Got to my bus in the morning, was one pleased that the air was cooler! Was asleep for most of the bus ride, but halfway through it rained and I felt so comfy. I love being in a vehicle when it's raining! Except when it's crazy heavy and I'm driving. But yeah. That was nice.
When I got to Köln it was 11am. From the bus I'd seen the Kölner Dom already, and it took my breath away. When I emerged from the 'right' side of the hbf, there it was again, and I admired how tall it was, how elegantly Gothic. Dumped my bags, ate leftover pizza, and headed back to it. Inside it was gorgeously high. I don't know why I was so enraptured by this cathedral when I'm usually kind of jaded when it comes to churches. Just the picture of it, rising up in the blue sky, with the morning light upon it, is enough to take my breath away. But it was really nice, I spent like 5 min walking around the interior with my head tilted up and eyes raised. Nice. And then I paid 1.5 to climb the 533 steps up one of the towers. Tough climb but I made it.
When at the hostel (station hostel) I talked to the receptionist a while, asking about where to go and eat. The hostel is pretty awesome actually, they have a free map with lots of tourist info on it. Really helpful. And there's a free walking tour in cologne! At 6pm everyday.
The hostel, and the hbf, is in the centre of the city but to the east. I walked south, roughly heading for Severins Tor, and letting myself drift left and right when I felt like it. And the South East side of cologne is really nice actually, lots of nice architecture.
Saw a lot of nice things, but one of the churches was cool. I think it was Mauritius. It wasn't very big, the inside was a pastel grey (if there is such a thing) which is a very sweet, gentle and warm colour, and was livened with some red/pink, blue, and yellow here and there. Not a lot, the quietness of the grey was dominant, but the colours gave the church extra vitality and sweetness. I liked that this church wasn't overly decorated, like the Dom and most other churches. It was very pretty, laid back, unpretentious.
Had a snack close to the tor in the middle of a green green field then roughly north West til I reached the place where the tour was to begin.
I was early so I sat and read lady chatterleys lover, until it was almost time and I began to freak out cos I didn't know exactly where it was. I even tried to Google and see if I could find it, but it somehow doesn't exist on the internet. Finally though, after wandering further I saw someone who might be the tour guide and yay it was.
Tour guide was from Seattle, the only other people were a Brazilian couple. So just a very small group. Who can blame anyone, publicity so bad haha. He was a fun guide but a bit unprofessional haha, like 'I have to take a photo of you guys in front of the dom because my bosses say so'. But it was good because I saw everything I'd wanted to see in cologne, my own walking and with the tour! That was the plan, and the plan was fulfilled. Yes.
One cool thing I learnt was that cologne was founded by Julius Caesar himself! Back when he was still just a general. Helped one tribe on the right side of the river to conquer that on the left side. And then started a proper settlement there. Also, he took some right side soldiers with him for his campaign, because they were so good at crossing rivers in full battle armour, while still staying in position. What a cool special ability hahaha. Imagine that in a game.
Cologne is also really the place that cologne was invented. (French fries are Belgian) and I knew this from my perfumes module already, but cologne is not necessarily for men, the technical term refers to any citrus scent. Cologne was invented by an Italian family living in cologne, and later another family basically ripped them off and sold the same, but renamed their brand 4471 after legal issues. And then it became world famous and cologne became not the name of a specific scent but for all citrus scents, and then unofficially also for all guy's scents. And why that number? It's something to do with Napoleon but I'm too lazy to type that out.
Went up to a pub near my place, that the receptionist had recommended. I passed over all the pork this time for a herring filet and potatoes, with gaffel Kölsch! Kölsch is a light beer local to Köln, or cologne (I feel like saying endemic lol). In pubs it's sold in 200ml glasses. And they put a mark on your coaster the first time you order. And when you finish a glass they'll replace it with a full one and add another mark, until you put the coaster on top of the glass.
I went back and then began desperately to find a cheap way to Aachen. Both train and bus is ridiculously expensive, 15 eur one way when it's only 45min! So I tried bla bla car and mitfahrgelegenheit, two car sharing sites, but basically it was too last minute and no one could get back to me on that sigh. But it could have been 2 to 5 eur only. So I gave up, and decided to go to bonn instead, which is nearer and thus cheaper. I was so broke it wasn't funny.
Overall I liked cologne a lot. Most people have said that cologne isn't the prettiest place, and disparage it, but I honestly liked the architecture.
And on a conclusive note, the weather was so much better than the days before!!!! 24 degrees at the highest I think, which is a little too warm when actually in the sun, but totally fine compared to before. Gorgeous (comparatively) weather.