Day 1. Cologne city break

I realise that travel is the last thing on our minds right now but we all need something positive to look forward to and escapism from the doom and gloom that surround us all. I’m continuing to blog as usual and hope you will continue to enjoy my posts. Stay safe everyone and do please keep in touch and let me know how you are coping. Now is the time that we all need each other more than ever and if we can’t go out and socialise then hopefully we can cheer each other up through our blog posts and comments. Marion xx

After recently enjoying a winter break in Düsseldorf, we decided to turn our attention to neighbouring Cologne, another German city that we had yet to visit. Looking into airline schedules from Manchester we discovered that we could fly out at lunchtime on a Friday returning just before midnight on the Sunday allowing us plenty of time to explore the city.

Terminal 3 Manchester Airport
Terminal 3, Manchester Airport

Our flight with Ryanair took around an hour and twenty minutes and it seemed no time at all that we were leaving the arrivals hall of Cologne-Bonn airport and following signs towards its railway station.

Following signs in Cologne-Bonn Airport towards its railway station
Following signs in Cologne-Bonn Airport towards its railway station

The airport is located in the district of Porz, nine miles (15km) south east of Cologne. We obtained rail tickets from a machine, single adult fare into the city centre is €3 (£2.73). Tickets are valid for 90 minutes after purchase and can be used on a connecting public transport service during that time period. We just had to wait a short time on the platform for a service to Cologne’s central station (Hauptbahnhof) with the journey taking approximately 20 minutes.

Cologne Central Railway Station
Cologne Central Railway Station

This grand station is the fifth busiest in Germany and lies in the heart of the city, adjacent to the magnificent Cathedral and only a short walk from the banks of the Rhine. Cologne station (Köln Hbf) first opened in 1859 but was rebuilt after the Second World War with the current station dating from 1957. There are no barriers at the station so passengers just need to ensure they have a valid ticket.

The view leaving Cologne's railway station
The view leaving Cologne’s railway station

On leaving the station we called into the Tourist Information office located just across the square from where we picked up some maps, leaflets and obtained our Köln Cards. These useful cards can be purchased for periods of either 24 or 48 hours and entitle holders to free public transport and up to a 50% discount to many of the city’s cultural attractions. The cards are valid from the time of their first use and cost €18 (£16.42) each.

The Pullman Hotel, Cologne
The Pullman Hotel, Cologne

Our accommodation was only a ten minute walk from there, so rather than taking public transport, we opted to walk which was very easy. We had reserved a room at The Pullman Hotel and entered through its bright, airy lobby. With formalities taken care of in almost no time at all, we were taking the lift to our stylish room on the seventh floor which had splendid views looking across to the cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral

After quickly settling in and making ourselves refreshing cups of tea we headed back out towards the centre whilst it was still light. Our first stop was at the cathedral where entrance is free.  Unfortunately we had timed our visit just before a service was due to begin so we changed our plans and decided to return the following day.

The Hohenzollern bridge across the Rhine in Cologne
The Hohenzollern bridge across the Rhine in Cologne

Instead, we went down some steps by the side of the Hohenzollern rail and pedestrian bridge and followed a path along the west bank of the Rhine which was lined with attractive bars and restaurants housed in pretty pastel coloured buildings.

Colourful buildings line the riverside in Cologne
Colourful buildings line the riverside in Cologne

Pleasure boats were moored along the quay and although it would have been rather nice to have taken a river boat trip as we did in Frankfurt, the services in Cologne do not start operating until Easter. The river was quite high and fast flowing and we paused awhile to watch some heavily laden barges make their way beneath the bridge.

Pleasure boats along the quay in Cologne
Pleasure boats along the quay in Cologne

 

Although it was very pleasant strolling along the Rhine promenade, dusk was falling and so we turned inland to wander through some of the narrow cobblestone streets of Cologne’s old town. My attention was drawn to a party taking place on the terrace of one of the restaurants with all the attendees wearing traditional Lederhosen, hats with feathers, braces and long white socks. These Bavarian short or knee length leather breeches are frequently worn at beer festivals such as Oktoberfest when women are often to be seen wearing Dirndl costumes.

Lederhosen party in Cologne Lederhosen party in Cologne

Our walk led us back to the riverside and as we were starting to feel quite hungry we popped into one of the restaurants for a tasty meal and a couple of beers. On our recent visit to Düsseldorf we had enjoyed sampling their Altbier and it was no surprise that whilst in Cologne we ordered glasses of Kölsch.

Kolsch, the local beer of Cologne
Kolsch, the local beer of Cologne

 

This top fermented beer is pale in colour, light and refreshing and very easily drinkable. It’s served in tall, thin glasses holding 20cl at around €2 (£1.80) a glass. As it was our first evening back in Germany we couldn’t resist ordering schnitzels which were served topped with a creamy, mushroom sauce. It was just what we needed as it seemed such a long time since we had bought sandwiches for lunch in Manchester airport.

Schnitzels n Cologne Schnitzels n Cologne

After finishing our meal we slowly wandered back to our hotel room which was warm and cosy and the views of the cathedral from our windows even more beautiful illuminated at night.

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Stuttgart – a short break

A short break in Hamburg

84 thoughts on “Day 1. Cologne city break

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  6. jasonlikestotravel

    A wonderful start to this series. As you know, I’ve visited Cologne countless times now so particularly enjoying seeing what you got up to!
    Hope you’re keeping well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a great trip Jason, especially as w can look back on it as being the last one before travel restrictions were put in place. How our lives have all changed in the last two weeks but hopefully it won’t be for too much longer. It’s gone really cold here now so we can’t even take our office outdoors any more!

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              1. jasonlikestotravel

                Yeah, unfortunately many things haven’t gone quite to plan on this trip. I guess travel always has an air of unpredictability about it though. Utah will wait until another time 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. jasonlikestotravel

                    I was due to fly with Virgin but they have no direct flights at all for the entirety of April so I guess they’ve cancelled them. I didn’t particularly fancy being in transit somewhere so just paid out on a new direct flight with BA. Not ideal but I’d sooner get straight home.

                    As for Virgin, on the basis they’ve cancelled all direct flights in April, Virgin will probably end up cancelling my flight on May 1st anyway so I’m hoping I can get a refund at a later date. If not I’ll have credit for a future flight I suppose.

                    I’ve also got the option of moving my flight at no cost so at worst I’ll change it to later in the year and use it then. I’ll obviously be coming back at some point.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. That should work out all right then. We’ve got some more flights booked in the next couple of months too so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. Hope this all sorts itself out soon. There doesn’t seem to be anything left to do except eat! Will you need to go food shopping when you get back or do you live with family?

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  7. Pingback: The Pullman Hotel, Cologne – Love Travelling

  8. Hello Marion.

    Thank you presenting Cologne. We have not been there although we have made three road trips in Germany. There are so much to see. I love all your photos and among them most of all the Cathedral, which is world-famous.

    Stay safe and healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We (or anyone else, really) haven’t been doing much travelling lately because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s still nice to reminisce about former travels or live vicariously through other people’s travels. Thanks for the escape and for some ideas for when we can travel again. Stay safe and healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for getting in touch, it’s lovely to hear from you. My trip to Cologne took place just before the shut down and we got back safely. As I travel a lot, I’ve still got many unpublished posts in my drafts folder that I hope will keep us going and provide some light relief in the weeks to come. Take care and best wishes, Marion.

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  10. I didn’t have a schnitzel during my recent trip to Berlin, though after seeing your picture of it here, I wish I had. Looks yummy! I also liked the picture of the colorful houses. Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m amazed they still let you travel to Europe with all the lockdowns going on around the world. I enjoy the European cities and country side. Unusual to see all those people standing in close proximity there in today’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. hi ! It is good to continue to post on our blog. I do the same. On my blog FUNandLIFE.2, I just post about the time we were in Roncesvalles, Spain. At the end of our pilgrimage ( June 2019) on the Camino de Santiago. Here in Canada ( Vancouver) we ( my family) are fine. It is a time to help each other, stay in touch and not panic. Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been to Cologne but can’t really remember anything about it. Must revisit my old photos… I wonder what will happen to travel after all this. I hope you are doing well, stay safe and take care xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe it’s only a week since we were there and the dramatic speed of change since then. I’m optimistic things will pick up again albeit slowly. We are all fine here and as it’s been so sunny today we moved our home office working area to the patio and enjoyed some fresh air, sitting out in our coats! You all take care and stay safe too I’m dreaming off the day I’ll be able to return to lovely Finland xx

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      1. Likewise me to London ❤️ I look forward to seeing you here. I hope the weather warms up here as well, I’d love to sit outside. I tried today for awhile but the wind was too harsh 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Who could have imagined that photographs of people hugging and congregating in an airport bar would produce a surge of nostalgia? It’s hard to know whether or not to blog right now, but I think your instincts are right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I felt the same but I’ve decided to continue as I derive such pleasure from writing and sharing my news. Comments bring blogs to life and if we’ve something positive to talk about it takes our minds off the troubles surrounding us. Stay safe and thanks for your much appreciated thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Good morning,
    I’m wondering the timeline for your latest post as I’m assuming you are not traveling at the moment. Where are you staying for the duration? Cologne is a stop on one of next jaunts across the pond…who knows how long it will take to get back to some semblance of order. Stay well wherever you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane, thanks for commenting, it’s so nice to hear from you. We were in Cologne last weekend 13-15 March and everything was still open and functioning then but in the last week since we returned home everything has changed. Let’s hope it’s not too many months until we can all start exploring again and until then we can read and dream of places we’d like to visit. Take care M.

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  16. When I went to Cologne a few years ago it was for work and I had to follow my boss who was looking for Desigual shirts 😉 My trip to Portugal was cancelled so it’s nice to carry on travelling like this. Keep on blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for getting in touch, it’s so nice to hear from you. I hope you get to visit Cologne again sometime in the future as it’s a lovely city. I was also supposed to be travelling to Portugal at the beginning of April but of course like everyone else’s plans they have now been dashed. I’m sure life will return to normal in the next few months and we can all set off again exploring the world. Until then I’ll do my best to continue travel blogging on a regular basis. Stay safe! Marion

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    1. It’s unbelievable Marcus especially as it was only 13-15th March that we were there. At least we have spring sunshine and we’re lucky to have a big garden where we are actually sitting on our patio now (in coats) eating our lunch. Stay safe and I’ll dream of the day of visiting Nuremberg. Marion

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  17. So envious of your good air connections and all the places you can travel to in an hour or two. We were lucky to be able to experience this last fall. Thanks for sharing. Hope all is well with you and your family. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you Allan and I’m so enjoying you posts on Vancouver. We spent a couple of weeks around there before my blogging days and hopefully will get back sometime in the future. We were only in Cologne last weekend and it’s hard to believe how the world has changed in such a short space of time. Take care all of you too! Marion

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs and looking at your pictures over the last few weeks and am really glad you’re continuing to post. It’s good to be able to spend a few minutes traveling vicariously since none of us know when we’ll be able to travel again for real. Many thanks and hope you’re staying safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. May I ask a personal question? How is it possible to fund all this travel? Have I not set up my blogs properly to earn money perhaps? I would love to do what you do and long may you do it when the virus goes away. Stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I have 2 German friends who recently bought an apartment in Cologne, to be near their family when they’re not here in the Algarve. They went back a couple of weeks ago so it’s nice to see something of their city, Marion. 🙂 🙂 Stay safe, hon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Aiva for your kind words. Cologne is indeed a wonderful city and hopefully it won’t be too many months before we can start visiting these places again. In the meantime I’ll try to blog as usual to add a little brightness to our lives. Stay safe too. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

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