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Besides the cathedral, what's the best of the best in Cologne?

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Jun 18th, 2008, 07:51 AM
  #1
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Besides the cathedral, what's the best of the best in Cologne?

Travelers: husband & I, plus kids ages 17, 15 and 12

We will be staying a few nights in St. Goar and will be making a day trip to see Cologne cathedral. I'd like to drive there via the shortest route, then drive home along the rivers. I know that there are lots of other churches to see, some Roman sites, etc., but what sights, besides the cathedral, do you consider the "best of the best" in Cologne?
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Jun 18th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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Great art galleries are what I remember of my visit to Cologne
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Jun 18th, 2008, 08:11 AM
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I like the Früh...it's not really a sight though - except during Karneval. www.frueh.de

On a more cultural level- There are the city gates to see, the Rathaus and about a dozen churches.
http://www.romanische-kirchen-koeln.de

There isn't very much of "old" Cologne left unfortunately.

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Jun 18th, 2008, 08:15 AM
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The Chocolate Museum

http://www.schokoladenmuseum.de/index_e.html

The Cog Railway to the top of the Dragons's Rock

http://www.drachenfelsbahn-koenigswi...dex.php?id=118
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Jun 18th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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I'd also suggest taking a daytrip to Aachen. It's fabulous.

Cologne has excellent museums. For a bit more diversion, try the Chocolate Museum.

www.museenkoeln.de

The Kathe Kollwitz museum is not included at the above site, but it is good too.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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The chocolate museum was not very exciting..for me.....but indeed the kids might like it.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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One of the Koelsch establishments. Koelsch is especially nice on a warm day as it is not a heavy beer. Though the 12-year old would be too young to legally sample the wares, he might enjoy observing the unique service rituals in Koeln's Koelsch pubs.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 09:07 AM
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The Cathedral will take some time. Be sure to look for the new Gerhard Richter stained glass window in the Cathedral - it would be worth doing some reading about it in advance, as his design process was very interesting. The window is stunning. You can walk up the tower (a small admission charge). The views are amazing and seeing all of the architecture up close was fabulous. It's a bit challenging to take good pictures because of the fencing they have had to erect up top.

I thought the Romanesque churches were amazing, but my husband only saw them with me to be sociable, and my daughters, if they were with us (ages 20 and 22 now) would have been bored silly. I'm a huge fan of the Romanesque, though...

There are some museums which looked great, but we only had time for the Cathedral and several of the other churches.

Walking along the river is nice, but I just don't know if there is a ton to do for visitors with children the ages of yours.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 09:14 AM
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Thanks so much. I'm trying to decide whether we should just see the cathedral, climb the tower, have lunch and leave for a more leisurely drive down the rivers, or if we should stay in town a bit longer.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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There's an E-Ticket ride across the Rhine called the Seilbahn. Here's their site: www.koelner-seilbahn.de/english
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Jun 18th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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My teenage daughter really likes Cologne. I think she'd happily stay there for a week. It is an easy, friendly, approachable city.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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It really depends when you go...there are lots of events on in Cologne, from wine weeks, to beer festivals, to Karneval, to gay Pride etc
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Jun 18th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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Lawchick, thanks to your post, I looked to see if there were any special events going on when we were planning to be there. The evening that we were planning to go (July 12) there is a huge fireworks display on the Rhine. It would be terrific to attend if we were staying in Cologne, but we are staying in St. Goar and I don't relish an after midnight drive back there.

So...would the city be so crowded during that day that we should choose a different day to go? Or are the fireworks so incredibly spectacular that it would be worth a midnight drive back to St. Goar?
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Jun 18th, 2008, 09:39 AM
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Do you have to drive? We've done the Rhine and Cologne/Bonn numerous times without a car.

Ride a K-D steamer down to Cologne, see the sights, then take the train back upstream. Saves gasoline, parking, tolls maybe, and aggravation. Also moots the night drive upriver.

With a Rhein-Pfalz Land-Ticket, all your ground transport will be included - and you might get a discount on the boat trip.

I would ride the river down to Koenigswinter, take the cog railway up the Drachenfels, then proceed into Cologne on the S-Bahn.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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The KD Steamer sounds cool, but doesn't it take a long time to get there? (Or am I reading the schedule wrong?) It shows it leaving St. Goar at 11:55 and arriving in Cologne at 20:00...of course, by then it would be too late to see the Cathedral.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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There is only one direct connection per day to Cologne by (KD) ship. You would be better off taking the train (about 1.5-2 hrs), which stops right in front of the Cathedral. This way you don't have to worry about parking and you can enjoy a Kölsch beer in one of the many breweries.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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I didn't realize Gerhard Richter did some stained glass windows for the Cologne Cathedral. Have to keep that in mind for the future.
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Jun 18th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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I do like Cologne a lot, but I also would say that it's not a "love at first sight" city. The Cathedral is great, and so are the neighboring museums (Romano-Germanic museum, Museum Ludwig for Contemporary Art) but I would not know how many or what kind of museums your kids will like.

If you stick to your plan to take the car, you could also pay a (quick or long, does not matter, it's for free) visit to the House of German History in Bonn (South of Cologne). It's exihibition features many memorabilia from 1945 to present, including a walk-thru model of an American "raisin bomber" (from the Berlin airlift), or items from the Cold War, Berlin wall, and so on.
It's less an "old-fashioned museum" than a walk thru the decades - and it may appeal more to kids than regular museums.

www.hdg.de (click on the Union Jack for the English version)
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Jun 18th, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Yes yk, indeed it's one of my favourites. The New Yorker did a little piece last month that might interest you.

http://tinyurl.com/5hq7po
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Jun 18th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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We saw the window in September, just days after it was unveiled. There were lots of people who came to the church just to see it.

The window is beautiful and although it appears random at first glance, as we looked at it longer we saw patterns emerging. My husband is especially enamored of the window; we returned to the Cathedral several times to view it. The light streams in at different times of day at different angles and illuminates the walls, floor, and statues of the church with patches of color. We bought a book in the gift shop with the fascinating story of Richter's design process.

Here's a few links:
http://www.wired.com/culture/art/magazine/15-08/pl_arts
http://www.spiegel.de/international/...502271,00.html
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