Cologne Things to Do Tips by christine.j
Cologne Things to Do: 662 reviews and 1,112 photos
The Hahnentor - cock's gate - was one of the main gateways into Cologne. It's part of the medieval city wall and was built in 12th century. The name has nothing to do with poultry, but probably comes from the word "Hain" - a small forest, because there used to be forests just outside the gate.
Today it houses a very important society of Cologne, the honourable guard for carnival.
I like to see the difference between the small stalls of the Christmas market and the huge, solid gate close-by.
Address: Rudlofsplatz, Cologne
Don't be surprised whan you see billy goats in Cologne, mostly just statues, but occasionally also live ones, especially Saturday afternoons.The one on the picture was on the roof of a stall at the Christmas Market.
A billy goat called Hennes is the mascot of the local football club, 1.FC Köln. They have a very large fan club in Cologne, much larger than the other team, Fortuna Köln. I once got in the way of the fans rushing to the stadium when I was trying to walk in the opposite direction - it's best to wait until they all have passed.
Directions: All over the city
Cologne has six Christmas markets, one of the most interesting is the medieval one at the Chocolate Museum. You have to pay an entrance fee, 2 Euro per adult, children smaller than a sword are free.There's someone standing outside with a sword in his hands and takes measure.
Since Christmas markets usually are free, and especially since there are five others in Cologne, you may be tempted to give this one a miss. But it's really worth spending the entrance fee. A group of actors performs medieval shows, you can buy unusal Christmas gifts and even the food tries to be medieval.
Address: Just outside the Chocolate museum
Directions: Walk down along with the Rhine on your left and you'll get to the museum. The market is in front of it.
Apart from the shrine of the three wise kings,which everybody tries to get a glimpse of, there is so much more to see in the cathedral.
Whenever I'm in Cologne I step into the cathedral and discover some new detail I haven't seen before. This time I decided to really look at the carvings on the benches, aren't they beautiful? Since it's so dark inside the cathedral, I had to use flash and could only see most details later at home on the computer. My favourites are the reading boy and the reading woman, but I also like the little devil very much.
Address: Cathedral benches
Directions: You cannot miss the cathedral in Cologne, it can be seen from almost all over the city.
The Marseillaise is being played
At the full hour you can see some figures of French soldiers at the top of the 4711 house. Chimes are being played and the figures move in a circle.This is at the roof of the house, above the store where you can buy all sorts of Eau de Cologne.
Inside the store there is fountain, giving Eau de Cologne instead of water. This gives the store a very pleasant smell.
Now, November 2006, they're having a sale, many items have been reduced for Christmas. I was surprised how cheap many items were. Usually, a touristy place marks things up, not down , before Christmas. Quite a lot of customers were in the shop, buying gifts.
For those who like the works of Kaethe Kollwitz, there is a very good exhibition of many of her drawings and some of her sculptures. It's somewhat hidden in the shopping mall at Neumarkt center, in the top floor there. There are signs leading to it from the Neumarkt area.
They offer very interesting background information of her life and work, most of it in German only.But even without reading all this, it is a very interesting exhibition.
Curiosity kills the cat,or destroys the magic
Apart from the mouse, this is another point in Cologne which children will like. The story is that once upon a time, Cologne was blessed because there were dwarfs, brownies, who would come at night and do all the work for the people there.They were never seen. But one woman was so curious to know what they looked like, that she put peas on her staircase so that the little men would fall. Then she would be able to see them. Her plan worked, but the dwarfs were so angry that they left and the citizens of Cologne had to do all their work by themselves.
This scene is depicted in this fountain.
Directions: Just behind the cathedral, in front of Frueh.
Here comes the mouse
One of the most successful TV shows for children in Germany is the "Maus", the mouse. It won lots of prizes thoughout the years and children and adults like it. The show explains the phenomena of everyday life, like why does water look blue even though it has no colour at all?
There is a store, called Maus and Co, which sells all stuff connected to the mouse. I put this tip in the "what to do"secton rather than the shopping one, because there are also some things just to look at in this store, not just to buy.
Address: Breite Strasse 6
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