Located on the castle-lined and picturesque Rhine River, Cologne may be my favorite German city. As I’ve stated before, to be a popular European destination a city requires a few key points: a river, old part, new part, and a huge church. As you can see below, Cologne easily contains these minimum requirements. Ok, I’ll admit my European city requirements are a bit tongue-in-cheek, but they also tend to be fairly accurate. While Cologne has much flavor, I’d say the most distinguishing part of the fine city is its HUGE cathedral that dominates the skyline. Centrally located in “old town” Kölner Dom is the first thing that visitors see when they exit the train station. The inside of this gothic masterpiece is equally as impressive. For a few Euro you can also climb the 10 quadzillion stairs to the top of the structure. I’ve only done this once, but the view with worth the exertion.
Although summers in Europe can be crowded with tourists, it’s my favorite time to visit. Sidewalk cafes, people watching, and cold beer (well, relatively – it is Europe) on warm days can be hard to beat. Cologne has a vibrant summer scene. One hears a lot about European fashions – The Italians and the French like to dress in stylish attire. In Germany – well, let’s just say that they tend to have a more eclectic sense of fashion. My favorite way to see these riverside European cities is on bicycle. It’s easy and fairly inexpensive to rent a bike in Cologne, and the flat terrain make it a cinch to get around. I spent a few hours exploring the city one day. I thought these buildings looked like those At At machine things from Star Wars. Here is Cologne’s fairly iconic trestle bridge that features “love locks.” Lovers write their names on padlocks and attach them to bridges. I covered this phenomenon in this blog post.. You see this sign a bunch in Germany. I don't know what it means but I KNOW it doesn't mean what I think it means.
For some reason my work takes me to Cologne fairly often. (I’m a corporate pilot when I’m not taking images.) I always look forward to my visits to this fine city. I’ve even been known to sample Kolsch, their fine local beer. Prost!