First thing first in Köln (Cologne), you must visit the Kölner Dom Cathedral. Take the Bahn to the Hauptbahnhof and when you exit the station, it will not knock the breath right out of you.
The Dom is a fine example of Gothic Architecture, and functions as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and Archbishop here. In 1996 it became a World Heritage site, and is still the most visited site by tourists in Germany. Construction of the Dom began in the 1200s and was interrupted then resumed multiple times before completion in the late 1800s. Ironically, it has remained perpetually under construction to some degree ever since, as you can see in the photos.
I spent last weekend in Köln visiting my friend Silva. Despite the rain and snow, I really enjoyed exploring the city for the first time.
After touring the Dom, walk toward the Hohenzollern Brücke. The inner wall is lined with love locks and etchings, and you will pass the Philharmonie and many great monuments. Crossing the Rhein river is a beautiful view even on a cold, overcast, and foggy day. For some moments here, I imagined myself on the set of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
At the opposite end of the Hohenzollern, you will find the Köln Triangle Panorama for an even better view of the city.
Silva took me to a German crêperie called LizBät for dinner. While we sipped Campari aperitifs, I watched intently as the chef poured batter onto huge spinning hot plates, smoothing as they turned. She added hausgemacht tomato sauce and cheese, which would have been satisfying alone, but I chose Crêpe Jürgen that comes also with shredded beef and mushrooms. Unlike French crêpes, German crêpes are more of a hearty casserole inside a toasted shell.
I tried my first locally-brewed Reissdorf Kölsch, which is served in tiny short glasses instead of the heavy steins and tall glasses I’m used to in Bavaria. I suppose it inspires one to practice more self control, but in my mind I was knocking them back like Ursula did with those little shrimp in The Little Mermaid.
After dinner we went walking again and found the Klub Berlin, a 1920s/30s-era cocktail bar that was calling my name.
The following morning we woke up to a bit of surprise snow and rain that carried on for most of my visit.
I picked up coffee and breakfast at a place down the street and went for a walk around the neighborhood. Ehrenfeld has become the coolest neighborhood in the city, packed with bakeries and cafes, galleries, boutique and antique shops, and newly renovated residential units.
Most of these businesses boast green-power, environmentally sound practices, and ethically sourced goods.
There is a lot of interesting art on every corner.
Unfortunately for us, it started raining hard and I was not able to get many usable photos for the rest of the afternoon. That being the case, we hopped on a city tour bus and rode around safe from the elements.
We had skipped lunch and I was in the mood for a heavy dinner. I ordered roasted chicken with a poached pear, hollandaise, salad, and potato croquets. Silva ordered traditional Wienerschnitzel and pomme frites.
It started raining once again, so we had a cozy night indoors.
The next morning, breakfast at Zeit für Brot Bäckerei before we said goodbyes.