レバークーゼン
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レバークーゼン:産業と共に歩んできた都市。

レバークーゼンは、世界企業バイエル社が本拠をおく、工業都市として広く知られています。 とはいえ、決してそれだけではありません。ベルギッシェス・ラント山地の麓という素晴らしいロケーションもあって、様々なレクリエーションが楽しめ、市街地には都会の香りが、郊外には牧歌的な情緒が漂う都市なのです。

(現在レバークーゼンがある) ケルンデュッセルドルフ の間には、長い間いくつかの村が点在するだけでしたが、これらの村が1930年に合併して市になりました。 ここには、すでに大規模な工場が存在していました。ヴェスコットとバイエルは、1863年に現在の ヴッパータール市 バルメン地区にフリードリヒ・バイエル社を設立しましたが、 後に化学会社のレバークスを買収すると、1891年に今日のレバークーゼン市ヴィースドルフ地区 ─ 当時はまだ緑の草原だった場所 ─ に移転してきたのです。 工場の周囲にできた住宅地は、企業家レバークスが自身の地所にちなんでレバークーゼンと名付けました。 このような特殊な成り立ちにもかかわらず、レバークーゼンが工場だけの都市でなく、アイデンティティや個性、独立性を持ち合わせていることは、至る所で見たり、感じたり、時には触れたりできます。 たとえば、毎年秋に「国際レバークーゼン・ジャズ・デイズ」を開催して、レバークーゼンを超地域的なイベント都市に押し上げたレバークーゼン・フォーラムで、あるいは近代的なコングレスセンターや文化センターで。 ちなみにフォーラムは、コンサートや演劇、イベントなどの会場としては、1908年落成のバイエル社「レクリエーションハウス」に次いで、レバークーゼン市内で2つの大きな文化施設の一つです。 オプラーデン地区にある宮殿風の屋敷 “ヴィラ・レーマー” は、レバークーゼン歴史協会が「市の歴史の家」として利用している、都市史への理解を深めるのに絶好の場です。

もちろん、レバークーゼンには現代的な面もあります。たとえば、市の中心部から1キロメートルほどの距離にある、元々は狩猟の館だったモルスブロイヒ宮殿には、モダンアートを中心とする市立美術館が設けられているのです。 絵画と彫刻の作品を400点以上、グラフィックアート作品を約5,000点所蔵している他に、ヨーゼフ・ボイスやゲルハルト・リヒター、アンディ・ウォーホル、ギュンター・ユッカー、イヴ・クライン等を称える企画展も開催されます。 併設の日本庭園は、静寂と美のオアシスとして、四季を通じて親しまれています。 日本庭園のためにレバークーゼンを訪れる人がいることからも、その素晴らしさが分かるはずです。

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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