The first thing we did when we reached Köln was to pose in front of the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) and take pictures.
Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom, is a renowned monument of Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site. Construction of Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880. It is 144.5 metres (474 ft) long, 86.5 m (284 ft) wide and its towers are approximately 157 m (515 ft) tall. It is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day.
After making our rounds around the Dom taking pictures, we went for fish burgers, hot chocolates (for the boys) and coffees (for us parents)! Azmi and Yassin both had two fish burgers each. Imagine how hungry they were. We later made our way to Köln Old Town via the shopping streets. We found Hard Rock Cafe! Bought some stuff for the boys, a pink bracelet for me as well as things that Marzie had asked me to help buy for her husband’s collection.
A shopping street full of people.
He did this to all the sculptures out there! Funny boy. His hobby is picking his nose, by the way.
We walked about 15 minutes before reaching the Old Town. It is situated along the bank of the Rhine River. Approximately 70 percent of the Old Town had been destroyed during World War II and after the war, narrow alleys and the colourful old houses have been carefully rebuilt. The town urbanists managed to recreate façades and structural designs to reminisce the Middle Ages.
The Heumarkt (“Hay Market”) and the adjoining Alter Markt form the heart of the Old Town. Heumarkt is one of the biggest squares in the center of Köln. During the middle ages, this was the place where hay for the horses and other commodities were traded.
A huge equestrian statue which was inaugurated in 1878 in honor of the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III dominates the square. However, this statue that was designed by Gustav Blaeser, fell from its base during World War II, and was later melted down. Only the king’s head and the horse’s hindquarters remained. Based on the remains and photographs, the city commissioned artist Raimund Kittl to reproduce the statue. The reproduction was later installed in 1990. Unfortunately, it could not withstand the weather and time and was removed for re-production in 2007. In 2009, the statue was returned to Heumarkt, hopefully to stay longer this time!
Buildings at Heumarkt.
We later went to the opposite Altermarkt, the largest square in Old Town. Walking through the narrow cobble-stoned alleys, we noticed that the place is overflowing with cafés! So vibrant!
While walking, I found one inspiring gallery shop! It belongs to Jan Künster. Mr. Künster sells Originals paintings, Art Prints, Limited Edition Book, Calendar, Greeting Cards, Postcards, t-shirts and many more. Bought some of his stuff. He is the newest on my role model list. I want to open up a gallery like this.
Me standing outside Jan Künster’s Gallery shop.
We later walked further to Rhine River; the river that remains an important transport route in the city. The river also offers cruise tours for visitors to explore the city.
Husband and son standing at the Rhine River bank. Hohenzollern Bridge seen at the background.
Me foregrounding Rhine River.
We didn’t take the cruise tour but just walked along the riverbank, while watching Great St. Martins and rows of buildings while watching people.
View of Altermarkt from the bank. The tall building is Great St. Martins.
We later slowly walked back through the Old Town back to the shopping mile and back to Kolner Dom to take few more shots before making our way to the hauptbahnhof. [I have more photos on my Instagram account: http://instagram.com/emilayusof. It is not private and you can view my photos without having to add me.]
We took a train to Siegen. Upon reaching Siegen, we waited at the platform for our next ride to Frankfurt. We thought there would be a train right away and waited there. It was about 6pm and getting dark. The temperature had dropped to 3°C. I tried to walk forth and back to warm my body but it was too cold for me that I had to hug my son. A man came to us mumbling something in German while pointing out the lobby. We immediate understood what he was trying to convey and walked along with him to the lobby. There we saw that the train scheduled to Frankfurt would only be arriving at 8.20pm!
At Siegen station.
Lucky there’s hot drinks, snacks and cup soup vending machines in the lobby, the boys got to eat something to warm their bodies. After two hours of waiting, we finally got on the train to Frankfurt and reached the station about 10pm. We had late dinner there before making our way home to Offenbach.
The temperature even dropped lower as we walked from the train station. It was raining and we walked as fast as we could to reach the apartment and put the heater on full blast.