Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cologne, Germany

In May & June I spent one and a half months in the nice city of Cologne in Germany. In March, I had started intensive courses of German to recover my skills in this language, and we had an internship to do over there, I got a position in a hotel, as receptionist, and those one and a half months were fantastic!

First,  Cologne is a very nice city, there you can take different pleasant walks. The main landmark is the Cathedral, the "Dom", it shapes the skyline of the city and is a very nice work of architecture. You can't miss it, and that's actually the first thing you see when going out the Main Train Station, by its size it's quite impressive. You can climb up its tower and admire the view on the city.
You can also take a walk along the Rhine, the Rhein Park is very nice, when the sun is shinning, you'll find lots of people doing barbecue there, as in every park all over the city. Another nice park is Hiroshima Park by Aachener Wiener, a small artificial lake on which is floating a piece of art... And of course, in almost all parks you can find Biergarten (Beer Garden) where you can refresh with a Kölsch (local beer) for instance.
Don't miss the Zoo neither, it's really nice place, with animals coming from all over the globe, everything is made so they can feel at ease, with big spaces. I personally will never forget my visit there since I got completely burnt and turned red (don't forget your suncream when the sun's out, even in Germany ^^ ) I recommend a whole day to visit it all, and of course it's better to go at opening time (10:00 am) since there's less people and you can see more of the animals.
And just next to the Zoo, is Flora. The Botanical Gardens, also worth a visit. It took us a few hours to walk throughout the park, as expected you can find there different type of plants, don't miss the greenhouses, very interesting, it's sometimes looking like the jungle (well I presume since I've never been in a jungle), very hot and wet.

In Cologne, you can also find lots of churches and most of them are worth a visit. St. Mariä Himmelfahrt, for instance, is very impressive. I also liked the Pink Churchs, one opposite the Main Station, and one almost opposite the Chocolate Museum.

Talking about Museums, a few of them were of interest to me, I visited 3 of them.
The City Museum (Kölnishes Stadt Museum) is very interesting if you wanna learn more about the history of the city. What stroke me there most are pictures of the city just after World War II, you can see lots of blank areas because of the bombing...
Chocolate Museum
Then, I also went to the Roman-Germanic Museum (Römish-Germanishe Museum) which traces the history of the city and the whole area back from dinosaur time up to Middle-Age. It seems that around 2 millions year ago, this place was by a tropical sea, things has quite changed! ^^ Maybe in 2 millions year it will be a snow desert... who knows! A big part is also dedicated to Roman occupation, it's actually where it got its name from, as it was a Roman "Colonia". You can find downstairs a wonderful mosaic floor, very impressive.
The last one is the Chocolate Museum, owned by the Swiss brand Lindt. It traces the history of chocolate, explains the growing, the transformation, the production and so on... It's very interesting, and you got some sample too! One at the entrance, and later you can find a Chocolate fountain! There, you can get a waffle dipped in hot chocolate... And their shop is amazing, you can find anything made out of chocolate, from cocoa powder to chocolate beer, from strange-flavoured chocolate to chocolate pasta... 

Schnitzel @ Bei Oma Kleinmann
Another great thing about Cologne is the night life! It's very busy, we tried a lot of cocktail bars and restaurants out there! On Hohenzollernring for instance, you sure can find a place you'll like. Sausalitos is a kind of mexican cocktail bar, everyday from 5pm to 8pm you can get cocktails for half price, normal or jumbo size and the menu is impressive. They also have nice and cheap food, 13€ for a giant burger with a big bunch of fries or fajitas which will make you full for 14€, that's really worth the money.
But don't miss Bei Oma Kleinmann on Aachener Strasse and its big Schnitzel (pork or chicken or turkey filet, very thin and breaded) but there, they're not thin and one is enough for 2. It goes with different sauces, fries or baked potatoes or wedges and a side salad... for 12 to 15€!
If you go there by Spring/Summer time, if the sun is out don't miss Sky Beach! It's a beach on top a high building with a bar, it's so great, the view is wonderful, nice cocktails and beachlike atmosphere.

Cologne has plenty to offer, for all tastes, go there and you won't regret it! If you wanna see more photos you can browse through my online photo album, there's 6 folders about my stay in lovely Köln.

==Greetings from Dublin== 


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