… You know what? Even with all the drama that was going on back home? This Cologne 2017 journey was amazing – and here are some of the highlights!

1. Cologne

The cathedral

This was the 3rd time I’ve visited this cathedral and, honestly, I don’t think it’s something you can ever grow tired of. Not only does it allow for all the photo opportunities, the inside is at least as interesting. This is one of those must-do’s, and the good things? The cathedral itself tends to be calm enough that you can take your time to enjoy your visit. The market in front of it, though? No guarantees.

And while you’re at the cathedral: why not visit the Roman-Germanic museum?

The river

So, you know that bridge in Paris with all the little locks hanging on, with people professing their love? Did you know that Cologne has a bridge just like it? It’s called the Hohenzollern Bridge and it allows you to cross the Rhine perfectly at ease. Well, you know – as long as you’re willing to jump out of the way of the cyclist that are none too happy about pedestrians slowing them down. The view over the river and the city, especially at (or just after) dusk, is honestly something to take your time to enjoy.

You can cross the river from the Inner Stad using the Hohenzollern, then walk next to the river until you reach the Deutzer Brücke and then go back to the inner city. This allows you not only a splendid view of the river (which has put its mark on the city naturally). It also allows you to truly take in how majestic the cathedral is – and how many cute houses there are just on the river side!

The little streets

Within 10 minutes, you can go from modern buildings to a catholic church, to shopping streets back to idyllic market places. What’s more, Cologne is just small enough that you can walk around for hours, but you’ll never actually get too lost. And while you’re at it – why not stop for an ice cream or a waffle on one of the many market places? Take in the views, watch the people go past… And just enjoy the fact that you’re in Cologne!

2. Around Cologne

Bonn

On our second day, we went straight to Bonn. After the Second World War, when Germany was split in to, this was the capital of the western side of Germany. Some of that grandeur is still visible, but to me, Bonn felt mainly like a student town.

One definite recommendations would have to be the Bonner Münster, which still has the original cloister. Another plus was the LVR Landesmuseum – this museum looks pretty darn good from the outside, and the exhibitions on the outside largely outdo the exterior. What’s more – the cafe is pretty fun as well.

Something I wouldn’t necessarily recommend is the Beethoven House. Unless you’re an absolute Beethoven-avid, you’re not really getting that much for your money: you walk from room to room and read some info that you could just as easily find on 4 other locations – and way cheaper at that.

Schloss Augustusburg

If you’re a fan of large manors, great mansions and a good bit of history? Than this one is an absolute must for you. As is a must for any building from the 18th century or earlier, there is a good deal of political drama that still echoes throughout each and every room. This is exactly the kind of over-the-top building you might expect from the age of baroque, and it’s honestly amazing to walk through it.

Tip: do take the guide, because there’s quite a couple of juicy details just waiting to be told!

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Falkenlust

From Schloss Augustusburg, you can either walk through the gardens or take your car straight to Falkenlust, which was the hunting pavilion for the Schloss. It’s like a smaller, slightly more delicate version of the grandeur of the castle, and together they combine into a perfect day trip!

3. Food and drinks

If you’re in Germany, you have to eat at a Haxenhaus. This is the type of restaurant that serves that classic German food. Good (and a lot of!) meat and excellent pints of beer. Oh – and a rustic atmosphere. That’s for sure 🙂

A personal favorite of mine was Mama Leone – this restaurant is right near the river, the old center, and it serves the most delicious food I had, probably that whole trip. Definitely go visit that place if you can!

And there you have it! That’s some of my favourite things we did during our 3 days (yes! We were there for only 3 days!) in Cologne! Be sure to let me know below whether you’ve ever been and if you have any recommendations for things I should do the next time I’m there!

-Saar