21 May 2010

Europe - Cologne

From Amsterdam, we reached Cologne about 21:30pm on Sat, 15 May 2010. Tired from dragging the luggage around, we decided to take a cab to the hotel that we booked earlier. When we've finally found the taxi stand and ask the cab driver to bring us to the hotel, we were actually r.e.j.e.c.t.e.d.. He (and another cab driver) said that the hotel is only 100 m away, no need to take a cab.. Maybe he meant to be nice, but actually honestly, we don't mind paying a few euros for not needing to drag our luggage.. hahahaa..

So in the end we walked the 100m that he said, and it felt like 1 km! Or maybe, the straight linear distance is really 100m, but there's no way we can walk in the linear way.. hahaha..

The hotel we booked is City Europa am Dom, which is just behind the big famous cathedral in Cologne. We booked a twin room for 95 euros, and during the booking, I've specified that I want an extra bed (that will cost 30 euros more). That will cost each of us 40 euros/night including breakfast, and the hotel has quite a good review (being a 4 star hotel in excellent location and affordable rate)..

Oh well apparently, the staff there was not as nice. Our twin room was ready, but the notes saying that we need an extra bed was not sent to them by the booking website. And the room that they assigned us is a small one, not enough for any extra bed. And they're also fully booked, left with 1 twin room (for us) and 1 single room, so they can't give us a bigger twin room that has enough capacity for extra bed. Anddd.. they don't allow us to share the twin room for 3 person.. Wah.. I tried to protest, coz we've specified the extra bed during booking, but the receptionist can't change her mind. By then, it was too late to look around for other hotel, so we got no choice but to take the 1 single room left for 75 euros.. :(  So bad service.. they should've offered us a discount or something.. Afterall it's not our fault.. :(

Anyway, the room itself is quite nice and clean. Reaching the room, I suddenly feel my tummy very pain, and I just got a feeling that it's because I don't drink enough plain water for that day (having been drinking mostly soda drinks). So I called the receptionist asking whether they had mineral water, and she said that it's in the mini-bar. So I opened the minibar and take out the mineral water (I know it normally cost ridiculously expensive, but I'm too thirsty to think), and open it.. and guess what? It's with soda!! Aiyoooo.. they don't have mineral water without soda.. -_-   In the end, I decided to just drink tap water, luckily I didn't have any diarrhoea after that.. hahaha..

The next morning, we had our breakfast in the hotel, the menu is exactly the same as what's served in my hotel in Duisburg.. wow.. I wonder whether all hotels having the same menu? It's sausages, meat balls, scrambled egg, bacons, and also few types of yoghurt with fruits. Oh, also have cereals, bread, jam, etc.

After breakfast, we proceed to the most famous landmark in Cologne: the Cathedral! Our hotel was just behind the cathedral. It was .t.h.e. .m.o.s.t. .m.a.g.n.i.f.i.c.e.n.t . thing I've ever seen..  It was soooooooo huge and very nice... It has 2 tall towers.. and I read that it was the tallest building in the world from 1880-1884.

[caption id="attachment_1291" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral"]Cologne Cathedral[/caption]

It takes 600+ years to finish building it (with some interruptions in the middle). And I saw there were many doors to the church, and each door have a different relics.. wow.. it's just sooo amazing..

[caption id="attachment_1292" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral - one of the door"]Cologne Cathedral - one of the door[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1293" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Amazing relics"]Amazing relics[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1294" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Me in front of the cathedral"]Me in front of the cathedral[/caption]

Have to admit that even as I'm typing this entry now, my heart pounding faster when I remember how huge and majestic this building is.. and all the intricate details carved all over the buildings, each one being unique..

Going inside the church, it was just as impressive.. the inside was so huge.. and with many stained glass windows..

[caption id="attachment_1295" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral - in the inside"]Cologne Cathedral - in the inside[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1296" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cologne Cathedral - inside view"]Cologne Cathedral - inside view[/caption]

Actually I read that if we climb the 509 steps in one of the tower, we can see a very nice view of Cologne.. But upon hearing "509 steps", both my colleagues immediately say "no"... :(  We didn't spend much time inside the Cathedral, so we went out to take a look around the area. The Cathedral was located just beside Cologne(Koln) main train station.

[caption id="attachment_1297" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Koln Haupthbahnhof"]Koln Haupthbahnhof[/caption]

And Cologne itself is an old city. The buildings in the city are mostly old buildings. I love to see old buildings :)

[caption id="attachment_1298" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="View in front of cathedral"]View in front of cathedral[/caption]

We walked towards the Rhein River, and saw this nice bridge. Normally the cathedral photo that I saw is mostly taken with this bridge (from across the bridge). But we didn't walk that far.. This bridge is quite long :p

[caption id="attachment_1299" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bridge in Cologne"]Bridge in Cologne[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1300" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral from afar"]Cologne Cathedral from afar[/caption]

We walk by the river towards the Altstadt (old town area). Honestly, if I've never been to Amsterdam, I'd think that the Cologne old town is very nice... But I've seen even nicer one.. hahaha.. ok I still think it's not bad. And Cologne is like a city full of churches. There's a church of St Martin in the middle of the old town. But my colleagues didn't feel like going there, as we just visited the cathedral.. So majority wins.. I just took a photo of it from afar..

[caption id="attachment_1301" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="St Martin as seen from FischMarkt, Altstadt"]St Martin as seen from FischMarkt, Altstadt[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1302" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Rows of shophouses facing Rhein River"]Rows of shophouses facing Rhein River[/caption]

Actually further down, there's a place that I'd wanted to visit: it's Chocolate Museum! Ahem, no I don't intend to go inside the museum (not really interested to go to a museum), but I read that their cafe is nice... imagine sitting facing the Rhein river, drinking a cup of delicious hot chocolate... yummy... and also I read that the shop in the museum sells loooooootssss of chocolate... mostly Lindt brand.. which is why in Duisburg I didn't buy Lindt chocolate coz I thought that I'll buy them at the museum.. There were soo many variety available in Germany! (not like those in SG).

Sadly.. both of my colleague frowned upon hearing chocolate museum... sigh.. so in the end, we didn't go there... sob sob sob.. if I've known, I'd have bought few Lindt chocolates in Duisburg :(  Hmm.. maybe that's the negative side if you're travelling with other people.. Can't just go wherever you wanna go.. :p

Since we still have many hours before our flight (which was at 10pm that night), we decided to go to Frankfurt before going back SG.

Oh, on the way back to the train station, we passed by this nice fountain, and behind it you can see the top of the Rathaus (city hall)

[caption id="attachment_1303" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Fountain"]Cologne Fountain[/caption]


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