So this Valentines we went on a short trip to Cologne, Germany. A facebook friend of mine went on a tour of Germany and I was inspired by the funky museums, amazing food and beautiful sights to make a visit of my own. I had a look on skyscanner and was happy to find some flights, only £8 return! I found a bargain little apartment on Airbnb and so a cheapy little holiday was to be had.
We flew early morning from Stansted over to Cologne, arriving at Koln Bonn airport just after 9am. We caught a metro to the station nearest to our apartment, Koln Hansaring. The metro system was really easy to use, the machines were clear and let you know when the next train was to your destination. The train from the airport to the centre was 2.80 euros each. We only ever used the metro to and from the airport as we found Cologne extremely walkable and easy to manoeuvre around.
I downloaded the app ‘Cologne Travel Guide and offline city map’ by Ulmon and I found it fantastic. You could pinpoint places on the map before you went so that they were easy to find when you were out there and it was clear and easy to use. We used this the whole time we were in Cologne and there was not one time where we found ourselves lost.
So we had booked ‘gemutliches appartment Koln City’ on Airbnb before leaving. It was in a really great location, close to a metro and to the centre. It consisted of a large bedroom, good size bathroom and a kitchenette area. It was lovely and warm and clean and we couldn’t really ask for anything else.
We were greeted by the owners, dumped our stuff and then we headed out. Our first stop on our tour of Cologne was the ‘Skulpturen Park’. It’s a public park that holds a number of sculptures, which are changed every two years. It is free and it was nice to spend half an hour strolling around but it was a bit difficult sometimes to understand the ‘point’ of some of the sculptures as the only accompanying information they had were the artists name. I understand the park does a guided tour the first Sunday of every month and I think that would be really informative.
Just behind the park sat the Botanical gardens. I can imagine a visit to the gardens in the summer would be beautiful but our washed out winter did mean there wasn’t much to see. The main building was quite stunning and I think it would be fantastic to be able to attend an event held there. We did manage to see a few of the spring flowers popping up around the garden which was nice. Once again this was free entry.
We also went to see the Church of St Agnes, the 2nd largest in Cologne. It was a beautiful building and inside was very serene. The ceiling had many painted flowers on which was different.
It was time for lunch. Bakeries are certainly the place to eat in Cologne, there are hundreds of them. We chose to eat in one called Middelberg because we liked the self serve style of it. We totally overloaded on the carbs with cheesy croissants, fresh brioche and a delicious cherry crumble cake. It was all such great value as well. Our entire haul including hot drinks cost about 10 euros.
Despite the fact it was only about 3pm Adam and I were exhausted having travelled the previous night. After lunch we decided to go back to the apartment and have a nap before dinner haha. It just shows that even in your late 20’s the youthful days of coping without sleep are gone. We awoke after a couple of hours feeling rejuvenated and got ready for our valentines dinner.
I had made a reservation at Gilden Im Zims, a German restaurant. The reservation was certainly needed on the evening however I don’t know if that was anything to do with Valentines or if its usually that busy anyway. We instantly got started with some delicious Kolsch beer. I don’t even like beer but this stuff was great. I liked that they served it in 200ml glasses because personally I can find a litre pretty intimidating! All night our beer was refilled, until the point you put a coaster over the top indicating you don’t want anymore.
I went for a bratwurst whilst Adam went for the schnitzel. Both of us were really pleased with our food, it was all super delicious. We even finished the meal with strudel, despite being so super stuffed. It was a lovely end to what had been an amazing first day in Cologne.