Grab Your Ticket and Your Suitcase [Cologne]

The week before Easter is by Christians referred to as the “Holy Week” containing the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. For me, as a teacher, the week before Easter means Easter Holiday. This year I spent a few days of my holiday in Cologne visiting a dear friend.

Since this was my first visit I had a bucket list of things I wanted to see. Normally I’m not that very “touristic”, but as a German teacher I just couldn’t pass on visiting the biggest sights of the forth largest city in Germany.

img_6351Cologne is dominated by the river Rhine that runs through it. It has no less than seven (!) bridges and one of them was on my list. I wanted to see the Hohenzollernbrücke because of its many love padlocks that people since have placed on the fence between the footpath and the railway lines since 2008 and it was fascinating and more padlocks than I ever could imagine.

img_6397One of Cologne’s most famous landmarks is the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom). It’s a very impressive (but ugly) building which on the day of my visit was very busy with tourists. What I liked most about the cathedral were its spectacular stained glass windows. I also like the way the towers of the cathedral contribute to the Cologne skyline.

img_6342Yet another building I wanted to see was the Cologne Central Mosque (Kölner Zentralmoschee). The mosque serves Cologne’s large community of Turkish Muslims. The exterior is imposing but the interior even more so.

The best thing about visiting a local (besides that the accommodation is cheap) is that you get to see what a normal tourist won’t. That means visiting excellent breakfast parlours, cute cafés and bars. The area where I was staying in had numerous bars and ethnic restaurants and lots of street art, which I appreciated much.

Cologne is known for their Kölsch beer.  A straw-coloured beer with a great freshness, served in small .21L glasses called stange. Once you’ve ordered your first there’s no need to hail the bartender any more. Beer will continue coming until you place your coaster over your glass.

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Amongst the 86 (!) different brand I only tasted a few; for example Gaffel, Sion, Reissdorf and Hellers. Though I normally prefer ale I must admit Kölsch is a perfect beer for exceptionally warm April evenings, which I experienced during my trip.

img_6412I also had to try out some German traditional food and the dish I tried was Schweinshaxe (Crispy Pork Knuckle) served with Sauerkraut and I liked it a lot. Another speciality is Reibekuchen mit Apfelmus, which we bought from a stall in the fun fair Deutzer Kirmes. Reibekuchen is a kind of street food made out of potato fritters served with apple sauce.

Anyway, to wrap this up; while good Christians spent their Easter weekend commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, I spent my weekend in Cologne sightseeing, drinking beer and eating good food in the nicest of company and I can’t wait to see more of this city.

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