‘Well my favourite band is playing in Cologne next year and I want you to come with me!’
I’d never been to Cologne before and I love gigs, so willing to take a chance on a trip we both said yes pretty much straight away!
Before we knew it, it was 2018 and we were jetting off from Manchester.
I think I’m going to start this post off by saying that the few times I’ve been to Germany I’ve never really been that overwhelmed by how amazing it is, however Cologne had a little bit more character than I was expecting.
I’m sure if we had more time, better weather and if I hadn’t have injured myself halfway through the trip, then I may have fallen for the city, like I do with most others.
? Read all about my last trip to Dusseldorf, Germany here.
COLOGNE DAY 1
We landed around midday on the Tuesday and made our way straight to our apartment to drop off the cases. Expecting a hotel, we were really confused when we pulled up to office blocks and got that ‘oh my god what have we done feeling’. Turns out one of the floors had been converted into several different apartments, all of which had an incredible view from the 10th floor – not quite the horror movie ending we were picturing.
As we had a 4am start we refreshed our makeup, then made our way out into the snow in search of a place called Frittenwerk. We had discovered Frittenwerk on the colognefoodguide Instagram and decided that we HAD to try their chilli fries. It wasn’t too long of a walk before we were faceplanting the most delicious fries ever (okay, the most delicious fries in Cologne).
After stuffing our faces we thought we’d walk down into Alstadt (Old Town) as we knew there were some pretty buildings and bars in the general area. At this point the snow started getting much worse and started to stick, but I think it added a little magic to the trip, especially after it had all settled and looked like a real life fairy tale.
Freezing our asses off, we stopped into a bar to get a drink of Kolsch (the first of many) before deciding where to eat (again). Settling for the pizzeria next door, we spent a few hours putting the world to rights over drinks and pizza.
Thinking we’d go back to the room and get an early night, we ended up walking past an Irish bar and the rest was history…
COLOGNE DAY 2
The next day we started the day in search of more food. Having completely missed breakfast we went straight to a place called MENZBURGER that Tamzin had found on Tripadvisor. From the outside it was like one of those places you would avoid at all costs but as soon as we stepped through the doors we knew we had made the right choice.
The very cute waiter helped us translate the menu and I decided I’d order a Bacon burger with cheese. Unsure about the maple syrup I decided to leave it on and oh my, I am so glad I did! The sweet with the salty of the bacon was like a party in my mouth. Hands down one of the best burgers I have ever eaten.
After eating our body weight in burgers, we took a nice stroll over to the dom (cathedral) as it was nearby. We ended up going the wrong way and walking the long way around until we finally saw it in all it’s glory. I *think* Cologne Cathedral has got to be the biggest Cathedral I’ve ever seen and if I remember rightly, it’s the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.
The whole building was stunning both inside and out, and we spent a good hour or so walking around and admiring how stunning it was. Afterwards, Tamzin and Ashton headed to walk up to the top of the spires, but as I was in a lot of pain with my knee I decided to sit this one out and head to the nearby Vapiano for a glass (or two) of prosecco.
A couple of minutes later Ashton and Tamzin turned up saying they’d missed the climbing hours by only five minutes, and they wouldn’t let them up. Instead we decided to have another glass of prosecco before going on a hunt for waffles.
Surprisingly, it took us AGES to find some but the walk was definitely worth the wait. I have a Nutella waffle with cream AS WELL AS a mint Ice Cream cocktail and oh. my. gosh. They were both incredible.
As we were going to see Picture This that night, we decided to go back to the room to pre-drink and get ready. After a couple of bottles of prosecco, we were on our way with a rather giddy Ashton.
In preparation for the trip I listened to a lot of Picture This on Spotify and they ARE SO GOOD. My love for them has grown so much more after seeing them live in such a small, intimate gig as they were so fun to watch and sing along to. It was actually my first gig in a long time and I think it’s brought my love for the back as I’m now itching to book another.
After the gig we found a nearby McDonalds, stuffed our faces and then walked back to the room.
COLOGNE DAY 3
Our last day in Cologne was a bit of an odd one, but I think this was partly our fault.
Not knowing the timing of our trip, we actually managed to book our stay to end on the first day of the Kolner Karneval. Apparently, EVERYONE takes the day (week) off work to enjoy the festivities and all of the shops and bards get in on the action. There’s a big stage in Aldstadt and various different events on across the streets of Cologne, including a parade we *kinda* saw from our taxi on the way to the airport.
As we left our hotel to go for one last burger before our flight we could see crowds of drunk people in costumes, with loud music blasting from pretty much every flat. The whole city was partying, and we weren’t invited.
Absolutely gutted we were missing out on the celebrations, we decided to find a nearby burger place called Burgerlich. With high expectations after the MENZBURGER burger we’d had the day before, we we were not expecting to be wowed. Incredibly, these were in fact the best burgers in Germany and oh my gosh, I could eat it over and over again if it was possible.
Whilst we were eating we could see everyone partying in the streets and enjoying Karneval, which made us vow we would head back next year and book it so we could actually go this time.
The girls decided to go walk down to find the main part of the Karneval, but after three days of walking on a very sore knee I thought it would be best to call it a day. I walked back to a cafe near our room and waited for the girls to come back and meet me a few hours later. I was gutted I couldn’t see the festivities but I definitely made the right decision as I had already over worked myself.
After what felt like a very short 72 hours in Cologne we were back at the airport ready to go home.
I really did love Cologne and although it didn’t take my breath away like Wroclaw, I think I should give it another chance when I am not struggling to walk. There’s so much more I need to do, including actually visiting the carnival.