Published: July 13th 2006May 27th 2006
Ever wondered how they get those two delicious layers of the Lindt Balls? You were able to buy them straigth of the production line for an insane 0.50 EACH!
Because I had no plans for the upcoming long weekend, I consulted my wonderful excel sheet of travel aims and it had a Köln entry primary because I had been told there was chocolate factory that featured a chocolate fountain.
This all sounded very ‘Willy Wonka’ to me so I gathered a few interested people for a day trip: Pauli & Andy from Airbus and Daniel who lived across the road from my old place. (btw. these words with umlauts in them are completely evil to pronounce, so every 2nd City used in the Learn German Text is Köln)
Because we wanted to make the most of the day whilst still making sure that we do so on a budged (10€ each), Daniel, Paulina and me caught the 6:19 train from Bremen. However this very early start still meant that we only arrived in Köln at 11:30 after a brief stop-over in Münster, which was comparative to a ghost town but we did find Germany's best free toilet! (Here it is normal to charge at ALL toilets, even the ones in clubs and restaurants)
Arriving at the Hauptbahnhof in Köln you cannot help but be amazed by architecture and
sheer size of the Dom. However as impressive the Dom seemed, once Andy met up with us at the Bahnhof, us four chocolate addicts decided that exploring the Dom would simply have to wait until after our visit to the chocolate factory!
The LINDT Factory
We did decide that we could slightly extend the time required to walk there by taking the scenic route by the Rhine River and whilst walking we saw the Chocolate express! One of those little kids trains driving at running speed, used to transport visitors to the Chocolate factory for free. As it went past us, for some insane reason we decided that we wanted to get on and thus proceeded to run after it. After running after it for at least 500m, Andy finally caught up and knocked on the driver’s window, but the woman rudely refused to stop for us!!! But there was one positive, by this time we were already half way to our destination.
To our delight, when we arrived we realised that it was not just a chocolate factory, but a LINDT Chocolate Factory/Museum. And as all chocolate lovers know, Lindt is definitely on another level of
Koln Dom - View of the Rhine
The Viewing platform of the Dom is 98m high and is definately worth the climb up the 509 steps leading to the top.
chocolate to the Cadburys and Milkas of the world. The Museum was filled with pretty much any facts about chocolate that they could gather. About how it is made, how the Aztecs ate it, the difference in composition between light and dark chocolate, etc. But it was all presented in a funny way so it wasn’t at all boring. However, it was not nearly as interesting as seeing the mini factory on display and we couldn’t help ourselves from getting our fingers dirty, as you can see in the pictures. Even if you are not a chocolate lover, this place would be interesting!
With the chocolate out of the way, it was time to finally see the famous Kölner Dom and clime to the top! Now climbing up 98m up 509 steps seems easy enough, but it becomes really interesting when it had to be done in two-way traffic in a tight spiral staircase with no handrails, in a passage only constructed for one-man traffic (keeping in mind the size of the average medieval man compared to today’s McDonalds addicts). And do not even think about stopping for a break because you risk being trampled on like
the guys on the Pilgrimage to Mecca, by the hundreds of eager tourist.
It took over 600 years to build this impressive 157m Catherdral that dominates the Köln Skyline, with the building being done between 1248 & 1880. It even held the title of the World's Tellest Structure for a brief period in the 19th Century.
However, having said this, the climb was definitely worth the view and seeing the detailed construction up close, and it also meant that a daily work out routine could be skipped.
Out and About Köln
Andy decided to show us the Kölner culture and take us to a Brauhaus called Früh that of course serves the typical German cuisine: The Kölsch beer and Bockwurst. It was not the cuisine that made the place interesting but rather traditional ‘pub’ mood that was attempted. The waiters all had to be grumpy and rude to the customers and when you first walk in its quite intimidating even though you know that it’s all part of the job. And secondly, its assumed that nobody stops drinking beer!! Germans! So as soon as you are finished your drink the waiters refills it without asking and simply keeps a record of the refills.
So if you don’t pay attention it a sure way to get very drunk and out of pocket without noticing!
After Andy left us, Pauli, Daniel and Me began to look for somewhere to spend the evening
Can you blame us?
After finding out we couldn't actually dip the wafers into the fountain that we had come for we decided to help ourselves to the liquid Lindt...As much as I wish I could take credit for this brilliant idea, the honour is all Andy's!
until Daniel’s mate picked us up at about midnight. Boy was it difficult to find a place that served cocktails, it was all coffee shops. And it was even harder to find somewhere with happy hour on cocktails, but we did eventually find a place that was completely empty. But we had been up since before five and had sore legs from the Dom so we did not care if the place was empty or not, but soon enough every seat in the bar was taken.
Whilst in there a couple of ‘junggesellinnenabschied’ groups came in. This is like your typical bachelor or bachelorette party only here their friend dress them up in ridiculous costumes and make them sell things like shots, condoms or roses to the opposite sex. And the proceeds pretty much go to paying for the night.
Seeing how much fun they were all having made Pauli and Me decide that we would have our own ‘junggesellinnenabschied’ ‘(the scary thing is that 23 letters for one word is not strange in German!)
with the girls from Airbus with Andy as the lucky husband to be, but the plan has not gone ahead yet...
There are more photos below