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Arriving in Cologne, the Cathedral...

We're in Cologne

Cologne is one of the biggest cities in Germany, the most populated city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich and is located in one of the most popular areas in Europe, the Rhine-Ruhr. The city belongs to the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and is surrounded by other well known cities like Düsseldorf, Bonn, Dortmund, Leverkusen… so it is a great city to visit without having to travel far.

To focus on Cologne, Köln in German, the first thing you will see after leaving the train station is its impressive Cathedral. Lots of people have heard of it because it is one of the most important Gothic monuments in Europe. As I went with my backpack, we decided to go to José's flat so I could drop my stuff off and then head to the centre to go and discover the city. In Cologne, there isn't a metro, but there is a good tram service and commuter train. José lived at the other end of the city, just next to the Cologne football station, on the outskirts of the city. He told me that on the local transport network, if you use it on the weekends with someone who has a transport card, you can get it for free (something that still can't 100% confirm). But in my case, I didn't pay for a ticket and since the ticketman didn't come to check, there wasn't a problem, but I think if he did I would have had to have paid. He lived 20 minutes from the city centre, from the Cathedral to the stadium, and as we travelled through the city, I happily looked out on Cologne.

Visiting the Cathedral in Cologne

Once we arrived on the 7th floor, I saw the mat that would me my bed for the next three days, I put my stuff down and we headed back out to the city. We went back to the centre and we stopped to visit the Cathedral. It was an impressive building from the outside, but from inside it was like a small city, full of people coming and going (it was the weekend). Inside, on the walls, there were plaques that explained the history of the Cathedral, saying that it had been the tallest building in Europe that withstood the bombs of the Second World War, miraculously. It isn't as pretty as the Notre Dame in Paris, but it is still worth going to see, and it is the most well known monument in Cologne. On the outside, they were doing work on the Arc of Triumph when I was there, so one part of it was covered with scaffolding and netting. It only cost us 1. 50€ to enter because we were students and we showed our student cards (very important to always bring your student card). But we weren't able to go to the top of its towers, we would have had to pay another 6€. If we had paid we would have been able to visit some sort of underground chamber also.

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Another love bridge

José told me the weather was really good that day since it had been bad the few days before. A few of the days were cloudy but it didn't rain as much as I had imagined and it wasn't as cold as I thought it was going to be either. We next headed across the river and walked over a bridge that flanked the banks of the Rhin. This was the bridge that I had mentioned in my posts about Paris, there was an infinite amount of 'love locks'. And this bridge was so long, twice the size of the Pont des Arts in Paris. It is called 'Hohenzollernbrücker' but my German is rubbish but apparently it means something like 'happy bridge'. After we crossed the bridge we got to a more residential area of Cologne, less touristic, but still lots of things to see. On this other side of the Rhin, there is a wonderful viewpoint just next to the bridge where you can see all of Cologne and of course, the towers of the Cathedral. You have to do this if you visit Cologne and the photos you take here will be the cover photos on your Facebook that all your friends will be able to see.

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The Cologne Triangle

On this side of the river, something else you have to do is visit the 'Köln Triangle', which is one of the tallest buildings in the city and from its rooftop terrace you can see the whole of Cologne and some other cities close by. The entry costs 3€ and if you really want to make the most of it, make sure t go on a sunny day or at least when it isn't too cloudy. I don't know how many floors are in the tower but there is a lift, and I don't think many people use the stairs. The rooftop is a circular shape, the same as the building itself and it is surrounded by windows so that no one can do anything stupid or throw anything of the top. The windows are obviously transparent, and they're are drawings on them to show which part of Cologne you are looking at in the distance, in all the different directions.

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Once we left the building, we went back to José's place to eat, to the university restaurant, where everyone was looking at me as I was one of the only ones without blonde hair and blue eyes.


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