En route from Christmas in Weisbaden to Budapest, I was lucky enough to have a 7 hour lay-over in Cologne, Germany. Now, of course this isn’t enough time to really get to know the city! However, with my trusty local tour guide, I was really able to see quite a hefty amount in less than a day. My tour guide’s name was Till, and because we have mutual friends, his lovely German-self decided to take me under his wing and show me the best of his dearly beloved Cologne.
Now, since we all aren’t lucky enough to have Till, I’m bringing his local knowledge to YOU! No, no, don’t thank me…thank HIM! So, here goes:
5 Things You Can’t Miss During a Pit Stop in Cologne, Germany
Brewed in Cologne, this beer might look like your average German pale lager. But here’s the catch: You order one, and the bartender automatically refills your glass until you cover the top with a coaster. What ends up happening? You forget to top your glass when finished, and next thing you know…your once-empty glass is replaced with a brand-spankin’ new beer staring you in the face! And, my friends, warning: It’s a vicious cycle. But then again, when in Cologne…PROST!
Not that you need me to tell you to do this one. You literally can’t find a point in the entire city where you can’t see the top of the cathedral. You physically cannot miss it, and if you do…well, stop looking at the ground! I’m not huge into cathedrals, but this one is just downright breathtaking. But then again, this UNESCO sight better be…it only took 600 years to build! FUN FACT: The entire city of Cologne was destroyed in WW2, except for the cathedral. WHY? ‘Cause it was too darn high!
Ahhhh, love is in the air…literally! If you’re traveling to Cologne with that special someone, make sure you bring a lock and a marker. Why? ‘Cause it’s tradition to write you and your honey’s name on a lock, attach it to the bridge, and throw away the key in the deep depths of the Rhein river. And if you’re flying solo like little ol’ me… still go. It’s really, quite beautiful. The once ordinary bridge has been transformed into a rainbow spectacle, covered with looove from couples all over the world. As for me? AWC + Guacamanly 4 ever. Watch out, Bonnie & Clyde.
I had one meal to spare in Cologne. I asked my trusty tour guide Till, “With only one meal here, what’s the most local thing I could possibly eat?” And he said, “Well, Dilla. It’s a university city, and we are in the country that created the kebab. So, I’m going to take you to the city’s best kebab joint.” My response? “Damn straight you are.”
Now kids, this is NOT your typical drunken-fast food kebab. This is a high quality, homemade kebab, with freshly baked artisan pita, fresher-than fresh salad ingredients, and slow roasted top notch meat. So, we hopped on a trolley to hunt this ke-baby down, and went outside the tourist center to the university neighbourhood. Now, if you guys remember from my Berlin post, you know how much I adore a good German kebab. I’m tellin’ ya, you just can’t find quality kebabs in other countries like you can in Germany (Disclaimer: I haven’t been to Turkey yet!). However, the Turkish actually created the kebab in Germany! Did you know that? Regardless, you will be stuffed and beyond satisfied with this 3€ kebab. With plenty of money left over for some more Kölsch 😉
FIND IT: Zülpicher Döner, Zülpicher Str. 3
Check in advance to see what time sunset is! When it’s go time, head to the bridge and admire the sun as it reflects on the Rhein and turns the city into a silhouette. Even if your time in Cologne is limited like mine, this image is sure to last you a lifetime…
Well Cologne, it’s been short but sweet! I might’ve only tasted a slice of Cologne life, but I’ll sure be coming back for the whole pie. Until next time Cologne, PROST! And now…to Budapest, Hungary WE GO!
Have you spent more time in Cologne? What other sights and yummy spots can you recommend?
Just a pit stop not enough? Here’s a website on everything you need to know about Germany, including how to move there!