Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 4-6: Experiencing Cologne and awesome day in Munich

Amazing how expensive public transportation in Germany is. In Cologne, a ride longer than 4 stops is going to cost you all of 2.4 Euro. A day pass (and that means until 3am next morning, not 24h) will take out 7.1 Euro out of your wallet. That’s enough for a wine, some fruit, camembert and brie, for instance. Or in Russia that would get you through a not very long café visit.

For some reason, a day pass in Munich is cheaper which is surprising it as it is considered to be Germany’s most expensive city.

Nevertheless… my two remaining days in Cologne were quite great. First of all, a whole lot of walking around (and saving money on the way, ho ho!). The thing that immediately springs to eye is the sales have started – tons of people shuffling around, looking for good deals on clothes, Christmas decorations and the like. Actually it was pretty hard to maneuver those crowds. Upon entering a store, it was obvious things weren’t much better inside, so I decided to leave shopping for when I’m finally in Berlin.

In the evening my CS host and I went out to see The Tourist in a movie theater with home-like atmosphere (I thought) and greatly positioned comfortable seats, some rows are 45* to one another with big space between them, so it lets your legs be free in doing whatever they please. The Tourist itself is not a great movie, however if one enjoys travel and particularly Venice and Paris, then it’s pretty eyecandy.

The next day I visited the Ludwigsmuseum that has several on-going exhibitions including Australian art (my least favorite section), some XIX-XX centuries photography, Pablo Picasso, Vasily Kandinsky, Roy Liechtenstein, a Mark Rothko and some other contemporary artists. It’s definitely worth a visit if you are into modern art, but I suggest you skip the Australian part.

In the evening we had a nice dinner in one of the joints down Zülpicher strasse, I just happened to eat a Funghi pizza yet again (sometimes I’m pretty close-minded when it comes to food, my choice mostly fluctuates between a mushroom pizza, a tiramisu an apple strudel). To top it off, I ordered a Kölsch yet again and even drank with gusto. All in all, Cologne makes an impression of a lively modern city with a variety of things to do and is definitely worth visiting and perhaps for some also worth coming back to.

At night I was to take the City Night Train to Munich, which I did except it was about an hour late due to the whole snowfall dash cold weather story. The train station appeared to have no heating whatsoever, so although the temperature was only slightly below zero, it was enough to have everybody freezing for quite some time. In the end, we were about 1.5 hours later than expected in Munich, I was only half-conscious but I think I heard people discussing at night that we stopped in the vicinity of Ulm for an hour.

Upon arrival, I went straight ahead to yet another cool CS host where we had breakfast with her and her son and then I set off to discover the city. And I have one thing to say: it’s fantastic!

I started with the English Garden, I would imagine it’s fascinating in the summer, but it was a great walk down the snowy pathways anyway, there is even a small waterfall there, and it was the first time I saw ducks walking around on snow and looking kind of menacingly at people.

I then proceeded to walk through the Hofgarten (it’s all very nicely clustered together for the most part), gazed at Theatinerkirche, stopped by the Residenz, then walked around Altstadt including Frauenkirche, Alter Hof, Altes Rathaus, Neues Rathaus, saw Mariensäule and Michaelskirche

Visualienmarkt should get a special mention for being so incredibly fascinating as well, it has some the most delicious smelling food there and some of the prettiest looking Christmas and New Year’s decorations.
When it grew darker and the city was lit up, it was sort of like a fairy-tale from then on. The most creative light decorations are to be seen in downtown Munich, it makes you feel like a kid again and smile at the ever-present holiday spirit.


Andrea said...

Cologne and Munich are two of my favourite German cities. Looks like you saw a lot in your short time there.

True story said...

Oh, definitely! Too bad one can't live in several cities at once, I think.. I know I would love it!

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