I have always been a fan of big cities. I love the vibe and the energy radiated, I love the modern infrastructure, people walking fast to their appointments with their coffee-to-go.
I may not have lived in too big cities. I guess that the constant pressure and vibe would exhaust me at one point. That’s why I have always landed in middle-sized cities such as Hannover and now Nuremberg, with their 500.000 people and their rather relaxed personalities.
But deep inside, I yearn for some excitement and adventures from time to time. Well.. Of all the big cities in Germany, I am a big fan of Berlin and Cologne. This time of the year I decided to solo travel to Cologne to visit a good friend and to get lost in the city.
Everyone would know the Cologne Dome, the Rhine river and the Hohenzollern Bridge with the thousands of love locks. But this time, I don’t want to do the common touristic stuffs. I just want to relish my MOST favorite area, the Belgian District (“das belgische Viertel“).
Since the trip was spontaneous, I didn’t have so many options left for accommodations. I opted for an Air BnB-apartment instead of a hotel room. Accommodation in Cologne is very expensive but they do have very nice hotels in the city center. But since I don’t want to spend 150€ per night for a hotel room, I went for an Air BnB apartment, which is located in the heart of the belgische Viertel.
If you are looking for a cozy room in an old building, just very nicely located, go for the apartment of “Hendryk&Laura” at the Air BnB. It is a real deal and the host is extremely friendly and helpful!
I spent two mornings and one half afternoon just roaming the streets of the Belgische Viertel. This district is packed with so many pretty, creative and chic cafés, bars, restaurants, stores and boutiques.. I actually didn’t plan on buying things. But well, I ended up with two bags of nice and unique christmas presents. How practical!
These are some impressions of the stores hidden in the Belgische Viertel..
The cafés are the ones which you want to sit in and just linger.. With many selections of hot drinks and food, extremely hip and creative decorations. There are cafés for the princess.. for the geeks.. for the scandinavian lover.. for the american lovers.. You name it! I sat in a couple of cafés and I felt kind of creative and rejuvenated afterwards 😉
If you happen to be around..these are some of my recommendations:
- Café Belle Chic, Lütticher Straße 6 Köln, http://www.cafe-belle-chic.com/. I was there on my first morning. The place is very pretty and princessy, with a vintage touch here and there. The background music is nice too, ranging from Nat King Cole to Michael Bublé (I think..). They have a pretty nice selection for breakfast, which was unfortunately not available on the day I was there 🙁 I was going for the Müsli-Smoothie-bowl but it wasn’t available. They also didn’t have croissant on the day, which was a big pity 🙁 At last I opted for a crepe. It was excellent! The owner even asked me, whether I wanted the crepe dough with soya milk instead of normal milk. That made up for the unavailable dishes 🙂
- Balthasar Café, Aachener Straße 18 Köln, http://www.balthasar-cafe.de/. I was there for my morning coffee (in a big glass with soya milk.. which was heaven) and the egg benedicts.. #LOVE
- Bar Schmitz, Aachener Straße 34 Köln, http://salonschmitz.com/bar. They are such an allrounder. But do try their gelato and sorbet. You won’t regret it! My favorite is “caramel fleur de sel”.. What would be yours? 🙂
After spending two fruitful and extremely inspirational days in Cologne, I went back home to my middle-sized-city of Nuremberg. I bid the Cologne Dome “Auf Wiedersehen” on the tram ride over the Rhine river going to Köln-Deutz Bahnhof. It is as majestic as ever.. But it is the Belgische Viertel, that I love.