Day 11: To Cologne (Köln)

I’m on my way to Cologne now, having some breakfast at L’Alizé.  It’s a small restaurant inside of Gare du Nord.  I don’t think I mentioned this before but Gare du Nord is basically where all the high-speed trains stop in Paris.  It’s at least one of the major stations, kind of like Union station in Toronto.  I’m taking my usual train around central Europe, Thalys.  It’s the fastest high-speed train they have in Europe, and it can be very cheap if you book your ticket 15 or 30 days in advance.  I’ll explain tips on booking train tickets in another post.  I’ll probably make a tips section sometime soon.

… (hours later)

I made it to Cologne (Köln).  I somehow managed to sleep a bit on the train but it was really uncomfortable.  After getting off the train I hailed a taxi and gave the driver the address to my hotel.  It was so silly! My hotel was literally 100 meters away from the train station, I probably could’ve walked.  But the tab was only 6€.  The hotel I’m staying at is really nice.  Its called St. Martin Rhein Hotel.  The view I have is great and the area is really lively.  Lots of restaurants down below, kind of like le quartier latin in Paris, but somehow it feels a lot more different.  The only downside to this hotel so far is that there’s no elevator.  I struggled carrying my 40lbs suitcase up to the third floor.  Overall though it’s really good.  The front desk people are really friendly and helpful.  Also, after my initial check of the room, I have to say, it’s really clean!

Wiener and Pretzel After grabbing some famous German wieners and a pretzel I walked around the area around my hotel.  My first impression of Cologne is it’s awesome here; granted this is a tourist area.  In comparison to Paris, I think I like it here a bit more, but we’ll see what I find in the following days.  This place actually reminds me a lot of Hong Kong’s better shopping areas.  Just outside my hotel there’s a nice quay or wharf.  I get a decent breeze into my room so it isn’t too hot and the view is a good addition.  And also, there’s lot of really good live music playing all over the area.  However, I hope it stops around after 11, I’d like to get some sleep.

I had no idea about this either but there’s a rather large Chinese disaporic community in this area.  Actually, quite a few waiters I’ve seen around the hotel are Cantonese-Chinese.  I had one of the waiters come up to me and ask if I was Chinese.  Ended up having a conversation where he spoke Chinese and replied back in English with a lot of sign language.  But, it’s even more impressive when they start speaking German.  At least to me, the German here sounds so much nicer then what Hollywood likes to show us.

After walking around for a bit, I stopped by Starbucks to get a Java Chip Frap with soya (or soja pronounced the same way).  Cost me a pretty 4€ slightly cheaper than Paris!  It was quite nice there, quiet too.  Sat down a surfed the net for a bit.

Here are some photos I took while walking around town.  I saw this Asian buffet place while walking around, might actually eat there tomorrow.  I haven’t touched Asian food in like 2 weeks now, having withdrawal!

[pe2-gallery class=”alignleft” ] IMG_4509.jpgIMG_4506.jpgIMG_4505.jpgIMG_4504.jpgIMG_4496.jpgIMG_4491.jpgIMG_4489.jpgIMG_4488.jpgIMG_4486.jpgIMG_4483.jpgIMG_4482.jpgIMG_4477.jpg[/pe2-gallery]