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Cologne train station and nearby cathedral

Cologne train station and nearby cathedral

May 27th, 2010, 02:57 AM
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Cologne train station and nearby cathedral

We’ll be traveling by train from Brugge to Lubeck and plan on a couple of hours break with a stop in Cologne to visit the famous cathedral, next to the train station. We’ll most likely arrive early afternoon, and it will be a Sunday (if that even matters). Should we just grab a mid-day quick meal at the train station? From previous threads it’s been mentioned that the train station has a number of places to eat. Another place mentioned was a restaurant (name?) just outside the front entrance to the cathedral . We don’t want to spend a lot of time eating; we’d rather have more time in the cathedral and immediate surrounds.
Anything else to see very nearby?
And since the train station is a large one, we assume that there will be a luggage hold. Is that correct?
Thanks for any suggestions.
kathleen is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 03:14 AM
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"it will be a Sunday (if that even matters)"

Well, obviously it does. Sightseers aren't allowed during services: the last morning Mass on Sundays finishes around 1300, and the first evening Mass is at 1700, with Vespers ar 1800. So you've got a fairly tight window.
flanneruk is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 03:26 AM
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Oops! Should have phrased that differently. I was referring to what restaurants may or may not be open, since Sunday hours can be different.

But thank you so much for the information about the cathedral visiting hours. I think between 1300 and 1700 should be fine, definitely more time than we'll be spending here. We'll just pick a train that arrives within the early portion of those available visiting hours.
Suggestions for eating places?
kathleen is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 04:51 AM
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First of all, the luggage storage: Cologne has one of the automated systems you can use..self-service with your money...you put the luggage in and pay; the machine spits out a ticket. When you return you insert the ticket and the locker with your luggage appears and opens. These "luggage storage complexes" are located on the main floor.

As to that restaurant across from the entrance of the cathedral..yes, it is a combo restaurant and bakery and I am sorry I do not remember the name but you cannot miss it if you stand with your back to the cathedral and look across the paved area; the LeMeridien hotel will be to your almost immediate left...you'll see the restaurant with the outside (and inside) tables. It is a great place to relax and just STARE at the bulk of the cathedral (you'll understand this better when you actually GET there because believe me, this building definitely LOOMS over everything in the immediate area. One day I hope they finally get it cleaned up.
Dukey is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 05:53 AM
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>One day I hope they finally get it cleaned up.

It's ongoing project not unlike the actual building of the cathedral. The stone darkens at a faster rate than they get it cleaned up.
altamiro is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 06:27 AM
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There are plenty of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating within a 250 meter radius of the cathedral. I would stow the luggage and head right outside view the perimeter of the cathedral and then select a spot to have a bite as you walk around. I don't have any particular recommendations, but you should be fine for a light lunch. If you have a chance, have a glass of Kölsch.
Woyzeck is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 07:12 AM
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Thanks everyone. We are looking forward to seeing this cathedral, and it seems the perfect stop on the long ride between the two cities. A beer and light lunch with a view of the cathedral in sight sounds perfect too!

The luggage storage system sounds simple. Thanks for the clarification.
kathleen is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 07:25 AM
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FWIW, if you stroll south of the cathedral along the Rhine, you will find many cafes and restaurants in a picturesque setting. That would be if you have a little more time to take your time. If you've only got a couple of hours, it makes sense not to stray too far from the cathedral/train station area.
Woyzeck is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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re: anything else to see nearby - I've only been in Cologne for the day at Christmas time, but after visiting the cathedral (and the Christmas markets - although I assume that's not the time of year you're going), we really enjoyed walking down by the Rhine. It's an easy walk from the cathedral/train station. As you wander the few blocks to get there you will see a real mix of the modern and the ancient and everything in between - you see excavations of Roman ruins, buildings that look like the prototype for Sleeping Beauty's castle, and modern urban architecture. It was freezing cold when we were there but we still enjoyed walking along the river very much.

There are also several museums very close to the cathedral - variously specializing in collections of modern art, fine art from the medieval period to the 20th century, and the Roman history of Cologne.

There are zillions of cafes and restaurants within a few blocks of the cathedral - so there will be lots and lots of places you can grab a quick meal.
NorCalif is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 11:55 AM
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You can visit the cathedral all the time - even during services. During services it is just not possible to walk around, but experiencing a real service in such a cathedral is quite a thing. Services do not last longer than an hour. Come back when it is over and see the shrine of the Three Magi.

Inside the train station there is a number of fast-food eateries, some of them serving really good food. Given your time constraints, I would recommend that you take your meal just there. An alternative would be eating on the train.

If you prefer typical regional fare in historic ambiance, the Früh brewery is THE place to go. It is about 100 yards from the cathedral in southern direction. You cross the square south of the cathedral to go there.

In any case, I recommend to visit the Roman-Germanic Museum which is also located at this square - they have breathtaking exhibitions. You find there spectacular 2000-year old glasswork and the very best in this world.
Echnaton is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 02:12 PM
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You know, this always happens. You pick an exciting, historical, interesting place for a quick stop on your way to somewhere else. You ask questions, receive answers—lots of valuable informative answers—and you find that you need three times the amount of time that you had originally allotted.

Now, what we would like to do is: stay longer to do the pleasant walk along the river, visit the Roman-Germanic Museum (which sounds fascinating), eat at a half dozen appetizing spots, linger inside and walk the outside circumference of the cathedral, and who knows what else while there.

We have to remember that we need to get to Lubeck before too late into the evening (we already emailed the hotel to say we’d be arriving late into the evening hours).

But thank you everyone for all these suggestions. We’ll linger as long as we can, and add it again to a future trip with a few night’s stay.

kathleen is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 03:50 PM
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Kathleen, there's also a chocolate factory on the river to the south that you MUST squeeze in!
Woyzeck is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 05:16 PM
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I agree about the chocolate factory, it was pretty awesome and an easy walk from the cathedral on the river. There is a museum and you can also see the factory line where they make the chocolate and try a fresh sample!
lindy27 is offline  
May 27th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Pretty soon she'll be asking for hotel recommendations.

Funny thing is for me Cologne has plenty of great things to see and do to be well worth a day, even an overnight, but I couldn't imagine spending more than a day or two there.
Woyzeck is offline  
May 28th, 2010, 01:49 AM
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Kathleen, the good thing about Cologne is that the main attractions are within a very compact area.

So your plan is easily doable and does not require too much time. If time allows, you may walk the look from the train station to the Cathedral (Dom) to Roman Germanic Museum to the river Rhein along the riverbank to the Old Town then westwards to the medieval City Hall (there are fantastic Roman ruins underneath the City Hall including a walkable 2000-year-old sewer - it is called "Praetorium" and the entrance is easily overlooked at the side of the City Hall) and than back to the station over the main shopping street. If you have time for the Chocolate Museum, walk a bit further southwards along the riverbank and after the museum visit back northwards. Cologne and Aachen are the chocolate capitals of Europe - most of the chocolate which is sold under the Swiss (!) brand name "Lindt" is produced here. BTW, the chocolate family Ludwig has also sponsored a world-class museum of modern art (Museum Ludwig) which is right besides the Roman-Germanic Museum.

As said, you can get quick bites within the train station (there is quite good selection in a transversal aisle between the two main aisles) and later on the Hohe Straße.
Echnaton is offline  
May 28th, 2010, 02:49 AM
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I found Cologne to be a disappointment. The cathedral is big. So are lots of others and I really didn't think this one was special - correction, they are ALL special, wonderful, etc but Cologne is not superior to any of the other major Gothic cathedrals in Europe. But since you are passing through it would definitely be worth a few hours. We walked across the bridge for the view of the cathedral and bridge together. We also walked along the river front and that was nice. There are a handful of buildings that weren't destroyed in the war, but unlike many other European cities that suffered extreme war damage, Cologne chose to build new rather than rebuild (for the most part). You should be fine with a few hours, and the train station did indeed have some decent fast food.
isabel is offline  
May 28th, 2010, 04:38 AM
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Okay, so with my jogging shoes on, step off the train, stow the luggage, gab a bit to eat at the train station, visit the cathedral, grab a kolsch outside and view the cathedral, visit the Roman-Germanic museum, go to the Fruh brewery for another beer, stroll the river, cross it and look back to see the cathedral and bridge, beer at another café in a picturesque setting, go to the chocolate factory and museum, eat some chocolate samples, then to City Hall with Praetorium ruins underneath, another beer and bite to eat-- maybe choose a pastry outside the cathedral, pick up luggage, hop on train and settle in for the remainder of the trip

Seriously though, I think the cathedral, something to eat, and maybe, just maybe, the Roman-Germanic Museum will be enough. I’m a big fan of museums, so this may be hard to pass up, for me.

Thank you all. We’re leaving this Sunday from US and all this should take place the following Sunday. So, if you see a couple zipping around the train station and cathedral area; that will be us.
kathleen is offline  
May 28th, 2010, 05:00 AM
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I second the recommendation for Fruh. We ate dinner there and it was wonderful and the location is perfect for getting back to the train at the end of your day.

We were a bit underwhelmed with Cologne as well. We did go to the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and the Ludwig, as we both love museums. They were ok, but we'd certainly seen better collections elsewhere on that trip.
amyb is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 02:05 AM
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In 30 minutes you can climb the cathedral tower for an amazing view. It costs 2.5 euros as i recall, open till about 4pm or 5pm in summer. Entrance to tower climb is to the rigt of the main cathedral entrance doors, along side the cathedral itself. 533 steps, no lift!
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  

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