Travel | Köln

Home is where the Dom is…


Do you ever watch “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”? I love that show. It’s so interesting and Anthony Bourdain is just a fabulous guide taking us to all different kind of places around the world. I love the way he is able to talk to and find common ground with everybody, regardless of race, ethnicity, lifestyle, and convictions.

Well, last Sunday, he took us to my (almost-but-not-quite) home town: Cologne. It was awesome to see the city through the eyes of a travel journalist. Of course, I recognized a lot of places that were shown, but also learned about a few new-to-me restaurants that I have to check out when I go back next time.

People often say, Cologne is ugly. Anthony Bourdain didn’t think so, and I really don’t think so either. Yes, maybe it’s not the prettiest city in the world, but it does have some stunning views IMHO. If nothing else, the beautiful Cologne Cathedral. See for yourself.



Hohenzollern Bridge

Love locks


And one thing I can definitely concur with – and which more than makes up for a smaller number of pretty sites (after all, Cologne was pretty much completely destroyed during WWII and doesn’t have many old buildings to flaunt with left) – is the fact that Cologne is one of the friendliest, most tolerant cities on the planet. People from the Rhineland (“Rheinländer”) are considered above average in being friendly, open and and cheerful.

Willi Millowitsch – a real Cologner (if you don’t recognize him, watch National Lampoon’s European Vacation again!)



Severin Bridge

Main Train Station


Hohenzollern Bridge

the "Early" [Früh]

Früh Brewery


Rudolfsplatz/ Köln

Hahnen Gate at Rudolfplatz


St. Aposteln


Schildergasse pedestrian area

Whenever I visit home, I always plan to spend at least one day in Köln. Not just because I have friends and family there to see, but also because I love the city so much and just enjoy walking around there on my own for a couple of hours.

This last time was no different. I had planned to meet up with my aunt and uncle again and also jumped at the chance for a super-quick breakfast with my friend S, who couldn’t come to my birthday, but (conveniently) lives in Cologne. She literally had to jump on a train to Berlin right afterwards, which provided me with a couple of hours to myself, strolling along the Rhine promenade, across the Hohenzollern Bridge and back to the cathedral, before I met up with my uncle and aunt. I love soaking up every minute that I can get in this city.

It was a little overcast that day, so the photos don’t quite do the city justice, but come on, it’s quite lovely, right?

If you ever go there, here are a few places to check out:

Früh Brewery (Am Hof 12, close to the cathedral and main train station) – great brewery, ate there with J many times.

Malzmühle Brewery (Heumarkt 6 (hay market)) – another great brewery!

Ludwig im Museum Café & Restaurant (Heinrich-Böll-Platz) – great place for brunch! 

De Fressbud (Eigelstein 78 – also close to the train station) – best curry wurst and spit roast.

Cafe Stanton (Schildergasse 57) – nice café to hang out for coffee or tea.

Cafe Extrablatt (Alter Markt 28) – café in Cologne’s oldtown.

Rheinzeit (Große Neugasse 42) – pretty cool restaurant & bar at the Rhine promenade. Had some cocktails there!

4 Cani (Benesisstraße 61) – a lovely Italian bistro that I frequently visit with a friend when I am back home.

Have you been to Köln before? Or any other German city? What did you like most?

  1. Ha, guess why I like this blog entriy of yours the most! :)
    And YES I couldn’t agree more that my (evenly almost) hometown is very beautiful. I was lucky enough to live there for more than 15 years.
    I like the Rheinufer, Seilbahn, the Zoo and of course: THE DOM!
    My favortie place to eat: Haus Schwan in Lindenthal!
    And because: HOME IS WHERE THE DOM IS….I have plenty of miniature Doms in my house.
    Our son is well trained in saying: The Dom is in Koelle! LOL
    I can’t wait to hug my favorite cathedral together with my son the next time I visit!
    Nice pictures of our beloved (home)town San!

    1. YES! Home is where the Dom is…. :)

  2. I think Cologne looks beautiful, especially that Cathedral! And I love the photo of those bright-colored houses! So charming! I think you can find beauty in most places if you look for it and it’s especially easy to find it when it’s a city that is also full of friendly, welcoming people.

    We actually just watched a Parts Unknown show last night on Netflix. He was in Marseilles which looks like such a charming area, and Eric Ripert was on the show as well. I love Eric Ripert so I espcially enjoyed the episode.

  3. My goodness, that architecture!! I’ve never been to Germany, but when I travel churches/cathedrals are my favorite places to visit. Cologne looks like is so unique and interesting!

  4. What fun to see your homeland! I hope to get back there now to see all of these things again and try the items you have listed.

  5. Anyone who says that has never spent time in the US outside of the main tourist attractions. I think Koln is beautiful and Germany is my second favorite country after the Netherlands (I just can’t get over those bikes). My time in Germany has been predominantly in the east. In 2004 I spent the summer at a workcamp in Dresden with about 20 other European college kids. Best time of my life and Dresden felt very much like “home” (back in the USSR). :)

  6. Who on earth could possibly think it’s ugly? Looks like a beautiful city to me. I haven’t visited Continental Europe, only the United Kingdom, and while I would love to see France, Spain, and Italy, Germany has always been on the top of my list. And I love seeing the country through your eyes!

    I LOVE Anthony Bourdain. I read his book, Kitchen Confidential, about 15 years ago and have loved him ever since. It’s been really cool to see his career grow the way it has.

  7. That cathedral is beautiful!

    Love Parts Unknown (although I haven’t seen this episode yet) and I love Germany! I’ve been through some parts of southern Germany on two different tours and have seen Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Munich, Oberammergau and Titisee. Heidelberg was probably my favorite so far, but I really want to go back for future visits, especially to Berlin as well as Cologne. My family has a lot of German heritage on my mom’s side and it’s been a really interesting and enjoyable country for me to visit!

  8. Beautiful!!! So very much wish I could go visit there. Also you know, the cloudy/overcast days actually make for the best photos because the clouds act as a natural filter. :)

  9. I first learned about the Cologne Cathedral when I was in 8th grade…and I’ve wanted to visit it ever since! So amazing!


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