Cologne tips, please

Old Sep 28th, 2022, 06:23 PM
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Cologne tips, please

Hi Fodorites,

I am starting a new thread because we will be spending a day or two in Cologne on our way from Frankfurt to Brussels by train. I have not been to Cologne as a tourist destination for many years (like really a long time), and this will be our daughter's first trip to Cologne other than having changed trains here. She is 13 and I am 53, and our mother-daughter trip will be in January 2023 so I am guessing not much other than museums will be on the menu, although we will play it by ear - not averse to walking a bit if the weather is OK. I am looking for hotel recommendations and museum / tourist site recommendations, even from before Covid. Of course we will go to the Cathedral, DD has never seen it. I also don't know the districts particularly well so if you had any thoughts about the best district to stay in, I am all ears. We like languages and art and history, and food, and I speak German, DD is learning.

Lavandula

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Old Sep 28th, 2022, 10:13 PM
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Marriott is well located and nice. Chocolate museum is supposed to be good but I didn’t get there. Other than the Cathedral, I found Cologne to be underwhelming
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Old Sep 28th, 2022, 10:15 PM
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Hallo lavandula,

I don't know if your enjoyment of history includes the recent history of WW2, but Köln was the site of a significant tank battle, which raged all around the Cathedral. Here is one account:

https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2020/1...-cologne-1945/

The battle was recorded by a US Army news crew, and you can find the video on YouTube, and there are a few documentaries on YouTube, too. Also, some of the German and American tank crews have had reunions, and there are good accounts of those online.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 12:01 AM
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Thanks for the tip about the Marriott, joannyc, I will investigate it. I remember Cologne was rebuilt in a pragmatic 1950s style after WWII (hence underwhelming architecture), so perhaps looking at WWII history is apt. Thanks for the link, swandav, I will follow up on that history. It might just put a different spin on the cathedral for us!

Cologne was a choice based partly on the rail connections so I don't have any deep ties to this as an overnight, but a chocolate museum might just make this an important destination for my daughter . I hear there is also a Roman museum here, does anyone know it?

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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 01:21 AM
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Hi again,

Yes, I know it. I walked through it... but it was in the 1980s I think. Yikes I can't believe I didn't think of it. It was stunning.

s
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 02:07 AM
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Hi swandav, thanks again, I have had a chance to read the web account of that battle, it's very interesting, and I am constantly amazed that the cathedral survived the war, so much just didn't. My daughter is visiting her grandmother on school holidays right now but when she returns I will ask her to read that account. Perhaps we can watch that YouTube video together as it's age-restricted and I think if we talk about it afterwards so she understands what she sees, that would probably make that OK in my book. It is quite hard to know at what age do you start seriously teaching about WWII, and how big a bite do you give of the nasty stuff. And I don't think you ever really get modern Germany until you have a good dose of WWII history. I think at 13 she is old enough to start understanding (more than she does now), but I am not yet ready to do concentration camps. That can wait for another trip.

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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 05:19 AM
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Hi again,

If you could find the text or video or documentary of the crews from opposite sides meeting in Köln (I think it was in 1990.... not sure...), that might be the way to introduce or frame this lesson for your daughter. Apparently, they came together, wept, forgave each other, and felt a real bond. The thing to remember is the humanity that unites the common soldier across the borders, etc.

Hope you have a great trip with her!

s
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 07:57 AM
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I visited Cologne with my kids (10 and 13) in 1986. We really enjoyed the archaeological museum (Romano-Germanic Museum). There are many artifacts of daily life in the former Roman colony, and also exhibits about the early Middle Ages.
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 03:41 PM
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Thanks swandav, that is a good suggestion. And thank you bvlenci, too.

It looks like we will do the cathedral and the pedestrian zone with a bit of WWII pre-discussion (the photos in that story show really clearly why the city is ugly, i.e. there was no city left after the bombing), the chocolate museum and the Romano-Germanic Museum (and really I should look up something on the Roman invasion of northern Europe, but maybe the museum will take care of that). And then I think we will be tired out and ready to get on the train. I think we will only spend a day and a half there (one night, arriving from our jetlag hotel, either at Frankfurt Airport or Wiesbaden). Right now I am looking at the Marriott as per joannyc's suggestion and also the Hilton, which is a touch more expensive but seems to have a good location near the cathedral and the archaeology museum. Of course the chocolate museum isn't so close, but that's OK too. (Unless anyone has an opinion that that is a nicer neighbourhood for lodging in.)

I am finding that a lot of the hotels around the time we are looking don't have free cancellation (I am using booking.com), but I am not keen to commit because of the risk that the airlines might pull the rug out from under our feet, so I am willing to pay a little more if we get that cancellation option.

Lavandula


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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 03:47 PM
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A friend recommended the Roman museum to me, but apparently it has been moved due to renovations at the original building. I'm hoping that won't change the exhibits too much. It's now in the Cultural Center, BELGISCHES HAUS (CÄCILIENSTRASSE 46.

I've also bookmarked the Kathe Kollwitz Museum as a possibility because I like the look of the art, and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum is supposed to have Gothic, Renaissance, and Impressionist art. And just because I love mustard - there's a mustard museum/store! We're only planning a day trip though, so there's no way we'll make all these museums. I also thought it would be neat to visit the Duftmuseum im Farina Haus, where Eau de Cologne was invented in 1709. Because...Cologne...
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Old Sep 29th, 2022, 08:20 PM
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Oh, wow, thanks for letting me know about the museum having moved, I didn't know. That might affect where we stay, I will check it out on a map. I think our Brussels part of our visit will be heavy on art museums (my daughter is a budding artist and takes a technical interest in how people made certain types of art), so we might not do much in the way of art museums in Cologne, if we have other options.

We have already had a discussion about the relationship of eau de cologne / 4711 to the city, so perhaps the option of the Duftmuseum would be a good choice for DD. TBH I didn't even know about it but how apt. I wonder if you get to smell exhibits? I will let DD decide, but I really like this idea.

If you are a mustard aficionado, have you been to the Maille shop in Dijon or bought Tierenteyn in Ghent? Two more for you to look out for.

Lavandula
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Old Sep 30th, 2022, 08:08 AM
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No, unfortunately I've not been to Dijon or Ghent, not yet! Adding to list...

Someone in a google review said you can smell the essential oils used to make perfume, and are given a sample at the end, so I know there is some smelling involved! Looks like there is only one English tour per day and has to be booked in advanced. Glad to be doing the research, I am excited about going!
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Old Sep 30th, 2022, 04:19 PM
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Oh, me too! Before I started looking for what we were going to do it was all a bit colourless, even though I've been here before. But I'm really looking forward to this part of the trip now. My daughter is home now and I told her about what you had all suggested and she is really excited. She and I will sit down today hopefully and go through some of the information together, so she will get some choices. However I believe everything will need to be booked in advance - for the chocolate museum you need to book a timeslot. So you can't just wing it by the weather.

I also found another hotel. What do you all think of the following:

https://tinyurl.com/CityClass-Hotel-Residence

This is my new favourite - it's a German hotel as opposed to a foreign chain, much cheaper and in a nice location. If you book with the hotel directly, breakfast is EUR10 as opposed to EUR15 with booking.com

https://tinyurl.com/Marriott-Cologne

This came with joannyc's recommendation, a nice price also and close to the cathedral

https://tinyurl.com/Cologne-Hilton

This is really close to the cathedral and the station, the most expensive of the bunch but easy when arriving / departing.

What do you all think?

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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 12:04 PM
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https://www.cologne-tourism.com/see-...agrances-4711/

A museum about a famous scent seems like it might suit a mother and young daughter.
As an elderly single male, I'd like to visit too. All I know about perfumes (or colognes, if that's more accurate) is that the 4711 address is on the label of the bottle. But I do know that the city, despite its importance, is not overwhelmed with tourist attractions once past the towering cathedral. You can find 4711 in plenty of souvernir shops.
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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 03:41 PM
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Thanks for the tip, Southam, I didn't realise there were two perfume museums in Cologne. Now it will be hard to choose, I think it would be great to visit both! I have strong (scented) memories of my (Dutch) great aunt in the 1970s sitting with a 4711-scented handkerchief pressed to her nose. I sometimes show my classes German ads from the 1950s and 1960s and one ad has young people out dancing and when they are sweaty they all sit down with a bottle of 4711 and pass around hankies drenched with it, pressing them to their face to refresh themselves. I guess nowadays smelling good is less important, or maybe people bathe better nowadays??

Anyway here is my video:

Yes, I think everyone can enjoy perfume, and my daughter is already enthusiastic about the possibility!! We will only be in Cologne for a short time so minimal sights is just fine, hope to add our own impressions in a trip report.

Lavandula

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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 10:10 AM
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Cologne, in my opinion, is not a worthy stop for more than 1day in which to see the Cathedral and have lunch along the Rhine. It was one of Germany’s most bombed cities during the war and unfortunately it feels that way. On the Frankfurt-Brussels rail line is the city of Aachen, which I feel would be a much choice for a day or two enroute to Brussels. Although Aachen was also destroyed in WWII, it seems as it was rebuilt in a less modern way then Cologne. Of course the famous cathedral and the history affiliated with Charlemagne will offer more cultural learning aspects than Cologne. And your 13 year old will love the “Aachener Printen”. On the Cologne Cathedral surviving WWII, and aerial bombing, their is a theory that the cathedral was left intact on purpose for navigational needs for the allied pilots. The twin spires could be seen from miles from the air and as the allied sorties progressed east during the war, they used the cathedral as a navigational reference.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 02:01 PM
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Hi mike1728, thanks for your input. We love Aachen and have been there a few times because we think the same way as you. The last time is within my daughter's memory, so we won't stop there this time. We will be spending a day to a day and a half in Cologne, no more. I remember it is ugly in parts but we are going for the museums and the cathedral, and because we can break the journey between Frankfurt and Brussels there conveniently. Interesting about the spires as a navigational aid. I thought they also left some potential targets alone because of the cultural significance. I know they supposedly did not bomb Wiesbaden because they intended to set it up as a base after the war, nowadays the point of so much rivalry between Mainz and Wiesbaden.

Last time we went to Aachen it was for the Christmas market. This time we will be too late for markets, unfortunately, but I have had some really good tips and opinions from Fodorites on what to do in Cologne and I feel confident of finding plenty to do with my daughter there - in fact, more than I had thought. I will let you all know how I fared.

Lavandula
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Old Oct 20th, 2022, 12:05 AM
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Thank you jeffandreson8694!

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