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Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia

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Well, it's goodbye to the UK! And hello to activating my Eurail pass for the next 2 months of travel.
The first leg is London to Brussels on the Eurostar, which is pretty fancy... I even got breakfast in first class.
A quick change in Brussels and onto Cologne! I'm staying about 30mins from the center of the city, more like in a little village on the Rhine, called Z├╝ndorf. My Airbnb is once again super cute and an authentic homestay experience with a lovely mother and daughter. Lousia (the daughter) traveled the east coast of Australia for a year in 2017 so we had some places to chat about. This is the inner courtyard of the apartments I'm staying in, sort of a communal gathering/playing area for the residents.

I happen to arrive on PRIDE weekend here in Cologne and they are celebrating the 50th anniversary so it's a bigger one than usual. Lousia is heading in with some friends so she invited me to tag along which was kind. Very similar to our Mardis Gras with floats and a parade, it was absolutely packed!
It was a lot of fun and is well celebrated by all, not just the LGBTQI community which was nice to see inclusivity and diversity regardless of orientation.
We head into town on the tram and this video is going over a bridge past some of the floats and parade. It's named Christoper Street Day in honour of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 which took place on Christopher Street, New York.
Language warning in the video.

A great day, now off to bed a big day of sightseeing tomorrow!

I head back into the city on the tram, the clean up from the festivities is well underway. I head back to the magnificent Cologne Cathedral. It's actually in the background of the parade video, the blackened gothic-looking building. Arriving at it gives me the same feels as the York Minster which I love and I walk around it in awe. Originally construction started in 1248 but was stopped in 1473 and was dormant until the 1840s with final completion in 1880. It's still the largest gothic church in northern Europe today, covering almost 8,000 square meters.
Due to its obvious size and easy to spot landmark from the air it was a huge target during air raids in WWII, surviving 14 strikes. Damage was sustained but it remained standing in otherwise a destroyed city. Amazing really!
It's one of Germanys most recognisable landmarks and attracts on average 20,000 visitors per day and today I'm one of them.

I went because I knew it would be spectacular and surely you know by now I love this style of architecture and history. What I didn't know was the treasures inside! The Shrine of the Three Kings is here and attracts a lot of visitors. The shrine is believed to contain the remains of the Three Wise Men who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh to baby Jesus. It's gold plated and just magnificent.

Another striking large stained glass window is at the east end, the pictures aren't the best as the sun was behind them but you get the idea.

After dragging myself out of the Cathedral I head over to the Hohenzollern Bridge, completed in 1911 after the collapse of the previous Catherdral Bridge was demolished. It's now only for rail and pedestrian crossings. Four equestrian statues flank each ramp onto the bridge.
I walked across and on the railings, there are thousands of locks with names and dates.

A wonderful day's adventures! I returned to the Airbnb via the tram and head to the local pub for a delicious mix grill!

This morning I stay local and wander down to the Rhine River, its about a 20 min walk from the house through parklands.
Turning back towards the main town, I stumble upon a little pub and a few shops super cute and very German! A good spot for a beer I reckon!

Only a brief few days here but it is a lovely city, the adventures continue on the train again in the morning!
Berlin awaits! I'm really looking forward to this... Rumour has it it's the new London...
Much love,
L xx

Posted by mslaurajade 11:09 Archived in Germany Tagged bridges churches buildings trains history travel germany cathedral heritage gothic tourist holidays adventures cologne wwii blog

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