1 (or ½) Day in Cologne & Troisdorf
COLOGNE IN ONE DAY.
I mentioned that I am not particularly fond of Cologne compared to Bonn in my previous post. Cologne is rather popular with tourist. If you are travelling by train across Europe to or from Netherland, you would probably have to transit there. It is an international city and as well as a touristy one. What I didn’t like upon arriving in Cologne is that once we exited the station, we saw many shady characters and beggars outside the train station and the Cathedral. It is quite worrisome for travellers like us because we have valuable on us; passports, money, cameras etc and we have to be on high alert on our belongings instead of enjoying the city. Clutching our bags, checking our pockets and being suspicious of people who stand close to us.
We were in Cologne for a few hours. I really enjoy the history of the places I visited. If you have limited time like we did, we would suggest doing the following activities;
- Cologne Cathedral
Cologne is one of the biggest city in Germany hence it was severely bombed during WWII. The city was completely run down to the ground except the Cathedral. Part of the Cathedral was destroyed by bombs but the towers still stands. That is why the Cologne Cathedral is such an iconic structure in this city. I strongly recommend reading the history of Cologne and see the pictures of the war aftermath before visiting the city.
- The Cologne Cathedral Observation Tower. (Recommended!)
There is an observation platform at the Cathedral South Tower. No elevator. So you have to be physically fit to walk up 533 very narrow steps. The entrance is completely hidden from the main entrance. It is on the right back side of the main entrance where the toilets are located. Entrance fee is EUR4. Don’t forget to visit the Bell Chamber which holds the largest bell in the world weighing 24,000 kg.
Note: What we didn’t like about this platform is the disgusting amount of graffitti on walls on the observation platform and also the stairway. We really hope that people could be more civic minded and stop this terrible act of vandalism.
- Boat trip on the Rhine
If the weather is good when you are in Cologne, this is a good relaxing way to see the city from a different perspective. Typically the boat ride takes 1 – 2 hours around Cologne but if you have extra time, you could take a boat to other cities as well.
Tips: A sweet local lady we met in Bonn suggested that we take a boat to Königswinter. We didn’t take up her suggestion because we didn’t have enough time.
- Altstadt (Old City of Cologne)
There are plenty of restaurants and shops in this area. If you are not into shopping, find for a typical German brewery which typical German food such as Bratwürst, Pork Knuckles, Sauerkraut etc and order a pint of Kölsch (Cologne Beer).
OFF THE BEATEN PATH – TROISDORF
- Wahner Heide! (Highly recommended!)
Wahner Heide is a nature reserve, a moor next to Cologne-Bonn Airport. There are great amount of wild life and plants. If you are a nature lover and you have a little extra time, this is definitely a must visit place. Bring your binoculars and a good pair of shoes!
Note: This place is the highlight of our trip. I was in Troisdorf and had a little time alone while Herr Hallo has his meeting. So, I drove to Wahner Heide. I only visited a small part of it, mainly the forest mainly the deer park by themoat. The lady at the Troisdorf tourist office was super kind.
- Burg Wissem Bilderbuchmuseum.
This brilliant castle was built in 1500. It was a manor and then converted into a town hall of Troisdorf from 1940s to 1980s. In 1982, it was converted into a picture book museum which ha thousands of picture books from old and modern time in their exhibition hall.
Note: Please make time to visit the moat behind the museum. It is very beautiful. A hidden enchanting world. The tourism office is right opposite Burg Wissem, beside the restaurant. There is an exhibition in the office.
After Cologne & Troisdorf, we drove to Wiesbaum to attend to business. We visited a beautiful castle wall, stayed in a monastery before we head to Dusseldorf to eat KFC and board a plane back to Zürich.
x Frau Hallo