Though The Netherlands is a small country with both Belgium and Germany at it’s borders, I’ve never been to the latter. Actually, that’s not true. I know my parents and my sister and I went on a trip to Germany once. I was too young to remember any of it, but I do remember my mum complaining about there not being a television in the house or cabin that we rented.
Last year, boyfriend and I moved to another town that was even closer to the border. It takes less time to get to Germany than it takes to go to my parents in law (who actually live in the Netherlands as well). At Christmas we went shopping for presents at Kleve, which was not all that exciting, except for that I found a new sense of freedom because I was driving myself. When I got my licence about 5 years ago, I told myself I could go ANYWHERE now, though I never actually did. But it felt so cool to actually cross the border into another country. I could go anywhere. I could drive further, to Switzerland or Spain, or maybe even Russia. Last week, we crossed the border again, this time to see Köln and the Eifel.
We packed our bags, went through a carwash, got some snacks and an awesome playlist, and set out for a roadtrip to Köln (or Cologne, as it is known in the English language). This was a trip to celebrate our five year anniversary. Since it was our ‘wooden anniversary’, going to a forest seemed a good choice. We decided to go to the Eifel, since it’s not that far away and we wanted to go by car instead of a plane, for a change. I wanted to do a citytrip as well, so we decided to start off our vacation in the beautiful city of Köln.
Köln is one of the largest cities in Germany and, according to Wikipedia, the fourth most popular one. Though I haven’t been to the other three yet (Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), I can say that Köln really is a lovely city to be. One day was not enough, but I am planning to go back, since it’s not actually that far away from our home.
The city has a very lively city center, with a lot of shops. It doesn’t feel too crowded. I would describe it as ‘gezellig’, a Dutch word that does not really have an adequate translation, if you ask me, but in the English language, the word that resembles it the most, is ‘cosy’. We walked through the center and saw a lot of churches and older buildings around the city center, which was lovely. They all looked so beautiful.
Köln has a lot of churches, museums, amazing shops (there was a bookstore called the Mayersche Buchhandlung which had four or five floors and it was amazing) and a variety of restaurants and bars. We had walked to the south of the city to see the Severinstorburg, you can see on the picture above this one, and then we found it was time for lunch. We found this cute little restaurant, I believe it was called Pausenbrot where I had a bagel and boyfriend had some quiche.
After our lunchbreak, we walked further through the city. There is so much to see and do in Köln, and there were some amazing museums on my list, but we decided we just wanted to take in the city, since we both hadn’t been here before, and then come back another time to visit some of the museums Köln has to offer.
Though the weather forecast predicted a lot of rain and we were armed with umbrellas, it actually was a rather sunny day!
We decided, since the weather was so nice, to walk from historic highlight to the next, on our way to the Rhine walk along the promenade towards the Skulpturenpark. We saw the Historisches Rathaus, the Great St. Martin hiding behind some very colorful houses and the Alt. St. Alban, which was awesome because it was more of a ruin than a church, it didn’t have a roof anymore and it looked really cool.
When walking along the riverside, we saw someone blowing gigantic bubbles that took all sorts of forms. We could also see some amazing houses and other highlights of Köln when we walked there, such as the Dom (Cologne Cathedral).
The promenade of Köln is a really lovely place to walk. It’s so calm compared to the bustling city center, there are beautiful trees and buildings everywhere and you can just pick a bench to sit on and relax a bit. It’s amazing to see how there are all these different sides of the same city.
By this time, our feet hurt already. We had walked so far! But we didn’t have that much time to rest, because we had to be at our hotel by eight, which was in Schleiden, another hour away from Köln, and we wanted to make another stop before going there.
Instead of visiting one of Kölns many museums, we decided to go to the Skulpturenpark, since it was smaller and we didn’t have that much time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that impressive. There were two or three art pieces that were fun, such as a gigantic egg, a golden ball (though the rabbit that was behind is was far more interesting) and this sort of mirror. If you’re in Köln and you have some time to kill, you could visit it, but next time, I would rather go to one of the museums, or the botanic gardens that are a little farther north than this park.
It was time to go back to the car, but there was one more place we wanted to visit. We walked another route back to view even more of the city and we came across even more amazing buildings, and we could view the entire Dom, instead of only the tips peaking out from over the rooftops.
We parked our car in the city center at Opern Passagen. I googled the parking garages before we went and I found that this is the cheapest one. It’s ten euro’s per day.
Anyway, there was one thing we were craving to do in Köln and that was to go to SunnySu. I found it on Instagram and simply had to go there. It’s an icecream/frozen yoghurt store in the city center and it is absolutely amazing. I saw the most awesome pictures online and it looked absolutely delicious. And it was. Even though I’m not a fan of fro-yo, the black yoghurt and the waffle and the toppings were incredible. This is an absolute MUST if you’re to visit Köln!