For our first night in Cologne we didn’t have much time to do anything so we just found a local brewery for dinner, Früh, and they had great German food. Don’t be shocked by the size of the beer you get, only .2 liters. They say they always want it to be fresh and cold so they don’t serve large beers like in Bavaria. Because they are so small they assume you’ll drink a few glasses so they will continue to bring them to your table without asking. If you don’t want any more beer place your coaster on top of your glass to let them know you’re done. Finding a brewery isn’t hard to do, they are all over the place and always selling Colognes popular beer, kölsch. To be brutally honest, if you like Bud Light then you’d like the Kölsch. I of course would never say that out loud while in Cologne because they’re very proud of their beer but I thought it was nasty (and I love beer, mostly dark Bavarian beer).
After dinner we walked across the Hohenzollern Bridge where 1200 trains pass per day. On the other side is a great view of the bridge and the famous Kölner Dom (Cologne cathedral). Also on this side of the bridge is a very tall, all glass building, the Cologne Triangle. You can go to the top for a great aerial view of the city and Rhine River. You do have to pay to get to the top, we did not do this but it costs 3€ per person.
For our first full day in Cologne, we did a lot of walking around in the shopping district. The shopping streets are some of the top shopping areas in Germany! If you can’t find what you need here then it doesn’t exist. One of the best parts for us, since we’re junk food addicts, was the bakeries on every street corner where you could buy two Berliners (jelly doughnuts) for just 1€! Later in the afternoon we went to the Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum, 9€ per person). This is pretty much self explanatory, it talks about the cocoa bean, the process of harvesting them, the factory line of making chocolate and of course the history of chocolate and how it’s progressed over the years.
After the Chocolate Museum we went back to our room for a bit then got ready to go check out Germany’s oldest Jazz club. Papa Joe's Jazzlokalis a very small club so be prepared to stand or squeeze in next to someone you don’t know. There are 2 different locations, one is the original jazz club and they have live music daily. The other location also has live music but it’s also a restaurant. If you’re into jazz music I definitely recommend you check out this place!
For our second full day in Cologne (Sunday) we knew nothing would be open except Museums and the cathedral. For breakfast we found the top rated café, Café Rico, and I would absolutely 100% recommend this place to anyone! Their food was amazing, service was great and it was worth every penny! They had some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had!
|Papa Joe's Jazzlokal|
Once we stuffed ourselves with breakfast we walked to the cathedral to view the beautiful inside! They do hold Mass often so be sure to check out the times so you don’t awkwardly walk in unless you want to watch it. Be sure to walk to the back of the church where they have the Shrine of the Magi, where the bones of the Three Holy Kings are held. The cathedral also has two bell towers, one of which you can walk to the top. It is a total of 533 steps up a spiral staircase, so it’s not for the faint at heart. You have to go outside the church to the right and walk underground to get to the bell tower steps. It costs 4€ per person to walk up.
After completing our time at the church we went to the National Socialism Documentation Center which is a museum in an old Gestapo prison. This museum has everything in German, it cost us 4.50€ per person and then 2€ to rent the audio. We apparently missed an entire floor of the museum so be sure you go to the basement! It was a well put together museum but it would have been more enjoyable if we could read German. There were so many letters, news paper articles, signs etc. on display but we couldn’t read any of them.
For our last night in Cologne we had dinner at Culux – Delux Curry Wurst. If you like curry wurst this is the place to go!! They have 13 different types of sausages to choose from and 14 different types of sauces to pick! It’s basically curry wurst heaven!
We had a great visit to Cologne and got lucky with having great weather (except is being cold). I had a lot to write about but we really didn’t do much. Since we’re not city people we felt a little bored at times but if you like cities and definitely museums then there is plenty to do here! We live 4.5 hours from Cologne so we won’t be going back but if you live close enough it’s a great place to go shopping!