It is usually said, when one is drunk could see doubly, - this worth only for those guys who are married, NEVER WATCH YOUR MOTHER IN LAW IF DRUNK.
Those of you who took a walk across the Hohenzollern Bridge, side to side, might have think that are drunk of Koelsh or Frueh beer. You will see DOUBLY equestrian statue of Emperor Wilhelm II, or what is even worst, you might imagine that the guy on the horse is following you side to side.
I am joking, of course, was a bit confussed after have noticed the same statue at the one and the other side of the river. Or maybe the City Council of Cologne was drunk when they have placed those statues. But can you imagine this, they placed four statues!
Anyway, the bottom line is this, do not drink if crossing Hohenzollern Bridge!
If you want to drive with your car into the center of Koln / Cologne, you need to have an environmental badge (sticker).
This sticker you need to get in advance.
This applies to more and more cities in Germany.
If you do not have the sticker, you risk a penalty of 40 euros.
See the link for more information.
Cologne has a bit of a reputation in Germany for crime, although less than Frankfurt. It probably doesn't help that a lot of crime dramas are filmed here. In truth the city has a small problem with pickpockets and other petty crime, but for me it felt extremely safe for such a big city. But this is Germany, and nowhere here is really dangerous.
Germans are a dangerous people, you know that! After recently having experienced some tough competition in the country-invading business, we are now resorting to more subtle ways of harrassing mankind: The Deutsche Bahn ticket vending machine!
Let me tell you how this menace works:
The other day, when I was taking the ICE from Cologne Airport to Heidelberg, I had pre-ordered my tickets and reservations through telephone... they give you a reservation number and you can go to the ticket machine, type in that number, pay by credit card and finally get your tickets... WELL. that is the theory. I did as I was told... clicked myself
through various menus without fully understanding what I was doing and finally was asked "print out all documents?" -- BINGO! I happily pushed "yes" and out came 4 paper slips. I hastily put them into my wallet and boarded the train that had already rolled into the station while I was battling with the machine.
When the conductor came round, I handed the slips to him. His face turned grim and he asked me: "Where is your ticket, sir?"-- "Excuse me?" -- "Where is your ticket?!!! Your ticket! Comprende??? These are just timetable printouts plus a credit card receipt. If you don't have a ticket, you need to buy one from me!"
And on went the argument... he threatening to make me pay the penalty fee for
not wanting to pay, me pointing out that at least the credit card receipt was proof I paid -- and that ticket machine was hardly selling anything else than.... tickets!
Finally a colleague of his came and had the idea to go to another ticket machine
at the next station and see if the missing ticket still was "in the system". And
indeed, it did come out! Phew!!!
In Lower Saxony, a man reportedly was billed EUR 2,7500,000 after typing in "Paris, Texas" as his destination. The bill included a fee of EUR 1,500.000 for "reservation of NASA spacecraft" and EUR 500,000 for "GOP party funds donation"... Be Afraid! Be VERY Afraid!!!
We had lunch at the Restaurant Dohmens. I had Zürcher Geschnetzltes (chicken cut into strips) and the chicken was mostly still raw! First we had to wait over 40 minutes and all we got was this lousy dish. I then had to wait for another 30 minutes to get a new plate. They didn't even say sorry! Bad service, but food!
Iam not a beer lover, definetely, but like they say "be Roman in Rome". There are so many breweries in Cologne, especially in the area of the Alt Stadt. Trust me, there is an brewery in every house situated in the old part of th town, an yet it is most advisable to book a place, especially on weekends when all of them are overcrowded with very thursty people.
Another piece of good advice or better say warning, never bottom up your glass in case you wont drink more of beer! The weiters are strolling around with hands full of beers and as soon as they see your glass half empty they'll place another glass of beer right in front of you without asking. So, if you don't want to drink more beer, just hatch cover your glass.
Morover, never argue with Colognese weiters, they are very rude!
The streets are always full of people shopping and so of course we went shopping. Jutta and I both love to shop! I had just taken out 300DM from an ATM. When I got to the next store, I realized my handbag was open (I never leave it open).
When I looked inside, my whole wallet was gone! I had been pick pocketed! I never even knew it or felt it! AGGGHHH!!! They are good at what they do, don't be fooled!
I have heard from the police that they can take a man's wallet from his pocket (even with tight pants) and the man will never feel it is happening! Oh My!
TIP: You might also want to keep a copy of phone numbers & account numbers of any cards you have in your wallet so you can cancel them right away if this happens to you! Keep the information in your suitcase or hotel safe, of course! *smile*
You may find it hard to experience the country to its fullest with just English. No offense but I find German to be a very difficult language to understand. I have managed to visit 38 countries from Argentina to Cambodia from Oman to Japan, but traveling in Germany is more difficult than most places. Ordering at Restaurants may become an adventure.
If you are going on the Thalys trains from Paris to Cologne, you will of course pass through Belgium. Watch out if you sit in the last carriage as it is common for thieves to sneak on board at a station, grab some luggage and then hop off again before the train leaves. This happened to a colleague of mine and then he was in Liège so maybe that's where it is most common. When he alerted the train guard, he was in any case told that this happens every week. The thieves know that there are many tired business travellers on Thalys...
If you are a non smoker (as I am) then be prepared to accept that in Cologne there are very few bars, restuarants or cafes that have no smoking areas. It is generally accepted that people will smoke when eating food in bar or restaurant, unlike in UK and US where there are no smoking rules in many places.