Saturday, May 14, 2016

Europe Trip - A Lovely Morning in Koln

We initially bought the seat tickets from Zurich to Koln since we were not able to get the couchette tickets due to full booking. After much consideration, we decided to suffer the seats for a night. However, the missing seat reservation caused us to be upgraded to couchette. For EUR 49 (~SGD 76) per person, we were able to get some sleep throughout the night.

We arrived in Koln main station at 6:00 am. In my thought, Koln should be a small city and the station should be small to. But to my surprise, the station is huge and it is integrated with many eateries and shops.

We went to deposit our luggage for EUR 7 (~SGD 11) per item. Then we went to the ticket office to buy another ticket for Koln-Amsterdam. Due to the bombing in Brussels 6 days earlier, we decided not to visit Brussels and just do short stopover in Koln before continuing our journey to Amsterdam.

We chose to have second class ticket without seat reservation. The customer service helped us to mix and match the best fare and we got the six tickets cost EUR 397.2 (~SGD 621), approximately SGD 100 per pax. That's the risk of purchasing the tickets last minute.

We sat in Starbucks until my friend arrived. The view that we got by sitting inside was just amazingly cool. Afterwards, we walked out and the breeze that morning was cold as ice. We then moved to our first destination just in front of the station, Koln Black Church or Cologne Cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral is a world heritage site since 1996 and the biggest gothic church in Northen Europe. The construction commenced in 1248 as the temple of three wise men but was completed only in the 19th century after a few stops. Prior to the construction of the church, the site had been utilized as grain storage, roman temple, to Christian buildings.

During World War II, the city of Koln was targetted in a bombing spree as the towers of Cologne Cathedral was easily spotted. The cathedral itself suffered fourteen hits. The whole city was flattened, but the church kept standing tall and proud at its 157m. The restoration was then completed in 1956.

Some people said that this cathedral was previously a satanism temple. However, there is no proof to that. I guess it was just some stories people made because of the gargoyles surrounding the facade of the church seem scary.

Koln Black Church, view from Starbucks
No matter how cold it was, we should pose
Somebody told me that the church had been in restoration forever
The station, view from the church
The so called park in front of the church
The church main door, so magnificent
The interior of the church
High ceiling, strong pillars
The organs
Mother Mary
The side view of the church
The gargoyle in front of the church

We then walked out and was greeted again by strong wind. We walked towards the Hohenzollern Bridge, which was destroyed in the assault during World War II. Prior to the bombing, the bridge, which spanned across the Rhine River, was utilized as railway and vehicular bridge. However, the reconstruction only catered for railway and pedestrian. And, this is the Hohenzollern Bridge that we know today.

The bridge was repaired fully in 1959. Additional two tracks were added during the renovation in 1980. About 1200 trains pass through this bridge nowadays and God knows how many pedestrians put their 'love lock' here and throw the key away into the Rhine.

Hohenzollern Bridge
Across the river, looks like industrial part of the city
Love locks
Rhine and the beautiful city
Taking picture on the famous bridge

We did not manage to walk all the way to the other side of the bridge because of the winds. We walked back and decided to warm ourselves inside a cute little cafe at a corner nearby the station. My friend kept urging me to try the cakes. She said no people in the world could bake like Germans did. So, yeah, of course, we tried the cakes. And all were heavenly!

Our feasts

We intended to visit Lindt Museum actually but the band were tired and seemed to fall sick already, so we decided to take the noon train to Amsterdam for early check in and some rest. We bid goodbye to my friend and we bid goodbye to Koln.

I like this little city and I hope I can visit again, of course with the rest of the Germany.

Danke schans.

Next - Red Light District of Amsterdam

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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