How magical it was! I landed in Frankfurt, Germany and spent a few days there recovering from my AUS –> Europe flight. Caught the train for 1hr north and voila, arrived in Cologne (or Koln as the locals know it). Once you step outside the main train station, there is the Cologne Cathedral- ominous yet magnificent, casting a shadow in front of you. It is what you expect of a gothic church- amazing, grand (in every sense) and dark.
The one thing I was most looking forward to the most were the Christmas markets. Boy oh boy were they amazing. Amazing atmosphere and location! Despite there being so many people, we snaked our way through all the stores marveling at the gingerbread and Christmas decorations.
For the chocolate lovers, be sure to stop by the harbour side Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (they give out free waffle stick dipped in chocolate). You can see how cacao seeds get to chocolate form that we all know and love and see machines in action. It even smells of chocolate. Great for the kids or a rainy day.
During my visit, I also went to the EL-DE Haus which was the former headquarters of the Gestapo turned museum. This normal looking building on the outside houses original basement chambers which were used to keep prisoners and a courtyard used for executions. The walls are still covered in pencil markings and etching. The prison cells were small and reading about the how many prisoners were housed in each cell was unimaginable. It was so eerie in the basement even with many visitors in there. It is well preserved and am so glad that it is. There is great information and I think that there is a good balance between allowing visitors to see the bare walls and also information panels. Definitely one for the history buffs or those who want to explore Germany’s past in Cologne.
Cologne has so many more museums in what is a great tourist friendly and interesting town. Be sure to add this to your list if visiting Germany!
What are other great museums or places to see in Cologne?
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