Browsing articles tagged with " Cologne"

Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Germany

Berlin, June 2015

It is the fourth city in Germany, in terms of population, after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, a big city crossed by a hundreds of kilometers long river with centuries of history on its banks. Cologne, Köln, has many churches, like these 12 Romanesque, which are just a sample of the many jewels hoarded on its streets and squares. A bit about each of them can be read here, in German:

The origin of Köln goes back to the first decades of the christian era, when the Roman Emperor Claudius elevated the then village to Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (Colony of Claudius and Altar of the Agrippiner). This gave Colonia the status of ‘city’ under Roman law, being granted more rights than before. This was in the year 50 a.D. In the past almost 2,000 years of history, Cologne has evolved into a financial center and also… the most “carnival city” in Germany! Indeed, it is the seat of some important automotive companies such as Ford Europe, with about 20,000 employeees, and also of the German headquarters of Citroën and Renault. Firms like Lufthansa, Galeria Kaufhof (a big chain of malls), Rewe and RTL, the main private television corporation in Germany, are based in Cologne as well. Of course, the eau of Cologne was born here!

But not only work is important, and proof of it is the tradition that starts every 11th day of the 11th month (November), at 11.11AM: the craziest carnival in Germany. Its culmination, on Ash Wednesday, is the burning of Nubbel, leaning on an old tradition that at the end of carnival, the carnival itself must die. The Nubbel is impersonated by a straw puppet that represents “somewhere” and “someone”, i.e. someone whose identity and placing isn’t clear, but he is known and sure to exist. The parades of Rose Monday (Rosenmontag, vídeo), and of the spirits (Geisterzug, vídeo) will be left behind. Also, needless to say, liters and liters of Kölsch!

Cologne is well known abroad for its espectacular cathedral. It’s construction, initiated back in 1248, did not finish until 1880, more than 600 years later (the Sagrada Família in Barcelona was begun “only” 130 years ago, so no complaints!). The cathedral, for some years in the 19th century the tallest building in the world, takes in the shrine of the Three Kings, a reliquary said to contain the bones of the Three Kings; it is a large gilded and decorated triple sarcophagus placed above and behind the high altar of cathedral. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites.

Now Cologne can be explored in Catalan and in Spanish with! You that you can taste a bit of it, we suggest you watch the following two videos: the first one is a presentation of the city, the second one shows some images previous to the destruction of the city during WWII. Enjoy them, and see you in Cologne!

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“A” as in airports (of Germany)

Berlin, 26 February 2013

The so called “low cost” companies are no longer what they used to be, but flying is still a reasonable way to travel to Germany, even if arriving from a European country. Here you have some information about the airports to reach Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne:

Germany’s capital city, Berlin, has postponed four times the opening of its new airport, “Berlin Brandenburg International” (BER)*. This facility will replace the current airports of Schönefeld (actually, the one under construction is an extension of this) and Tegel, due to shut on the same day of the opening of BER. In the meantime, and after the historical Tempelhof closed down back in 2008, Tegel and Schönefeld are the two gates to enter Berlin by plane. Most flights operate to/from Tegel, but low cost companies like EasyJet are based in Schönefeld.

Tegel airport is located in Berlin (AB zone of the public transportation tickets), whereas Schönefeld is outside the city boundaries, in the neighbouring land of Brandenburg (C zone). From Tegel, it takes some 20 minutes to reach Zoologischer Garten (bus lines X9 and 109), and about 30 min. to Alexanderplatz (line TXL). This central square can be reached from Schönefeld in only 20 minutes, on board a regional train (lines RE7 or RB14), but in over half an hour by travelling on the S-Bahn (urban network), considering change of trains at Ostkreuz or Warschauer Straße stations.

Both airports, all together, welcomed in 2012 some 25 million passengers (London Heathrow 70 million, 105 million all three New York airports).

Hamburg is the second city in Germany and it takes only 1.30 hours to reach from Berlin. Nonetheless, more practical to get there is through its airport: with the line S1 of the S-Bahn, you will arrive at the city’s central station (Hauptbahnhof) in just 25 minutes. Or you can take any of this bus lines: 26, 39, 274 and 292. Other advisable airports are the one in Lübeck, connected with downtown Hamburg through the bus line A20, and that in Bremen, which also has a connexion with Hamburg in some 90 minutes (check the website of bus2fly).

As for Munich, its airport is connected to the city’s Hauptbahnhof (main station) with lines S1 and S8 of the S-Bahn. The journey takes about 45 minutes with both lines, and from the Hauptbahnhof you can reach the rest of the city with the metro (U-Bahn) lines U1, U2, U4 and U5. Another option to get to Munich is through Memmingen airport: although it is located 110 kilometers away from Munich, Ryanair offers several bus connexions between the airport and the city center.

Finally, Cologne is very easily accessible through Cologne‘s airport (officially, “Köln/Bonn”), with the S-Bahn line S13 to/from the city’s Hauptbahnhof: you will only need 15 minutes! The station, by the way, is located next to the city’s famous, wonderful Cathedral (Dom, in German).

Now you know what you need to know, when you prepare your trip to Germany! But before you land here, do not hesitate contact us and our private tours and services in English, to discover Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, amongst other cities (our e-mail: Our tours are the best in town, and besides you do not want German to be a problem for you, do you? 😉

*We have dealt with the future Berlin airport in two articles: Berlin Brandenburg International and BER, an airport not taking off.

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The Ludwig of modern art

Berlin, 17 September 2012

The train approaches the main station of Cologne, the Hauptbahnhof, as the imposing lines of its old cathedral appear closer and closer, more impressive after every second. This will be one of the not-to-miss buildings in the city, but not the only one: next to the Kölner Dom, the works in the Museum Ludwig are waiting for the traveler.

The impressive art collection of Irene and Peter Ludwig is the seed of the museum, which was open in 1976, short after the enterpreneur and art historians and collectors had donated the city of Cologne a part of their hundreds of works. It displays mostly paintings of the Pop-Art, the Russian Avant-Garde and also Pablo Picasso (the Museum Ludwig is the third biggest in the world to display works of the Andalusian painter, after Paris and Barcelona), amongst many others. The institution also houses works of the Dadaism and Surrealism, Expressionism, Bauhaus, …

Image: The Dom and the Museum Ludwig (c) tiseb CC BY

Those who are no longer here

Berlin, July 16, 2012

When preparing a trip, very seldom are cemeteries on the list of “Places to see and things to do”. Anyway, some people find they are interesting, worth a visit. Not without reason; after all, many of them are wonderful gardens, places to enjoy a walk in peace, spaces inhabited by histories that used to be, which can even, and maybe surprinsingly, teach us something.

There are over 200 cemeteries in Berlin, meaning a total surface of 1,000 hectares. Among their trees and flowers, sepulchres, graves and gravestones, inscriptions remind us of names and years lived by women and men, girls and boys. Most of them unknown to the visitors, but among them, here and there, some well known ones: Brecht, Dietrich, Schinkel, once the royal architect of the Hohenzollern, or Kollwitz, German artist, symbol of the pain coming from the battlefields, she who lost her 19 year old son Peter, at the WWI. These names, and tens of others, of writers, musicians, important figures who have become a part of history, they are all there, in some of these cemeteries all over the capital city.

Information on the Berlin cemeteries can be found on this website:

Also Hamburg, Munich and Cologne have, of course, cemeteries worth a visit. Ohlsdorf, in Hamburg, has a surface of almost 400 hectares, which make it the biggest park-cemetery in the entire world. Information on the cemeteries in this city is available here: Regarding Munich, on this website there are many details about its cemeteries, being Waldfriedhof the second biggest in Germany. To end up with, here you can consult the listing of the over 50 cemeteries in Cologne.

Since 2001, Germany celebrates a “Day of the cemeteries” (Tag des Friedhofs) every third weekend of September. This year, the event will take place on the 15 and 16, always with the aim of bringing these places to the citizens.

PHOTO: Friedhof III der Jerusalems- und Neuen Kirche, Mehringdamm 21 (Berlin)

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