Germany Part 1: Cologne

A short post here as my time in Cologne was brief and it’s one of only a couple of cities in Germany I’ll be seeing over the next couple of months.

Selfie in front of the Dom

I arrived to Cologne via bus from Brussels, and managed to get myself to my hostel after a 25 minute walk across the city. Because I’ll only be in Cologne for such a short period of time, I decided to go to bed immediately in order to get up early on Wednesday to see more of the city.

On Wednesday morning I planned to do a free walking tour, an easy way to see the city, learn from a local (usually), and get some free information and exercise along the way. Typically “free” walking tours aren’t actually free, as the guide tends to live off of tips ranging from $2-$15, but it’s still a discreet and “up to your discretion” donation to them which I prefer to the flat rated, expensive tour I could also have done. The walking tour of Cologne was very informative, touching on the history of the city, importance of different regions within the city, and the destruction of much of Cologne during WWII (like the vast majority of cities in Germany). One such structure which survived the war was the Dom, the main cathedral within Cologne that stands out among the rest of the skyline. It’s a beautiful, black, gothic cathedral with ornate architecture and detail like I’ve not seen before. The cathedral itself is actually white, however due to bombing debris, aging, and dirt, it is now a very thick color of black.

Following the walking tour, I continued to roam the city, crossing the River Rhine to get a nice panoramic view of the city from atop the Cologne Triangle. This view gave a great 360 degree view of all of Cologne and gave a nice perspective to how extensive the city actually is. Often it’s hard to appreciate the size of cities until you see them from above.

View of Cologne from the Cologne Triangle

The following day I spent roaming the city even more, and I climbed to the top of the Dom in order to get a better perspective from the inside of the building. A 500+ step climb to the top gives another great view of the city, this time from within it’s most iconic building. I walked the city further, and wandered out of the main city center a bit to see what else Cologne had to offer before heading to the train station to catch my ride toward Holland.

I’ll be spending the next few days visiting my friend and seeing Amsterdam (again) for a couple of days before heading further east to Poland to meet up with friends from Northwestern. Over three weeks I’ve already clocked in eight countries (six new) and will continue to add to my list over the next couple of weeks.