Sunday, 27 September 2015

Germany Trip: Cologne

Hi everyone, I'm sorry I've been so quiet lately! As you may know, I recently got back from a work trip to Germany and so I thought I would share a few of my pics and experiences in a few posts, starting off with my trip there and my weekend in Cologne.

I left work at lunch time of Friday afternoon and after a quick stop at home to drop some things off and meet Frosty, I got dropped at the airport a little earlier than I had expected. But that's fine by me, since I much prefer arriving somewhere early as opposed to screeching in at the last minute. It gave me a chance to get all checked in and, since I really did have quite a bit of time to spare, I decided to use the chance to get a haircut! There's nothing like a haircut to make you feel better and a few days before my hair had reached that I-need-to-get-cut-yesterday phase, so it was a great way to pass the time!

Ready to fly after a new haircut.
A quick fight later and I had landed in Joburg with a few more hours to kill. This time I found myself a quick snack and then took a browse around Exclusive Books. I had been looking for a good book to read for ages and when I caught sight of Sheryl Sandburg's book, Lean In, I knew that that was the book that I would be taking along with me. I think the fact that I had completed more than half the book before I had landed in Cologne is indicative of how good a read this book is - I'll hopefully be sharing a bit more about my thoughts on the book later, as it deserves a post all of it's own.

I sat next to a lovely lady on my way there and she was the perfect seat mate - friendly and chatty for a little while and then quiet when it was time to be quiet. For a while after take off the weather was quite stormy and lightning-y and not particularly nice and I thought I'd try to photograph lightning - in between black screens of pictures that didn't catch any lightning, I caught one or two pics where the lightning is catching the clouds which I'm pretty excited about! This one below is probably my favourite one and with a bit of editing, it's come out really nicely - don't you think?

Lightning in the clouds taken from an airplane
Lightning and clouds from a plane - I was contemplating whether I should go through the effort of
taking my camera out to try and get some pics of the lightning and I'm really chuffed that, in the end,
I decided to get my camera out!
My investment in one of those awesome neck pillows also really helped and I think I got about 4 hours or solid sleep in, which is a record for me as I don't usually sleep comfortably on a plane! We arrived in Munich in the early hours of Saturday morning and I loved seeing how green and "farmy" the countryside around Munich was, as we were descending to land. I had a quick layover in Munich and then an hour flight to get to Cologne, which had a more "foresty" feel to it when we were flying in.

One of the things that first struck me about Germany is that it's a really beautiful country and it immediately appealed to me for a reason I can't quite pinpoint. 

One of the best things about being able to travel is meeting up with friends who come from, or who have moved to, different parts of the world. When I went to Italy I was able to meet up with my "Italian sister" which was a really special time. This time I was able to meet up with a friend from varsity who had moved to Germany a few months before. Kim and I both used this opportunity to see a bit of Germany, she got to come and explore a bit of Cologne with me over the first weekend I was there. 

Black and white cow in green field
German countryside.
Kim and I - great to catch up with friends in foreign cities!
We spent two happy days exploring Cologne. 

The Kölner Dom (aka Cologne Cathedral) is one of Germany's biggest tourist attractions and it really is an amazing sight! I had the most incredible view of the Dom from my hotel room and waking up and going to sleep with the Dom as a view was an incredibly special thing! Inside they have some beautiful stained glass windows, some of them older and some slightly newer. Kim and I both really enjoyed the window that was made up of hundreds of identically sized squares of different coloured glass, that are meant to represent pixels. This, of course, appealed to the engineer in both Kim and me!

Inside the Kölner Dom
Inside the Kölner Dom - beautiful arches.
Inside the Kölner Dom - Stained Glass Windows
There were beautiful stained glass windows everywhere.

Inside the Kölner Dom
Inside the Kölner Dom - modern stained glass windows that look like pixels. 
Inside the Kölner Dom - Candles
I always love seeing the beautiful candles that get lit within churches and the Dom was no different.
After walking across a bridge filled with Love Locks, we decided on a whim to try and get to the top of a building that had a stream of people walking around it. We managed to find the building and 28 stories higher up, we got to the top of a cylindrical building and had a wonderful panoramic view of Cologne. Even though it had started to rain by this stage, it was lovely to see 

Strolling along the Rhine in Köln.
Love Locks Bridge in Köln
Love Locks in Köln.
Köln Love Locks
In France, they apparently removed 45 tons worth of Love Locks from a bridge
where people followed a similar concept - the weight of the locks hadn't
been factored in to the design of the bridge and they were starting to affect
the structural integrity of the bridge!
View of the Dom from 28 Stories Up in Köln
View of the Dom from 28 stories up.
Köln Panorama
Getting creative with rain.
When we got back to the hotel on the first evening, after stopping at the shops to get a bite for dinner, we set up a picnic inside our hotel room and had a really great time taking pictures of the most breathtaking sunset. It just kept getting better and better!

Sunset and reflections in puddles on a roof
Reflections on a roof top.
Distant view of Köln
View of Köln from a distance - you can see the Dom on the right.
Kim at sunset.
View of a city at sunset through leaves
Getting creative with framing my pictures.
Me and my reflection taken by Kim.
Thanks Kimi! 
Red and gold sunset with cityscape
This sunset just kept getting better and better!
One of the highlights of the weekend was a visit to the Lindt Chocolate Museum on the Sunday! One thing that was really great about both the Museum and the Dom was that they had information available in English! It made a huge difference being able to read the pamphlets and information boards in English (and gave me a chance to brush up on my German, with an easy translation of English right next to it!). I'm sure the question on everyone's mind is "so, did you get free chocolate at the museum?" the answer to which is "YES!". The museum really was fascinating and covered a huge variety of subjects from chocolate packaging and marketing to the process of obtaining cocoa beans to making chocolate (complete with machines) to packing chocolate and finally, the history of chocolate. Oh, and did I mention they also have a small hot-house where they grow actual cocoa trees?! AND we got to see first hand how they make those hollow figurines. All in all, a very worthy visit!

As a final activity on Sunday afternoon, Kim and I met up with one of her classmates who was studying relatively close by, which was also great. Even though I had only spent two days in Germany, hearing a South African accent in amongst the chatter of people was a very welcome thing indeed!

The Lindt Chocolate Museum in Köln
Kim outside the Lindt Chocolate Museum in Köln.

Lindt Chocolate Museum in Köln
Me outside the Lindt Chocolate Museum.
Learning how hollow chocolate figurines are made in the Lindt Chocolate Museum
To make the hollow figurines, chocolate is put into moulds and the
moulds are then put into these heads. The actual heads rotate in a circle
and then so does the entire 'X' shape, ensuring that the chocolate is
distributed evenly while it is setting. In the 'olden days' the chocolate figures
were put into metal moulds, but plastic is much cheaper and easier to recycle!

~~~~~ Follow Practical Cookie ~~~~~
~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pintrest ~ Instagram ~

No comments:

Post a Comment