My friends and I took a very adhoc trip to Germany to attend our friend’s 30th birthday. While we were there we decided to head to Cologne to do a bit of touristy sightseeing. We arrived in the afternoon after the party – there were a few hangovers amongst us! We used Air B&B for accommodation and found an absolute gem of a house in a neighbourhood not too far from the centre. For those unaware of Air B&B, it’s a website where property owners can list their house or apartment to rent short term; anywhere from 1 night to 2 weeks. Basically local residents can let out their home for you to use when they aren’t staying there. I’ve used it once in Manchester and again for when we were in Cologne. I’ve always found a great property at a great price so definitely recommend it!
As we were all a little tired and weary, we stayed in the local neighbourhood on the first evening and found a great bar with a fantastic outdoor area, serving tasty food and great beers!
After a good nights sleep we headed into the city centre by catching the metro. I’d done a little research on the city before we arrived and read that the Cathedral is one of the biggest attractions, so we headed straight there!
Being one of the tallest buildings in Cologne, the Cathedral is not hard to find. Located in the old town near to the river, the Cathedral is one of the few historical buildings left in the city; much of it was flattened as a result of the war. We had some fun posing outside of the cathedral with all the other tourists, then headed into the Cathedral for more touristy sight-seeing. The main reason we headed to the Cathedral is because you can climb right to the top of it and gain one of the best views of the entire city. This makes it one of Germany’s most visited landmarks. We climbed the 350 (I think) steps to the top of the 515ft tower to gain a fantastic view. Unfortunately I’ve managed to loose the photos I took from the top of the tower – but it was worth the many steps and achy hamstrings the next day!
After the cathedral we took a stroll through the old town towards the river and enjoyed the first of many German beers of the day! While down there we came across a hire bike stand and decided it was probably one of the best ways to discover the city. Everyone soon jumped on their bike, however I struggled somewhat – short girl problems. I think Matt started to doubt I even knew how to ride a bike I was that much of a mess! We went back to the stand and found a smaller bike that I could actually reach the floor on and headed off.
We cycled along the riverside and came across a park where we enjoyed some lunch outside before the rain arrived. We then cycled back to the bike hire stand as quick as our legs could take us! Our six soggy bodies ventured back into town to find a bar to enjoy the football (yes, that’s how belated this blog post is – the World Cup was still on!) In the hours leading up to the match, the city of Cologne really came to life. More and more people started to pour into the streets wearing football shirts, covered in facepaint, carrying flags and beer. We found a bar, donned some garlands and covered ourselves in facepaint – when in Rome etc.
Thankfully Germany won and the atmosphere of the city really shone. You would of thought that they’d won the World Cup not just their first game! People were in the street, on the roads, climbing on monuments, chanting, cheering and dancing. My friends were quick to join in and be honorary Germans for the night. While dancing away we made a few friends who were happy to show us the sights and sounds of the city during the evening. We followed alongside them towards the student area of the city where we trawled the many bars. After too many Germans beers, way too many shots and lots of dancing Matt and I headed back to our accommodation. However we soon realised we made a huge error of not coming out without our address written down, so we had no idea where we were or where in the city our accommodation was. This resulted in us wandering around in circles for an hour before finding a metro station where we managed to remember which stop we had used in the morning. Luckily I was with my boyfriend, however it’s not the best situation to be in after lots of alcohol, so learn from my mistake and when travelling – always write down where you are staying!
Thankfully the rest of my friends had remembered the name of the bar we had been in the night before so jumped in a taxi which took them across town to the neighbourhood, then found their way back from there!
After a couple of hours sleep we awoke first thing in the morning to tidy the house and make our way back to the airport. Although our visit to Germany was brief, we had a fantastic time, made memories that will last a lifetime and had a great time catching up with each other. Now to plan our next adventure!