Stepping completely out of my comfort zone, I decided that now was the time to take my first solo trip. Cologne, Germany was the ideal country for me to start my experience in.
Tip: If your thinking of traveling solo, I would pick a country that you have already been to, and start with a 2-3 night stay to test if you enjoy traveling on your own or if it’s not for you.
It wasn’t until I arrived at the airport, that I found it pretty daunting. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind. What will the hostel be like? Will I get lost? What if I don’t make any friends?
Heading to my hostel, my biggest worry was staying in a room with people I have never met before. It was my first experience of staying in a hostel and I was staying in a 6-bed women dorm room at Hostel Die Wohngemeinschaft. The staff made me feel instantly welcome and showed me around. I could not believe how nice it was, this hostel was better than most hotels I have stayed at. The bed in the dormitory was bigger than my bed back home, there were curtins for privacy. It even had it’s own electric connector and lamp. Shower facilites were brilliant and clean, you get given a free towel. It instantly put me at ease seeing how lovely the hostel was. In my dorm room I shared a room with two girls from London doing a gap year, a girl from Taiwan and a woman from Australia.
Around 6pm, I headed out to get something to eat, if you stay at Hostel die wohngemeinschaft it’s close to the Belgian Quarter that is full of lively bars and restaurants.
Tip: It’s much cheaper to eat around the Belgian Quarter than on the waterfront by the river Rhine.
Cologne at night is beautiful, as I strolled past the imposing Cologne Cathedral it was breaktaking. It’s a miricle it survived the second World War, in 1996 UNESCO added the impressive Cathedral to World Hertiage list.
It would not be a city break without a love lock bridge right? Hohenzollern Bridge was the answer to Colgone’s. Sit down on the promenade and have the most incredible views. This became my favourite spot in Cologne, every night I would come down and chill-out for an hour.
The next morning I went to a cafe popular with locals, Schitmz. I then ventured into the Old Town, aligned with cobblestone streets and German architecture. I always love visiting an old part of a city to see the contrast between old and modern. In the Old town you’ll find many traditional German BierHaus. Kolsh beer is truly unqiue because isn’t brewed anywhere else in the world. Served in a small glass, waiters continually fill your glass until you don’t want any more, an indication is to put your beer mat over the glass. Quaint cobblestone streets lead down to the recognisable, iconic coloured buildings and Grob St.Martin.
Free to the public I headed back to Cologne Cathedral, the detail on the outside is just as impressive inside. Admire the ceiling and stained glass windows, light a candle or wander around you’ll be amazed at the history behind this Catherdral.
Directly opposite, is Museum Ludwig an contemporary art museum. There are exhibitions of Pop Art, abstract and surrealism, it also has the largest collection of Picasso’s work. The photography exhibiton of Heinrich Böll really inspired me.
Walking across the Hohenzollern Bridge, the sunset was something like I’ve never seen before. I was heading to the Kolń Triangle, it’s €3 to head 28 levels high. At the top is a 360° rooftop observation deck with panoramic views across Cologne.
Those thousand questions that had been running through my head at the start of my trip had all been answered. The hostel was brilliant, I made friends and I definately got lost! Nothing should stop you from traveling solo, in fact I prefer it.