Germany
Cologne, Urban District

Here you’ll find travel reports about Cologne, Urban District. Discover travel destinations in Germany of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

199 travelers at this place:

  • Day454

    Cologne

    September 23, 2017 in Germany

    In Germany the month of September means that it is Oktoberfest time. Obviously. This time last year we'd visited the country's original and largest Oktoberfest in Munich with our friend Ade and we thought it would be interesting and fun to visit a different one this year. We'd enjoyed Cologne when we'd visited in the early days of our European tour, so fixed our sights on their festival. Just before midday we pulled into the familiar stellplatz and were relieved to find a selection of vacant spots. Parking up in one with good access to the park for Poppy, we paid our €12 for 24 hours, had a bite to eat and got ready to cycle in. We'd spent time looking at Köln's Oktoberfest website but it wasn't very clear and gave only directions to the site (no address). Will had programmed a few possible locations into his phone and we set off along the lovely tree lined cycle track that followed the River Rhine. Once in the city centre the going got tougher. It wasn't clear to us where we could and couldn't ride and we needed to wend our way along busy roads with many junctions before we got to the first possible site where there was no sign of the celebrations. An hour after setting off we arrived at a large white marquee with sounds of instruments being tuned and a sound system being tested. We'd not seen anyone else as we approached and it clearly wasn't yet open to the public. Checking website once again we saw the entertainment started at 4:30pm and entry was from 3pm onwards. It was 2:10pm so we walked to a nearby park and found a bench to wait it out. This wasn't going well. Munich Oktoberfest had been open all day with several tents, stalls outside selling food and souvenirs and a whole fairground set up around it. At 3pm there was at least a decent gathering of festival goers, buzzing around the entrance in their dirndls and lederhosen while the brass band played upbeat oompah tunes. This was more like it! We watched as people began to get their tickets out and our hopes fell slightly. Tickets had been available via the website but we'd not needed them in Munich and assumed it was the same set up in Cologne. The saying goes that to assume is to... A doorman informed us that the event was full and without tickets we couldn't get in. Well bang goes that plan! We'd have been unable to get tickets because they would need to have been posted and we aren't at a fixed address.

    The 40 minute cycle back into the city centre was stressful. Having to find our way amidst car fumes, cigarette smoke, noise and hoards of people wasn't fun and when we sat down at a table outside a café in the old quarter, Vicky was in a foul mood and Will was irritated. A 0.2L beer each did a little to lift our spirits and we wandered around town in search of food to substitute what we'd planned to have at Oktoberfest. Will found a pork sarnie but there was no lebkuchen hearts anywhere to be seen for Vicky so we returned to the van and she had her fill of Aldi biscuits.

    Later that evening we'd made the decision to try and get a bit more out of Cologne than it had delivered so far. We went to a café bar in the park that Will had seen selling beer earlier in the day. It was just our luck that it was shut on a Saturday night! We persevered and eventually found a bar in the little run of shops close to the stellplatz. It was open and advertised an Oktoberfest special of a Maß of beer for €7. Hooray! The quiet bar was very different to the rumbunctious festivities we'd been looking forward to but we had Oktoberfest bunting above us, a litre of beer each and we were very happy to be able to be there. So happy in fact that we ended the night with a second litre and swayed our way merrily back through the park.
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  • Day39

    Cologne

    August 4, 2016 in Germany

    Heading towards Cologne the area became extremely industrialised. The vineyards, wheat fields and trees were replaced by huge buildings, towering chimneys and metal tubes snaking up and down and occasionally emitting some gas high up above us.

    As we approached the city, the skyline stood out as distinctive, with its bridges accross the Rhein, two cathedral spires and tall skyscrapers. We'd deliberately not arrived at a weekend and were glad of this as the 60 place stopover was packed. Luck was with us though and we found a free spot overlooking the river, its grassy floodplain and a path leading to the town. Vicky wasn't feeling well so it was great for her to be able to sit in the van with her crochet watching the world go by.

    Cologne is supposidly one of the world's great 'pink' cities with 1 in 10 people being openly gay. It was heartwarming to see a same sex couple strolling hand in hand. In so many areas, conditions are such that people don't feel able to express themselves, whether it be their sexuality, gender, fashion sense or even opinion or belief if it is different to that of the perceived populus masses.

    Despite being bombed extensively in the second world war, Cologne still has many historic, mainly religious sights to see. The Cathedral seemed somewhat too large for us to take in close up and there were too many other buildings close by to be able to step back sufficiently. However the intricate stonework was breathtaking together with the beautiful stained glass windows filtering the afternoon sun through in a rainbow of colour.

    We enjoyed a local Kölsch beer sitting at a table outside colourful old buildings in the Altstadt (old town) area overlooking the Rhein. We took a trip to the 4711 House of Cologne to see the tap of eau de cologne flowing for you to dip in to, then indulged in another treat of bramley apple crumble cake and lime strawberry cheesecake with a chocolate icecream drink and coffee.

    The day in Cologne was wrapped up with a walk over the raiway bridge to the viewing tower in Deutz. The steps up the bridge had special bike tracks and its wire mesh barriers were covered with 'love locks' built up by decades of couples proclaiming their love for each other by locking a padlock with their names and often memorable dates to the bridge. The glass sided, 28 storey high panorama tower did as it said, with a platform you could walk round to see 360° views of Cologne, the Rhein, its bridges, Deautz and beyond to the industrial zones on the horizon.
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  • Day16

    Cologne, Germany

    September 18, 2016 in Germany

    We were in Cologne for two nights at the first Airbnb we renteded on the trip. It was a nice change to have a little more space than just a hotel room but as Americans everything is just smaller to us in Europe. We even managed to order in one night with this bicycle service we kept seeing all around town called Foodora. We ordered Thai food for a change off a German menu and it wasn't that bad! Luckily Mitch downloaded this awesome app on his phone that allows you to scan any text like a menu, website, etc that will be translated to English. Its saved us at several places so far!

    Aside from that, Cologne was an interesting city. Its history dates back to the Romans which also can be seen around town with archived ruins that are still preserved. There is also the Cologne Cathedral which took several hundred years to build starting around 1200 that sits in the middle of the city. It is a pretty sight from near and far espeically across the Rhine River at sunset.

    During our walking tour we learned quite a bit about the WWII history, which around 90% of the city was destroyed. Fortunately the cathedral was not destroyed most likely because it was used as a navigation point for the bombers. Still today they find bombs in the ground around the city when they start new construction and have to take precaution to have them removed carefully.
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  • Day9

    Liége - Köln

    August 25 in Germany

    Letzter Tag unserer Tour de France lite, heute bereits komplett außerhalb Frankreichs. Dafür durch gleich 3 Länder, Belgien 🇧🇪, Niederlande 🇳🇱 und natürlich Deutschland 🇩🇪.
    Aber fangen wir vorne an: Nach einer Nacht in der Jugendherberge - Bernd und ich haben die oberen Etagen im Doppelstockbett belegt - wurden wir mit einem wirklich guten Frühstück überrascht. Das war in 🇫🇷 nicht unbedingt der Fall. Die Nacht hatte es stark geregnet und dem entsprechend war es stark abgekühlt. Also heute wärmer anziehen.
    Glücklicherweise blies uns der kühle Wind 💨 nicht ins Gesicht sondern über die Felder zwischen Aachen und Köln zügig Richtung Heimat. Ab und zu gab‘s ein paar 💦 von oben, aber richtig unangenehm nass würde es erst in Köln. Die Fahrt von Decathlon zum Dom war sicher für Bernd ein Highlight, der die ganze Gruppe sicher durch Köln geleitet hat, aber gut organisiert war die Sache nicht. Sei’s drum. Alle sind unverletzt, wenn auch ordentlich nass und durchgefroren am Dom angekommen und konnten sich zum Abschlussfoto vor der tollen Kulisse aufstellen. Insbesondere für die Teilnehmer, die nicht aus der Gegend sind, sicher der krönende Abschluss einer tollen Woche.
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  • Day7

    Cologne (DE)

    July 14, 2017 in Germany

    Not all green pastures, and tranquil meadows. This northern section of the Rhine is also known as the Industrial Ruins. Slow going and without a GPS it would be even worse.

    Rode through Duisburg (couldn't help myself and stopped at a Starbucks for a cappuccino) also Europe's largest inland port, then to Dusseldorf (the Tour de France started here 2 weeks ago), then to Cologne (one of the oldest cities in Germany.

    The biggest landmark in Cologne is the gothic style Cologne Cathedral completed in 1880 and took 632 years to build !
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  • Day29

    Cruising through Cologne area

    April 23, 2017 in Germany

    Today we cruised along the Rhine towards Bonn, Germany. Originally we were scheduled to dock in Cologne but there was a protest scheduled by some extreme right wing parties so we skipped along to Bonn instead. The countryside was dotted with small villages with pretty houses and churches. It really is a nice way to travel. Mostly you get to see the good sides of villages and towns as everyone builds houses and buildings to have a view of the river. We did also see some pretty large factories and powerstations that also get built along riverbanks.Read more

  • Day291

    Day 292: Westwards to Cologne

    December 3, 2017 in Germany

    Another long day of travelling today. Kassel isn't an easy place to get into or out of! Thankfully it was actually a bit easier as we just ditched Schnitzel's carry bag and let him walk on his leash - sometimes he's just happier doing that.

    Snow had fallen overnight and was still lightly falling in the morning, so there was quite a white carpet outside when we woke up! Headed to the station where most of the trains were running late, except for ours which started from here so was thankfully on time.

    We were on this train for about 90 minutes before changing in the city of Essen to another train for another 2 hours. Both trains quite full again; seems like lots of people use the local trains for their regular Sunday days out! Arrived in Cologne around 3pm, where the famous and immense Cathedral is right there adjacent to the station. It's a World Heritage site, but we'll come back and visit it another day - we're here for almost the whole week.

    About 15 minutes walk to our apartment just south of the old town, hosted by a young woman. She's very nice, though a bit overly chatty - we both kind of feel a little like you get stuck talking for longer than you want when a conversation starts. Spent some time settling in, then wandered back into the old town for dinner.

    There was one restaurant we were keen to try but they were completely full, so we headed for another one nearby. Had an enormous pork knuckle for dinner which I couldn't finish, with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes on the side of course. Wandered through the Christmas markets before heading home - it's nice but very crowded. Lots of tourists around here as well, Brits and Dutch mostly from what I could hear!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kreisfreie Stadt Köln, Kreisfreie Stadt Koln, Cologne, Urban District, ville autonome

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