We did not wait very long very deciding to explore Germany. Saturday morning, our first full day here, we all went to Cologne with my roommate. It was very simple to get there. With the Ruhr Universität Student Ticket, we can go to most train stations, or Hauptbahnhauf, free of charge. This is a very nice perk that everyone should take full advantage of. Within 2 hours we arrived in Cologne, or Köln as they call it here, and we were ready to soak in the German culture.
Our first stop was the Dom, German for Cathedral. This was a very large church that was built starting in 1248. This cathedral was absolutely beautiful inside and out, it was breathtaking. Especially as an engineer, it was very interesting to look at the structure of this building, especially considering this was all made of stone and without modern machinery.
Our next stop was walking over Cologne’s Love Locks Bridge to the Köln Triangle. The bridge was tastefully cluttered with thousands of colorful locks on the fence. This is a place that couples will go to “lock in” their love, but you certainly do not need a love partner to enjoy the sight and creative decorations. At the Köln Triangle, we each paid €2,50 to go to the top, 100m in the air, and overlook the beautiful city of Köln and other surrounding areas. The top is open but there are tall, crystal clear, glass walls keeping you in safely but not blocking the wonderful view. It was shaped it a big circle so you could walk around the whole roof and enjoy the scenery. On some portions of the glass windows there were the outlines of certain major buildings and a description of was it is. If you looked through this outline just right, you could line it up with the actual building, making sure that you do not miss anything worth seeing. Being on top of the city like this, seeing everything below you, was very peaceful, relaxing, and breathtaking at the same time.
At this point it was time for lunch and we decided to try a Turkish food stand that sold sandwiches called a Döner Kebabs. This is a very authentic Turkish “fast food” dish consisting of beef, lamb, or chicken, red cabbage, cucumber, tomato, onion, and a white sauce inside of a very tasty split pita bread or lavash. The sandwich was delicious, and to think that they called it fast food really made me rethink all of Americas fast food because this was far superior. When looking for food I would really recommend going off the beaten path and not always going for the big attractive restaurants, sometimes the smaller places have much more culture to offer you.
As the day wound down, we walked along the Rhine River, a very peaceful walk where we could observe the smaller boats traveling along and the vast green scenery on either side of it. So far I have a very good impression of Germany and cannot get over how beautiful it is here and I’m sure this feeling will only grow as I visit more cities and bordering countries.