During our stay in Belgium, we decided to make a day trip to Köln. There are regular train services connecting Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel-Zuid to Köln. And if you have more time to spare – it might be a good idea to stay the night – before continuing towards Düsseldorf, Berlin & Hamburg. We skipped the train and opted to drive (with family) to Köln. The distance between the two cities is 225 km and according to Google maps, it should take roughly 2 hours. However, it’s a wise idea to carry along your GPS and a route map. I don’t remember much from the drive, maybe because we had to pay attention to the route. But I do remember, the route gives you a sneak peek of the countryside – showcasing picturesque houses, dense forests (occasionally) and vast open spaces.
The First Two Hours – Giving into Hunger
We reached shortly before lunch. After briefly marvelling the Dom architecture, we chose a cafe (opposite) to satiate our hunger pangs. Although, there are many cafes to choose from, it might be best to come before peak lunch hour. We were lucky to get a cool spot with a direct view of the Dom. We ordered a schnitzel, chicken in white sauce, and pasta. Although it was a sunny day, we enjoyed our meal in the cool shade and the perfect view in the front of us.
The Next Two Hours – Exploring the fascinating architecture of the Dom
The Dom or Köln Cathedral forms an impressive backdrop to the clear blue skies. It would be difficult – to take a clear shot of its front façade – without a tourist photo-bombing your frame. Basil tried his luck, patiently. I preferred to get lost in its architecture. Since we weren’t on a guided tour – we had to frequently check our notes. There were intricately carved statues everywhere. Around the arch, on the pillars, and quite naturally inside the cathedral as well. With limited light entering the Dom, it was cold and the grey stone contributed further to an eerie feeling. Music echoed through the towering archways and seemed to drown out tourist banter. As with most European churches, the Dom had its fair share of paintings depicting scenes from the bible. There’s much to see and we would recommend you spend more time. Two hours might seem less.
The Last Two Hours – Name spotting animals in the Zoo
OK! So visiting the Zoo shouldn’t be your priority, especially if you’ve got only 6 hours in Koln. Besides, I’ve got mixed feelings when it comes to zoos. I’d rather see them in the wild. But, my nephew loves animals and waited patiently through lunch and the Dom tour. It was now time for his reward. We were tired and chose to walk along the pre-designated walkways. My nephew rushed through, eagerly looking for the next animal or bird. There’s a kids’ park, souvenir shop and refreshment stalls. So if you’re travelling with kids – don’t miss this!
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