The night before we left for Cologne, our flights over were cancelled at the last minute. Funny thing is, before that, I’d never even considered any other way of getting to Germany, let alone Cologne.
This all changed of course and before long, we rebooked to take the train to Cologne from London with a stop in Brussels. FYI, the train is so totally worth it. The journey time is nowhere as long as I’d imagined – it’s over 2 hours to Brussels and another 2 hours plus to Cologne.
The best part in my opinion is being able to stop for Belgian waffles in Brussels (my favourite)! But I digress…
As we ended up leaving London late, we arrived in Cologne late in the evening and decided to head straight to the hotel, get some food at a restaurant nearby and relax for the rest of the evening, fully intent on waking up early to explore the city!
The next morning after breakfast, without much of a plan, we hopped aboard the tram right outside the hotel and went off in search of the sights – ideally starting with the most famous of them all, Cologne cathedral.
We actually ended up starting off at the fairground (not even sure why now – I think we just took the tram the furthest we could). As it was still fairly early in the day, the fairground was understandably quiet… a fairground isn’t quite the same during the daytime anyway so after devouring our weight in toffee apples (Lloyd’s so obsessed with them), it was decided that we would have to return here later that evening once everything was in full swing.
We crossed the bridge and coincidentally found ourselves next to the famous Crane Houses in the shiny Rheinauhafen area of Cologne. I’d been planning on seeing them anyway but mostly because I knew there was a chocolate museum around. Lloyd’s more of the chocolate-fiend than I am but rumour had it that you got to try out quite a few of the Lindt chocolates here and that pretty much had me sold even before we left for Cologne.
Turns out the rumours were true and there’s even a corridor upstairs where a guy hands out little chocolates to you. Of course, this is all in addition to being able to see how everything is done and get your hands on the chocolate almost as soon as they’re ready!
All that chocolate had me hungry and so after a wander through the historic part of the old city centre – Altstadt complete with beautiful colourful houses and quaint side streets, we made our way to the city centre for lunch…
…except Cologne is full of distractions and even that relatively straight-forward walk ended up with us in Great St. Martin Church. As it turns out, Cologne is famed for having 12 Romanesque churches which are sights to behold in and of themselves so I set myself a challenge to try to find all 12 of them!
1 down, 11 to go. 😀
(Spoiler Alert: We never managed to make it to all 12 of them – looks like we need to return to see them all).
For now though, our search for lunch continues and we found a place that we can’t recommend enough when you visit – but more on that in the next post!