Cologne / Koln

July 13, 2012 at 10:00 am | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Back in 2011 while some friends went to the massive GamesCom in Cologne (Koln in German) I busied myself with being a tourist. I didn’t get to everything on my list but I am happy with those that I did. While the hotel (the excellent Radisson) was a bit far out, luckily it was less than a twenty minute walk, with most things close together.
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Without further ado:

Cologne Cathedral – you can take a look inside the cathedral, it’s impressive treasury and climb to the top for a view of the city. I did it with a backpack which on some of the tighter turns up the stair well was a little problematic. The cathedral is right near the station and remarkably survived the bombings of the war so make sure to check it out.
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Hohenzollern Bridge – do you have a lover, a boyfriend or girlfriend? Perhaps you want to seal that love with a lock on the side of this pedestrian and rail bridge. There are thousands covering the entire length of all varieties, some with messages too.
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Chocolate museum – A chocolate museum (sponsored by Lindt) sounds like an excellent thing. For the most part finding out about the chocolate cultivation, logistics and consumption was alright but the number of people there made it less than enjoyable. Also I was rather disappointed that the restaurant that had a great chocolate cake didn’t have the option for mochas. While they did have an excellent hot chocolate the lack of mochas boggles this chocolate lover. Side note a German friend derided this establishment as having less than great chocolate. I only wish I could remember those!
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Museum of city of Cologne – Offers a good history of the city from ancient to modern times, make sure you stop by for a visit.
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National Socialist Documentation Centre – One of the most impressive and minimalistic museums, in this nondescript building the museum recounts NAZI activity in the lead up to, during and after World War Two. The documentation centre was a prison, detention and execution centre with scrawled messages in the cells providing poignant reminders. I would definitely recommend getting the audio tour as there is limited signage (whether in German or in English). Start from the first floor which provides all the context before heading down to the cells.
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Museum Ludwig – modern art, modern art and more modern art. Again pick up the audio tour. I didn’t get it all (ok most of it) but a lot of it was very cool with some nice views from the outside patio
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Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Koln and enjoyed it a lot. Not least due to the company I was with at the time which allowed for a few drinks and schnitzels!
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Pictures at Flickr

Map at Google

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Frankfurt

February 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Went to Frankfurt in 2011. It was pleasant but hot and I just missed out on their MuseumFest. This is from 2011 so hopefully has improved but from my stay I would not recommend the Mercure Hotel Kaiserhof as the description they provided on Expedia didn’t match what was present. I do appreciate Expedia providing swift feedback on this. For example it lists air conditioning in the room but there was only an upright fan.

Other than that I enjoyed walking around the riverfront and modern and historic city centres with its town hall. It may have been that the venues were getting ready for the Fest or I chose the wrong days but several others that I wanted to go to were closed, luckily there were plenty of others.

  • Museum for Moderne Kunst* – Modern art, that’s about it.
  • Goethe-Haus – museum house about Goethe, need I say more? I hope not…
  • Jewish Museum – tells the story of the Jews in Frankfurt over the centuries
  • Sculpture Museum – weirdly this museum covers sculpture, primarily European but also others from around the world
  • Museum of Applied Art* – art from various regions including some modern
  • Museum of Communication – very interesting and much larger than anticipated but covering, as you’d expect communication throughout the centuries. Quite a lot in English too.
  • Caricature Museum –  comics and caricatures good to wander around if that’s your thing
  • Judengasse Museum – an archaeological dig from a Jewish settlement

(* Note: I know I went to a few art galleries but I’m not 100% which ones, think it was those above but Stadel Museum might have been one as well)

I believe I went to a few other museums and churches around town but unfortunately I don’t recall their names. Guess I shouldn’t procrastinate on these things.

As you can see there were plenty of places to go and make sure you plan accordingly.

Photos at Flickr.

Bonn

February 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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In 2011 I visited Bonn in Germany. It’s small but pleasant to walk around, both the small town centre and along the river front.

Kunstmuseum – have a walk around the art gallery particularly the rotating modern ehibits

Beethoven House – birthplace of Beethoven with a large collection, if you’re a fan and/or would like to learn more come here

Bonn Minster – central cathedral with the usual impressive religious interior

‘Haus der Geschichte’ of the Federal Republic of Germany – Bonn was the capital of West Germany and this museum covers the history of Germany since WW2 to today. Plenty of English and a variety of exhibits to keep you interested.

I may have been to other things but between Flickr and two years after the fact I think these are the main attractions I went to.

Photos at Flickr.

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