Saturday, 16 June 2012

Cologne

Cologne (Koln) is an important European rail hub so if you're travelling around Europe you'll get to know this station. On my previous trips (Prague, Warsaw) I only got to know the station but on this trip I had a 4 hour lay-over & found the city has plenty of charms within easy waling distance from the station.

Right outside the station is the spectacular gothic cathedral & if you don't see it looming above you - you've gone out the wrong exit so turn around & walk back to the other exit opposite.

In the shadow of the cathedral & along side the Rhine are the captivating cobbled streets of the Old Town. It is packed with Brauhaus' and alfresco restaurants which have a surprisingly Mediterranian ambience in the summer.

One of the most famous is the Hexenhaus (pork knuckle house) which has an 800 year history of sea traders unloading cargo at Cologne.

Cologne has its own beer (Kolsch), brewed nowhere else. Its an ale but tastes like a lager even though its poured from woodedn barrels. Its traditionally serve in 0.2 litre glasses, which keep coming until you put a beer mat on your glass to indicate you've finished. At Hexenhaus its served in metres - metre long planks of wood with 10 holes for 10 glasses of beer.

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