The interior is just as beautiful, although sadly we weren’t able to see everything during our visit, as there were services taking place when we visited. Everywhere you look, you get the feeling of having just stepped back in time, with the Gothic stalls that date from the early 1300s and the stained glass windows, which were constructed in the 14th century. We stepped inside late in the day and the sun made beautiful colourful images through them.
As with most churches, it was a refreshingly peaceful place, but the nicest thing was that the peace continued outside the cathedral. All too often, major churches are surrounded by traffic, but fortunately that’s something they’ve given some thought to in Cologne and the whole area outside is pedestrianised. In fact, a huge chunk of the city is traffic free, which gives the place a lovely feel.
That feel helps when you get to the old town area. Without cars travelling around, it’s so much easier to appreciate the architecture and history here. Amongst the buildings that can be found here are the Rathaus (town hall), which was started in 1330, the Gurzenich, a beautiful Gothic building with a huge celebration hall. Nearby is the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Foundation Corboud, named after Ferdinand Franz Wallraf, who bequeathed his entire art collection to the city in 1821.
However, during our visit, art of a very different kind was on my mind. As we drove into the city, I spotted the Lindt chocolate museum and instantly I knew that was where I wanted to go. Unsurprisingly, it’s a popular place, with lots of families there for the exhibits and tour, looking at how chocolate is made, including a greenhouse full of cacao trees, and how chocolate's popularity grew over the years. Other exhibits take you through how chocolate was marketed in years gone by, but perhaps the best section is the chocolate production line, which gives you the chance to see how it’s made. The processes that it goes through are fascinating and we lingered a long time in here, just taking it all in.
The chocolate museum is located some distance from the city, but there’s a convenient mini train that runs from there to the cathedral. Considering it’s a good mile from the city centre, the train helps to take the weight off your feet. The rail line also runs up to the Botanical Gardens and, after hearing about how beautiful they were looking, with all the spring flowers coming into bloom, we headed there to check it out for ourselves. We were a little early in the season, but it’s a great place to visit, especially for those on a budget, as there’s no entry charge. The greenhouses here house special exhibits and we were lucky enough to experience a selection of camellias, amongst the biggest collections in Germany.
Sadly, we weren’t able to allocate as much time to Cologne as it deserved, but during our whistle stop tour, we were certainly able to see enough to know that it’s a beautiful and thriving city and well worth a visit.
Koln - Lindt chocolate museum
One of the workers in the Lindt chocolate museum in Koln (Cologne). - photo by chezp
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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