Once again I am completely convinced the best way to travel is by train. We had a lovely few hours on the train from Luxembourg to Cologne where we were able to read, nap, and actually use our phones to do a bit of research on things to do and of course, food to eat in Cologne (and receive a call from our credit card company asking us to pay off a bit of our balance – buying flights, a suit, and wedding ring adds up quickly). We also got to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the German countryside. We past cute little villages, lots of full camp sites along the Rhein, and even a few castles.
Walking out of the train station in Cologne, I was distracted trying to find our hotel when I was stopped by Matt pointing up and saying ‘Wow’. I turned around, had my first look at the Cologne Cathedral and it took my breath away. Knowing that the Golden Hour (sunset) was coming up and would give us some beautiful photos of the cathedral, we turned to quickly find our hotel and drop off our bags.
A little tired from our dramas of the morning in Luxembourg, we happily discovered our hotel room had a flash coffee maker. Matt quickly figured it out and we had a shot of coffee to keep us going for the rest of the evening.
We then rushed back to the cathedral to take in its beauty. Now, I’ve seen a fair share of cathedrals since moving to Europe and I wasn’t expecting much from this one (this is where lack of research is actually a good thing – no expectations) but I was totally blown away. Not to talk myself up or anything but I did a pretty good job at capturing the moment in these photos (Golden hour really is the best light – hardly had to do any post production) and they still don’t do it justice. It really is something you need to see for yourself (hopefully the scaffolding is gone when you do).
At this point, we were getting pretty hungry so we went in search of a restaurant serving good German food. You’d be surprised at how hard it can be to find local food in city centres as most restaurants cater for tourists looking for a quick, cheap bite. But after a little research on TripAdvisor we found a pub serving bratwurst and schnitzel. Sold.
We were also introduced to the local beer called Kölsch. It is always served in 200ml tall glasses and the waiters come around with full trays and keep giving you more until you’ve put a coaster over your empty glass to show them you don’t want any more.
Kölsch is also the first glass of straight beer I’ve finished without Matt’s help. It was light and tasty – I may become a beer drinker yet!
The food was amazing at this place as well – Matt had the bratwurst, I had schnitzel, and they both came with delicious fried potatoes, bacon, and onions. So much yum! If you find yourself in Cologne, make sure you plan a dinner at Gilden im Zims.
The next morning, we did a quick walking tour of the city centre and riverfront, drank more beer, and ate more schnitzel before catching the train to our 3rd country in as many days – The Netherlands.