Köln (Cologne) is my second favourite city in Germany (after Munich). The only problem is the two times I have visited there I have been rained on.
I first visited Cologne on a sneaky afternoon visit when I was attending a conference in Koblenz two years ago. This visit didn’t have much more planning as I was just staying the night while travelling between cities where my friends live.
I arrived in Cologne in the early evening after starting the day in Osnabrück and visiting Wuppertal along the way. After getting lost trying to find my hotel (I really am an expert in getting lost – I was literally standing on the wrong corner of the building and then walked straight past the main entrance), I checked in and then went to attend to my first goal for Cologne: buying my mother some 4711 Eau de Cologne on the Glockengasse.
I then decided to sort out dinner. Eating alone when travelling is not the best experience. I prefer to find some easy fast food, but given the rain lots of places had closed early. After walking around most of the tourist area of the city I settled for a bakery near my hotel.
The following morning I took a quick trip down to Bonn (as detailed in my previous post) and arrived back in Cologne around midday. As the train that my friend who I was meeting up with was running late I took the opportunity to wander off into the Altstadt-Nord to find the Basilica church of St. Ursula. This church was mentioned in my guidebook as it has an interesting backstory. Built on a medieval graveyard it contains a “Golden Chamber” room which has walls covered in human bone. It is one of the strangest places I’ve ever visited and I bought a small book about the history of the church to learn more.
Once my friend arrived we grabbed some lunch and then took another quick walk around the city. This walk took us into a few more churches (it’s kinda what you do in Cologne) including the mighty Cathedral whose size is still difficult to describe (or show accurately in photographs).
Naturally as I was in the city it then began to rain so we visited the Roman-Germanic Museum next door to the Cathedral. My friend was more excited about the museum than I was – it was filled with remains mostly taken from gravesites (which I suppose make sense as they are things least likely to be destroyed over time).
The weather became a little clearer in the late afternoon so we walked some more through the old city and along the Rhine before heading to the Hauptbahnhof to catch the train to the final city I was visiting in Germany. Along the way we stopped to watch some fantastic street performers place some Vivaldi (a short video is embedded below).