I confess. When it starts to itch, only scratching solves my wanderlust. Scratching in this case is booking a bus ticket or flight to somewhere else. If only it’s not home. Preferably another country. This time not so far from home and only for three days, which where my conditions. – I still don’t have that much money yet…unemployed and all that – But when D. told me she wanted to do a little city trip with me, how could I possibly refuse? Scrolling through the megabus website, our eyes fell on Cologne. Cheap bus tickets, only 3 and a half hours traveling – if your bus driver decides to leave on time of course – and in Germany. First city trip of 2016? Check!
Citytripping is slightly different from long term travel. First of all, you can’t just leave and see whatever happens on the way. Technically speaking you can, but you’ll spend half the time figuring out what you can do, where to sleep and how to get from A to B. Before you know it, you lost half your trip deciding what to do. Nevertheless, the only thing we did in advance was book a hostel and buy a guide. – I’m lying. Got the guide as a Christmas present – Luckily, I remembered: I know people in Cologne! One of my favorite parts of traveling is meeting people, and afterwards meeting up with former travelbuddies, which is exactly what I did. Our first night was spend with C. & B., raking up memories of our time on the San Blas islands in Panama, drinking Abuelo rum and exploring the nightlife in Cologne. – exploring for us, showing us the best places for C. & B. –
Since our hostel was located at the central station and therefore extremely close to the Dom, the majestic church was the first thing we visited when we arrived. Loaded with my camera I was ready to shoot some stunning leaded-glass windows and intricate arches. Until I noticed that the battery was dead. – facepalm – So, one more tip before going on a small trip: check the battery of your camera. More important, bring your charger and don’t think your battery will survive three days. Hurray, I have an iphone and it can take pictures as well. Anyway, the Dom is beautiful. I’ve seen plenty of churches, cathedrals and other religious buildings, but this one has the most beautiful leaded-glass windows and mosaics I’ve ever seen. We didn’t go up, since there’s another solution: the Triangle tower on the other side of the river which shows you a 360° panorama of Cologne, Dom included. Picture perfect photos guaranteed.
I have to confess. Again. Second confess in this blogpost. Cologne isn’t the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen, but it has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. Maybe because it isn’t dotted with the most picturesque buildings you always see in drawings of German fairytales. To be honest, a lot of ugliness is to be found in the streets. Which makes it, in it’s turn, interesting. Grey buildings alternated with some flashy shop signs. Street art brightens up public space. Cologne also has a couple of parks and locations around the Rhine which should be great places to relax and hang out in summer. The Belgisches Viertel is dotted with interesting and independent shops, restaurants and bars. – Of course, named after an awesome country – It feels alive, not only a city for tourists like many others, but a city where people live, work, study and die. – Not that I noticed the last one, but it’s a part of life – Some parts even made me think about Berlin, one of my favorite cities in Europe and also situated in Germany. And it has tons of museums. – My inside museum freak started chuckling when I noticed – I guess you won’t be surprised if I tell you our weekend consisted mainly of visiting museums, eating good food, drinking hot chocolate and going shopping in the Belgian part. Definitely leaving me curious about the city in summertime, when the weather is warm, the sun shines and people go outside. A trip to be continued.