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Posts Tagged "Cologne"

European city breaks off the beaten track for 2017

European city breaks off the beaten track for 2017

London, Paris, Vienna, Venice and Florence, cities of the Grand Tour have always been popular and remain so to day despite the hordes of tourists and the high prices. Then there are the trending, or trendy, cities like Reykjavik, Tallinn, Barcelona, Prague and Amsterdam. Below are six cities I would recommend for 2017. I have included three or four highlights in each case but there is much more to see in all of them. Cologne Cologne sits on the banks of the Rhine and is dominated by its cathedral or Dom. At one point its soaring spires made it the tallest building in the world. After only nine years it was locked off the top spot by a tower of girders built by one Gustav Eiffel. The cathedral is said to house the relics of the magi who visited the…

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5 German Christmas Markets

5 German Christmas Markets

Here in Southampton we have a German Christmas Market. Across Britain there are numerous other cities with their own faux German Christmas Markets. Just like the ubiquitous Irish or British pubs you find abroad they are only a shadow of the real thing and are overwhelmingly kitsch. To really experience a Christmas Market of the German variety you need to visit…, yes, Germany. Deciding on which one to visit is a task I hope I will be able to help with. There are so many German Christmas Markets it is hard to make a choice. In this post I have picked a few that may whet your appetite and point you in the right direction. In many cases the German cities with the best markets are also easily accessible from Britain by a choice of airlines and a few such as…

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7 Christmas Markets to visit

7 Christmas Markets to visit

It is the time of year when we begin thinking about a short break to one of the many Christmas markets across Britain and Europe. I have chosen seven Christmas market experiences to consider from the many that are available. Choose one of these and you will not be disappointed Winchester When we think of Christmas markets we usually think of other parts of Europe but we have some very atmospheric ones in the UK. One of my favourites is the one in the shadow of the magnificent Winchester Cathedral. Once the capital of England and home to Alfred the Great it is a very atmospheric city at Christmas time. The Market surrounds an ice rink in the Cathedral’s Inner Close. There are a great many arts and crafts mostly from the UK in the wooden chalets huddled in the…

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European Cities of Chocolate

European Cities of Chocolate

When National Chocolate Week is finished there is no reason for not indulging in the two passions of chocolate and travel. Any time is a good time to contemplate taking a chocolate themed city break. As a travel writer I have discovered several cities worth heading to for a chocolate fix. One of these, Bordeaux, I visited specifically for chocolate. I decided to bring them altogether in one post. The following are the European cities I have discovered that are worth visiting for their chocolate. All are easily visited on a short break. Cologne On the banks of the Rhine is the Chocolate Museum, a informative and interesting place that has its own steamy jungle with cocoa trees. The story of chocolate is chronicled from cocoa pod to the shelf. You can see a production line in action and taste the chocolate too. The chocolate…

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Cafe Review: Chocolat Grand Cafe

Cafe Review: Chocolat Grand Cafe

Chocolate Week sadly has come to an end for another year. So to ease the pain I thought it might be an idea if I wrote about something chocolatey. I could have written about Brugges, Brussels or Biarritz, all famous for their chocolate. Bordeaux could be on the list too as it was the port where cocoa from the French colonies was brought into France and where several chocolatiers have plied their trade for decades. Switzerland might well have featured too. I decided however, to opt for Cologne instead and the Chocolat Grand Cafe. Usually when I review a cafe it is the coffee I go in for. This was not the case on my visit to Cologne though. The museum is located in a modern complex that tastefully incorporates two of the old buildings on the wharf beside the…

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Romantic Cologne

Romantic Cologne

This post originally appeared last year. It has been re-posted here with some changes to ensure it is up to date. The most romantic spot in Cologne is Europe’s busiest railway bridge.The bridge which takes suburban, regional and high speed ICE trains across the Rhine from Cologne’s busy hauptbahnhof has become the de riguer spot for lovers. Thousands of padlocks engraved with messages of love are fastened to the railings that separate the pedestrian walkway from the tracks. Lovers lock their padlock to the fence as a sign of their undying love for each other and then toss the key into the Rhine below. When the state railway Bundesbahn indicated that they wanted to remove the padlocks public opinion forced them to backtrack. Now the bridge is festooned with tens of thousands of padlocks. Walking from Cologne’s iconic cathedral across the bridge…

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