My return to Germany was almost an entirely new experience from my previous one, which involved less sightseeing and more beer (oh, Springfest…).

Cologne (or Köln as it is spelled in German) was a destination chosen to allow my sister to thrive in the German language that she has studied for years. We wanted the character of the country, but without the hustle and bustle of an overly large city.

While most other cities have banned ‘Love lock’ bridges, here it is welcomed and encouraged; the bridge was designed for trains, meaning it can withstand the weight that thousands of locks bring. So if you and your sweetheart wish to leave behind a piece of your hearts, paint a lock and travel here to leave it behind and toss the key into the Rhein below.

A sweet visit in this town is one to the Chocolate Museum. Seated along the river, this place is sponsored by Lindt and showcases the history and real life process of the art that is chocolate. Their cafe also hosts even more options, so you can have some chocolate with your chocolate!

Long ago (1709 to be exact) a man by the name of Farina came to this town and created the first fragrance. He named it “Eau Du Cologne” in honor of the city. Well, the city now honors him in return! His fragrance formula has not been changed since that time, and has been worn by some of the most notable people in history (Napoleon, Ghandi, Oscar Wilde, and Princess Diana to name a few).

I would be remiss to not mention the crown jewel of this city, the Cathedral. The Cologne Cathedral is the most visited tourist destination in all of Germany, with pilgrims from far and wide coming to pay respects to one of the last standing monuments of a time before the great wars. The Cathedral is also said to be home to the Three Kings, the Magi of the Nativity. Their bones are in a triple sarcophagus at the alter, adorned with scenes of the virgin birth.

I must say, to me the holiest place inside was in fact the prayer room. Entering here there is no photography allowed, simply a place for silence and spirituality. Let me tell you, it is exactly that. The very atmosphere is different, a pressure of a certain presence leaves you in awe, while the air is so still that even the candles dare not flicker.

This city was one of discovery and family. A time for a beer and an ice cream along the river, a time for going to the same pasta place twice because my sister loved it so much, a time for holding hands on a walk down cobblestone streets.

xoxox julia

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