8 August 2016

Travel: Exploring Cologne Day One

The day after the Essence Beauty Bloggers Secrets Party I had decided to make the most of being in Germany and do some sightseeing.
After breakfast we headed to the hotel we'd booked for the second night.  The hotel was the Metro One and for the price I really recommend it!  It was modern, clean and the location was great, just a 15 minute walk away from the cathedral in the city centre.  Myself and Lissa had a refresh before meeting up with the other girls to explore the city!
It was hot, oh boy was it hot! So after walking to the city centre we had a rest stopped and made sure we grabbed a drink before we did something a bit more cultural and went to get tickets for the guided walking tour.  These guided walking tours are such a great way to see a city, especially if your time there is limited.  Not only does it give you an overview of the area, the main attractions and the history, but it helps you get your bearings for further exploration later!  This Highlights of Cologne tour is available in a few different languages, and the tickets and meeting point are all available from the tourist information point, which is right across from the cathedral so you can't miss it. It was well worth the €11 cost, our guide was very knowledgeable and took us to all the main sights in the hour and a half including the cathedral, the river Rhyne, the old town, St Martin's church, the town hall, market place and more, before finishing up in a cologne store, where we got a short history of this historical scent.
Pro tip: if you want to get some genuine cologne while you're here, wait till you're in the airport, it was so much cheaper! I saved about €10 on my bottle.
A couple of members of the gang had chosen to go shopping instead of the tour, so we met up again at the end of the tour.  At this point we tried to get into the cathedral, only to be thrown out because our shoulders were showing.  Now don’t get me wrong, I understand why they have these rules in religious buildings but there were plenty of older women, and men, walking around in strappy vest tops and the staff were really rude.  None of us had jackets as it was so hot so we had to leave, such a shame because it’s a stunning building.  If you are coming to the area, I recommend you bring something to cover up if you want to get past the entrance.
We headed towards Basilica church of St. Ursula to see the bone room but unfortunately it was closed, so we decided to check it out the next day and headed back to the hotel.  Myself, Lissa, Lucinda and Lucy went for a meal at the beautiful, Instagram-worthy restaurant built into the hotel.  This was a rather upmarket steak restaurant and by far the most expensive thing we did.  However, unfortunately we were left disappointed as all our steaks were over cooked and as we had already sent them back once already, we just gave it up as a bad job and ate them anyway.  I’m going to do a post of the food of Cologne so I will cover this in more detail there.
We had planned on hitting up the town at this point, however to be honest, we were all either tired, unwell or both, so we stuck to having cocktails in the hotel bar, which was actually rather lovely. There were lots of laughs and we had a fantastic conversation with the waitress who was absolutely amazing, and an Iranian pop star!  We stayed up late just enjoying ourselves, watching weird youtube videos and drinking cocktails, ready for day 2!

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