🇩🇪 Trip to Germany (Bonn, Cologne, Aachen)
The main goal was to visit Christmas markets.
Historic architecture is epic.
Factories and production.
Architecture and towns
We didn't have much time to spend browsing there, so we took a cable car that gave a great areal view of the fortress and the rivers and sent us to explore a few more impressive historical landmarks.
Emperor William's statue surprised me with its size. Mixed with a bunch of old sculptures from the times of Roman empires, it looked surreal and grand.
Bonn is clearly proud of being the place where Ludwig van Beethoven was born. The centre is peppered with statues, artwork, posters, etc. Felt a bit too much and I got the impression that this is the primary "win" of this city.
In the evening, we hit the Christmas market and enjoyed it quite a lot! Tried the sausages, fried potatoes, and of course the mulled wine. One of my colleagues recommended adding a shot of amaretto liquor and it did not disappoint =)
Overall, the atmosphere was very cheerful and lovely! Also, barely survived the crazy ride on their carousel 🎡.
Or should I say Köln? It's 2 completely different words, how did this happen?
We decided to take a train instead of driving, and it went pretty well. The cathedral was shockingly massive! I think it was built over the course of 600+ years. Can you imagine? 😲
Went for a stroll along the river, and historic centre, stopped by the main Christmas market (which was very crowded), and later had an excellent dinner. People were pushing through crowds while holding lit cigarettes. I am surprised we didn't get a burn on the clothes or skin 🙈
On the way back, we decided to take a different route and stop by a town next to the Belgian border, which also turned out to be one of the oldest towns in Germany (Wiki).
The initial plan to stop by for a quick 1-hour break turned into 3+ hours of walking and eating =) They have a pretty cool cathedral, too.
After 12+ years in Vancouver, carrying cash got out of habit. Credit and debit cards are accepted everywhere. Germany, on the other hand, is very fond of cash. Particularly, Christmas markets. It was practically impossible to find a place that accepted cards. Going backwards...
🚾 Restrooms are paid
Paid public restrooms are very common here. Even in restaurants, their restroom in the basement usually has a jar for change and a person sitting next to that jar and saying hello and goodbye. Very weird. Occasionally, the person cleans the floor, then sits back down and just waits for the money. 🤔
🚬 Everybody smokes cigarettes
My biggest complaint about Germany (and most of Europe, from what I understand). Makes me very upset. Vancouver was so clean compared to Germany. Though
🏭 So many factories and production
While driving through that region of Germany (North Rhine-Westfalia), we saw a lot of factories of various sizes, so much production is going on. Wikipedia calls this region "Germany's powerhouse with the largest economy among the German states by GDP figures". Made an impression that the economy is booming there.
Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne, and Aachen - recommend.