I only spent a day in Köln (or Cologne as we say in English), but it was amazing! A friend I met at the university in Dortmund is from there so she got to show us the city in a less touristy way.
If you noticed this time my title isn’t in English, French, or standard German, you’d be right! It’s in a local dialect specific to the city of Cologne called Kölsch, which also happens to be the name of there sweet beer! Jooden Oovend is similar to the standard German equivalent Guten Abend, which means good evening in English. I chose this because we went to see the Kölner Lichter (Cologne lights), which is a fireworks show that doesn’t start until well into the evening.
Before the fireworks, we took the train to the Bridge of Love! The Hohenzollern Bridge is covered in locks symbolizing love. Many of them have people’s names on them and dates of when couples got together. Once a couple attaches the lock, they throw the key into the Rhein River to symbolize their everlasting love. I’m personally not a fan of throwing objects in rivers, but it is a really cool tradition!
Next, we went to Peters Brauhaus, which is a restaurant that is famous for it’s specific brand of Cologne beer, Peters Kölsch. In Cologne, beer is commonly given in 200ml glasses, which if you aren’t familiar with the metric system is pretty small! It’s also known for being very sweet so it is common for other regions to make fun of it for being like water or juice. I think it is good that it’s more like water or juice since you almost have to buy it at restaurants because it’s less than half of the price for water, juice, or soda! Very different from the United States where water is free at restaurants.
Of course we had to go to the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral). It is the second biggest structure in Cologne and definitely the largest church I’ve ever climbed to the top of! It was the hottest day I’ve experienced since being in Europe and to make matters worse, Germans don’t believe in air conditioning and it was no different climbing the tours of this cathedral! It’s 533 steps, which did not sound like much to me at the beginning, but oh boy it was a lot! Most of it is on spiral staircases and my legs were so tired it was difficult to even go down the stairs! But if this is making you nervous about climbing it, I understand, but it is definitely worth it! It is such a beautiful view of the city and looking down on the cathedral. I thought I was going to die, but I enjoyed ever second of it. 🙂
Then we went to the park to set up camp for the fireworks. We grabbed food and drinks on the way because we knew we were there for the long haul and did not want to pay for overpriced food in the park. We got to the park at around 6pm and the first firework did not go off until 10:30pm with the full show starting at 11:30pm. It’s the only way to get a good spot on the river.
The firework show is synchronised to original music and has a story to go along with it. If you don’t know any German, it is still amazing but the story this year was adorable! It was about art through the ages and started with a young kid learning to draw a smiley face.
Next year it is on July 13th and I can’t wait to see you there!