Transport and accommodation
The train-ride from Munich to Cologne was the toughest one. It was almost 5 hours and our youngest one got travel sick. We were not properly prepared for that but were able to manage the situation with what we had on hand. We learned from the experience and remembered to always have a plastic bag on-hand in our next trips. Luckily we never had to use it.
There were some short intermediate stops on the way. We used the opportunity to stand by the doors and get fresh air when possible.
We stayed at our new favorite hotel chain – Novotel. It met our expectations, we had a lovely room and they offered a good breakfast buffet. On the top floor there was a small gym and sauna . The girls had a good time exercising on the treadmill. We didn’t use city transport that much, only took the bus once to our hotel on the first day. After that we mostly just walked to and from the downtown.
As soon as we stepped out from the train station the Cologne Cathedral appeared in all its magnificence. The building is oddly cramped in the city center but beautiful none the less and obviously the heart of the city. The steps were filled with people chatting, grabbing a bite or just relaxing.
We visisted Aqualand and had a great time. It is possible to buy different access ticket, we only bought tickets for the Pool area, but it is possible to buy tickets for a sauna area as well. The slides are all at the same place so there is little running around to get to them, which is rather convenient. After about 2 hours we asked the girls if they were hungry which they claimed not to be. We saw right through them, they were just afraid that we would leave Aqualand if they said yes. When we told them there was a restaurant on site, and that we could eat in our swimwear they got their appetite back. All in all we stayed for 5 hours, which was more then enough for the parents but the girls would have loved to stayed a while longer. It’s worth to mention that most of the facilities are indoors. The locker rooms are co-ed, with changing stalls and separate toilet and shower areas.
On the river bank in Cologne the chocolate museum is located in an unique boat-like building. The museum was larger than I thought and had on display various historical information regarding cocoa beans and chocolate making. It was very interesting to be able to see the chocolate-making process and even better to get to taste the final product. They also offer the possibility to get you own customized chocolate. The process takes around 45 minutes. Here is what the girls chose.
This museum is definitely worth a visit and interactive stations around the museum keep the kids entertained while the grown ups read up on the history of chocolate.
Our overall feel for Cologne was a beautiful chilled back city.