ケルン
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ケルン:生きる喜びに満ち溢れる場所。

もし、生きる喜びや祝う楽しみを司る遺伝子が存在するなら、ケルンっ子たちはたくさん受け継いでいるに違いありません。 というのもケルンは、心に響くもの ─ たとえば、人生を基本的にポジティブなものとして捉えるスタイルやフィーリングなど ─ を大事にしているからです。 その中には、カーニバルやケルシュ (ケルンの伝統的ローカルビール) 、そしてもちろんケルン大聖堂が含まれます。

「ケレ・アラーフ」の声が響くと、ケルンの市街地はカーニバルやファステルオーヴェントといった名前で呼ばれる “非常事態期間” に突入します。 そして「灰の水曜日」前の一週間などは、「完全に混乱して分別を失った」という表現でもまだ足りないような状態になるのです。 カーニバルは、もちろんケルンでも11月11日の11時11分に始まり、他の都市と同じように「灰の水曜日」で終わります。 とはいえ、他の場所のカーニバルと共通しているのは、それぐらいなものです。とりわけ最後の週に、街中が “ストリート・カーニバル” の舞台と化すと、誰もが「ケルンのカーニバルは特別だ」と感じるはずです。 ちなみに、アルター・マルクトやホイマルクトのあたりに多い、昔風で居心地の良いクナイペ (ドイツ風居酒屋) 、あるいは旧市街に点在する大型ビアホールでは、ケルン特有の “生きる喜び” に一年中ふれることができます。 これらの店では、ケルンの “国民的酒” であるケルシュが樽から注がれて、ライン地方の郷土料理がテーブルに並べられ、「この都市は一年中カーニバルなのではないか」と思わせるほどの、陽気な雰囲気に包まれます。 さまざまなケルシュの銘柄があり、味もそれぞれ個性があり、もちろんいずれも自社醸造されています。 ケーベスと呼ばれる給仕たちは、店内の喧噪から一定の距離を保ち、自らの原則を守ります。ある種のぶっきらぼうさが、真のケーべスのトレードマークなのです。 ケルンの “生きる喜び” を、わずかにしろ妨げている唯一のものが、ライン川の下流約30キロメートルの場所にあるデュッセルドルフです。この幾分洗練された “妹” の存在は、どうもケルンっ子たちには目障りに映っているようなのです。

週末になると、地元の人間も旅行者も、若者も学生も、市内に無数あるディスコやクラブ、バー、レストラン、ラウンジに繰り出します。人気のエリアは、 (パリの学生街に因んだ) カルチェ・ラタンやフリーゼン界隈、ベルギッシェス地区、ズュートシュタットなどで、以前は工業地区だったエーレンフェルトも最近この中に含まれるようになりました。 よく嬉しい驚きとなるのが値段です。ケルンは、この規模の大都会としては、比較的物価が安いのです。 ケルンには、カーニバルやクナイペ、ビアホールを別にしても、いろいろ自慢できるものがあります。たとえば、活気のあるアート&ミュージック・シーンもそのひとつです。1,700席を擁する市内最大の劇場ミュージカル・ドーム・ケルンは、スペクタクルな舞台で知られていますし、ドイツ最大のゲイ&レズビアン・イベントであるクリストファー・ストリート・デイなども開催されています。 ちなみに、1.FCケルンのホームゲームもまたイベントといえますが、いつもファンの (時に過大な) 期待に応えるのは少々難しいようです……。

一方、常に期待を満たしてくれるのが市内のミュージアム、中でもピカソやウォーホル、リキテンシュタインの作品があるルートヴィヒ博物館です。 他にも、ケルン2000年の歴史を紹介するローマ・ゲルマン博物館、中世から19世紀までの美術品を展示しているヴァルラフ・リヒャルツ美術館、そしてスイーツファンに人気のチョコレート博物館などがあります。 ケルンのフィーリングを満喫した後で「少々休憩を」という人には:市内最大にして最も美しい公園に数えられるライン公園が、ライン川右岸 ─ ケルンっ子に言わせれば「間違った側」 ─ にあり、ロープウェイでライン川を越えて行けます。 さらに、もう少し時間の余裕があるなら:ケルン・トライアングルのビジター展望台では、地上100メートルの高みから、ケルンの旧市街や大聖堂への素晴らしい眺望 ─ おそらく市内で最高の眺め ─ を楽しめます。 良く晴れた日には、デュッセルドルフまで見渡せるかも知れません ─ ただし、見えたとしてもケルンの友人には言わないでください。

Highlights

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Christmas Markets in Cologne

A White Christmas in Cologne

My notions of winter in Europe have been shaped by Hollywood movies. I expected to watch snowflakes romantically descend upon short winter days, and the cosy glow of Christmas trees in makeshift homes (think boutique hotels) to keep me warm. What surprised me on my December trip to Germany was the camaraderie and sheer revelry at the country’s famous Christmas markets, compelling enough to brave the single digit temperatures and rejoice over a white winter! If the thought of Europe evokes images of quaint old churches in juxtaposition with hi-tech buildings, and old towns with cobbled streets and artistic cafes, a winter trip to Cologne only romanticizes those images further. Come December, chirpy little Christmas Markets pop up among the city’s most charming neighborhoods, and become the go-to place for the city’s locals. Colorful booths line the streets, selling traditional German and Christmas gifts, like the famous Räuchermännchen, a wooden toy that is an incense smoker in disguise. Food stalls serve up hash browns, frankfurters, crepes, and local delicacies. People gather around drinking glühwein, the famous mulled wine of Europe warmed with spices, chatting, warming up over some neighborhood gossip. Christmas music plays everywhere, and the night rings with the clinking of cups and prost. Such revelry! At the Christmas Market on the Alter Markt in Cologne, local craftsmen and women demonstrate their talents with wood crafts, crystal painting and glass glazing; it is fascinating to observe the precision and pride that goes behind each little piece of work, and meet men and women who have come to these markets since they were little boys and girls. But the icing on the cake in a festive Cologne is its main market, which glitters in the dramatic backdrop of the city’s oldest and most charming cathedral; truly a European Christmas!

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shivyanath@gmail.com

Früh am Dom

Best brauhaus in Cologne!

If you are feeling thirsty after your tour of the stunning Cologne Cathedral, pop into the Fruh Brauhaus which is located right across from the Dom. For such a touristy location, it is surprisingly packed with locals which is refreshing. (Recent survey found that 70% of the clientele were from the city) The 'kolsch', the local beer served here is also very refreshing. Not too gassy so it goes down well, especially in the unique little 200ml glasses they serve the beer in. The food is good here, generous portions. Altogether a great place to relax in and have a few glasses of the awesome Kolsch.

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europebudgetguide@gmail.com

Köln Arkaden

Great indoor shopping Cologne - Köln Arkaden

You can spend hours and hours doing some shopping in Cologne or the cities close by. But too often, the cold and wet weather makes you feel more like curling up at home or in the hotel. So if you are not up to running through the rain just to get some souvenirs oder shopping goods, Cologne (and North Rhine Westphalia) has some great indoor shopping malls to explore! Köln Arkaden You can find 'Köln Arkaden' in Cologne Kalk. This is a very modern building with about 180 Shops. You can get there by tram or car although there are not that many parking spaces available. You can find a good array of shops in here, especially kids will be quite happy thanks to some huge toy stores. This mall has more a 'grab what you need and leave' feeling while the others are more inviting to spend some time in. But this mall is good for some great Late Night Shopping! Opening Hours Köln Arkaden Monday to Thursday 10 am - 8 pm Friday and Saturday 10 am - 10 pm every 1st Saturday 10 am - 12 pm www.koeln-arcaden.de

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Heike@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Mexx Outlet Korschenbroich

Great indoor shopping Cologne - Mexx Outlet Korschenbroich

You can spend hours and hours doing some shopping in Cologne or the cities close by. But too often, the cold and wet weather makes you feel more like curling up at home or in the hotel. So if you are not up to running through the rain just to get some souvenirs oder shopping goods, Cologne (and North Rhine Westphalia) has some great indoor shopping malls to explore! Mexx Outlet Korschenbroich I love Outlet Shopping. There are not that many close to Cologne but one worth a visit is the 'Mexx Outlet' in Korschenbroich which is close to Neuss an not that well known. You can only go there by car and the drive lasts about 30 minutes from Cologne. Visiting this outlet is especially a tip for parents with young kids as you can get really good bargains (30-70% off) when you are looking for Baby clothes or kids outfits but they also have a good women and men section. It is never really crowded so you will always get a parking space. The Outlet looks and feels like a regular shop so there are no rummage tables around that make you feel uncomfortable and there are enough dressing rooms. There is even a small café in it with good coffee and cakes. Tipp: Visiting at the beginning of the week (Tuesday/Wednesday) and you'll have much more choices as they bring in new stuff every week. No special website available for this location. Opening Hours Mexx Outlet Monday to Friday 10 am - 7 pm Saturday 10 am - 6 pm Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 9 41352 Korschenbroich

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Heike@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Die Wohngemeinschaft

Cafes and Bars in Cologne - Die Wohngemeinschaft

Cologne is a lively city on the river Rhine, smaller than Berlin but still a city not to be missed when in Germany. It offers sights such as the UNESCO World Heritage listed cathedral, a high concentration of museums and galleries, shopping streets, old town alleys and cafés and bars with a laid back flair. The “Kölsche lifestyle” is catching – reason enough to come to Cologne! Die Wohngemeinschaft This place is unique as it is decorated like a real apartment, a flat share to be precise. Like in any shared apartment, the kitchen is the heart of it all – in this case this is the café and bar downstairs, where you will get coffee, pastries and snacks during the day. At night a DJ will turn this place into a dance floor and bar. If that’s too much of workout for you, you can simply hang around in one of the many individually designed rooms of the fictitious roommates and sip your drink. Die Wohngemeinschaft Richard-Wagner-Straße 39 50674 Köln 0221 39760904 www.die-wohngemeinschaft.net Opeming times: Daily 15:00 until 02:00

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angelika@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Café Feynsinn

Cafes and Bars in Cologne - Café Feynsinn

Cologne is a lively city on the river Rhine, smaller than Berlin but still a city not to be missed when in Germany. It offers sights such as the UNESCO World Heritage listed cathedral, a high concentration of museums and galleries, shopping streets, old town alleys and cafés and bars with a laid back flair. The “Kölsche lifestyle” is catching – reason enough to come to Cologne! Café Feynsinn This spot serves probably the best breakfast in town. When you step in you might feel like you have just boarded a time machine. Old chandeliers hang from the ceiling, which is decorated with romantic stucco and a beautiful painted sky. For our breakfast you will be given little menus where you can choose between organic scrambled eggs, croissants, various cheeses and even homemade marmalade. Lunch and dinner are also available. Herbs come from their own little garden and many other used products from the region. All ingredients are organic, the coffee comes from fair trade partners plus Café Feynsinn is part of the slow food movement. So indulge their great food and enjoy the cozy atmosphere and treat yourself to this little gem in Cologne. Café Feysinn Rathenauplatz 7 50674 Köln 0221-240 9210 www.cafe-feynsinn.de Opening times: Monday to Thursday 9:00 until 01:00h, Friday 09:00 until 02:00, Saturday 09:30 until 02:00 and Sunday 10:00 until 01:00

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angelika@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Keimaks

Cafes and Bars in Cologne - Keimaks

Cologne is a lively city on the river Rhine, smaller than Berlin but still a city not to be missed when in Germany. It offers sights such as the UNESCO World Heritage listed cathedral, a high concentration of museums and galleries, shopping streets, old town alleys and cafés and bars with a laid back flair. The “Kölsche lifestyle” is catching – reason enough to come to Cologne! Keimaks The most interesting combination of a bar, café and restaurant in Cologne is surely the Keimaks just around the university of arts near Chlodwigplatz. This tiny spot may at first just look like a cocktail bar, but turn around and have a closer look – tot he right and in the back you will find tables to sit down and a huge menu on the wall with a small but tasty collection of an interesting variation of Mediterranean, Asian, regional and even French cuisine. The drinks are spectacular. Keimaks serves -as you may have guessed right in the first place- great cocktails and fine wines. Keimaks Kurfürstenstraße 27 50678 Köln 0221 312670 Opening times: Monday to Friday 18:30 until 01:30, Saturday and Sunday 13:30 until 01:30

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angelika@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com

Rhein Center Köln

Great indoor shopping Cologne - Rhein Center Köln

You can spend hours and hours doing some shopping in Cologne or the cities close by. But too often, the cold and wet weather makes you feel more like curling up at home or in the hotel. So if you are not up to running through the rain just to get some souvenirs oder shopping goods, Cologne (and North Rhine Westphalia) has some great indoor shopping malls to explore! Rhein Center Köln The Rhine Center Cologne is about 7 kilometers out of the city centre. You can easily get there by car or tram. As I live really close by the 'Rhein Center Köln' I am used now to its quite confusing parking garages and malls. But the centre was originally built in the early 70's. After the latest massive modernisation, which had to be based on the old structures, more and more great stores moved in. So arriving by car, you might get lost on your first visits. To avoid this, just remember the level you get into and the lift you descend of. That's it. I am quite a big fan of this shopping center although its general feeling is a bit oldschool. A huge hit for the center was probably to get the first Apple Store in Cologne in. You can also find Hollister, Tom Tailor, WE, WE Kids and several nice interiour shops there. There is a food mall on the ground floor - I recommend giving the flying Sushi a try! The only thing is: if you go there with kids, don't waste your time to look for the 'kiddieland'. There is no playground and there is no place to relax with children. Kiddieland is just a place several machines to throw money in to. To get there, you can easily take the car although parking is not free, except Saturday in the afternoon. Avoid the Saturdays before Christmas or be there really early. You can also take the tram Nr. 1 from the city, it takes about 30 minutes from the city to get here. Walking distance from the station to the center: 5 seconds. Opening Times Rhein Center: Mondays to Saturdays 10 am - 8 pm www.rhein-center-koeln.de

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Heike@reiseblogger-kollektiv.com