I was recently in Cologne for a work event and had just one day to explore one of Germany’s oldest cities. I found myself centered next to the Rhine river and the city’s Old Town district, Altstadt. With a limited amount of time to explore I opted for a day of strolling through its cobblestoned streets, exploring the cathedral, and ended the night in a German beer house stuffing myself with schnitzel, potatoes, and beer.
You can’t miss Cologne’s massive gothic cathedral as you exit the cities central train station. The cathedral is said to house the remains of the Three Kings and has a shrine dedicated to the wise men. I went in for prayer and a quick look around but could have easily spent hours touring this stunning piece of architecture.
Most of the cities Old Town was destroyed during WWII and had to be rebuilt. I found myself wandering through its narrow cobble-stoned alleys admiring the colorful architecture and visiting its historic town hall. I loved how easy it was to get lost within the Altstadt. The more I got lost the more it felt as if I had taken a step back in time and again I could have spent a bit more time exploring the area.
I ended a day of meandering with dinner at Gilden im Zims located in the old town square. I dined on schnitzel, potatoes and sipped on their locally brewed Kolsch beer. For a non-beer drinker, this was a big deal for me. I figured it would be wrong to not have at least one beer while I was in Germany. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the beer!
My next few days were spent inside the Koelnmesse convention center for the dmexco conference. Two days of mingling with techies and digital marketing folks talking about the latest industry trends. The show was a bit of a sensory overload for me but it was pretty cool to see the variety of booths. My favorite was this booth complete with a swing.
After the conference, my colleagues and I would head out for dinner. The 1st night we dined at XII Apostel an Italian restaurant in Old Town. We sat at a long candlelit table and stuffed ourselves with wine and burrata. Alex was our host for the night and he treated us like family. The food was amazing!
The 2nd night a smaller group of us found ourselves at Poncho’s an Argentinean steakhouse run by a Spanish man named Antonio. Our host Antonio was loud and possibly one of the most entertaining restaurant owners I’ve ever met. His restaurant was busy and had a fairly long wait for those without a reservation. Antonio sat with our group drank a couple of beers and discussed his love for all things soccer. Oh and the food at this restaurant was delicious (tip: if you plan to dine here it is a cash-only restaurant).
My time in Cologne was short and sweet. And although I was in town for work I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the city I was able to explore. I’m really looking forward to coming back next year!