Wilkommen, Beastie-Freunde!Explorer Beastie and I are just back from a great few days in Cologne and Düsseldorf! And there’s plenty here for both humans and monsters to enjoy… care to join us for a spin through the highlights of our trip?
First stop – Cologne! And of course, we had to go and have a look at the famous cathedral. This twin-spired Gothic masterpiece dominates the city skyline, and it only took 632 years to build! Still, the extra effort seems to have been worth it… The Kölner Dom is still the biggest cathedral in Germany, and thanks to those spires, it has the largest façade of any church in the world.
It is also, it turns out, really difficult to photograph. I’m still kicking myself for leaving my proper camera in the baggage lockers at the station and only bringing my phone with me!
But take our word for it – this is a real-must see. From the outside, which is just dripping with statues, flying buttresses and gargoyles, to the stained glass and high arched ceilings of the interior, it’s stunning from every angle. Oh, and it’s free to go in too – WIN!
As it turns out, we got a better view of it from further away. This is what you see from the rail bridge over the Rhine, where Explorer Beastie enjoyed a bit of boat-spotting and clambering among the padlocks attached to the fence as well!
Of course, sightseeing can make a Beastie pretty thirsty. Time for a glass of Kölsch, the region’s speciality beer… Prost!
Better not have too many of those, Explorer Beastie – day 2 is THEME PARK DAY!
Phantasialand is just outside Cologne, and I last visited it -gulp- at the turn of the century, when I was still in my teens. Eeeek! Despite much monster cajoling, I’m sad to say that my zeal for rollercoasters has waned somewhat since those days. Explorer Beastie was a little disappointed, but I was able to get him back on side by letting him hang out with a dragon for a while after lunch.
Plus there’s always plenty for a Beastie to see, even when you’re technically too small to go on most of the rides.
After all those high jinks, it was time for a stroll through the streets of Düsseldorf, our home for the long weekend.
We frequently found our feet (or paws) leading us down Königsallee, a leafy canalside walk near the centre of town. It’s lovely for a stroll…
… A sit…
…Or a chance to take a moment and watch the world go by.
We also enjoyed meeting the creatures who grace the ironwork on the side of one of the bridges, even if we didn’t spot their living counterparts in the water below!
A little further down the road, the view is quite different. First, you pass the Rheinturm, Düsseldorf’s tallest building…
Officially, it’s a telecoms tower, but there’s also a revolving restaurant and observation deck up there for those with a good head for heights!
But for us, the sunny riverside location of Düsseldorf-Hafen beckoned, so we kept our paws on the ground and took in the sights of this redeveloped dockland area instead. These unusual buildings greet you as you head towards the water…
The white, silver and red brick “Neuer Zollhoff” blocks were designed by Frank Gehry, and are supposed to represent a family – the shiny silver building, the “child”, reflects its brick and white plaster “parents”. But, as you can see, its warped stainless steel walls double up as a handy funhouse mirror, perfect for monster shenanigans!
Some of the older buildings in the area have been given a fresh new makeover, too. Explorer Beastie’s favourite was this former storage facility, now being scaled by 29 brightly-coloured “Flossis”, created by Stuttgart-based artist Rosalie.
There are a few nods to the area’s industrial past here, too…
High five, old-school dockland crane!
And as the weekend wound down, we spent a lazy Sunday morning in the park…
Although thanks to this rather dramatic signpost, we elected not to feed the ducks!
And what would a holiday be without a few friends in tow? Some of you may recognise my first Goth Beastie, Miss Chelsea Wool-fe, in this photo where she’s accompanied by Explorer Beastie and her chum Marge the Glamorous Pug.
A perfect end to a super weekend!
Where are you all off to this summer? Let us know in the comments!
49 thoughts on “Explorer Beastie in Germany”
Wow, what a great report!!
Thanks, Lu! It’s been a couple of years since we were last in Germany, and we’ve really missed it!
Well, you had a fine trip!
What a super trip! No big travel plans at this point, so I’m getting real vicarious fun out of these Beastie adventures!
Thanks Amy! I had a travelling dry spell myself over the last couple of years, but I’m making up for it with a vengeance now… And it’s always more fun with a Beastie in tow! 😀
What a wonderful variety of architectural styles. I love that fence with the bug designs. It reminds me of the gates to the Globe in London.
We’ve got travel plans galore for this summer. Our kids will have two vacations each.
Thanks Laura! And lucky you… I can’t wait to read all about your adventures! Let’s hope you manage to steer clear of the horror film motels this year 😆
Yeah, that would be a plus.
So much goodness, here. I just realized that the ‘lil espresso cup in my kitchen from a Cologne friend has a picture of a little Kölner Dom on it; until this post, I had never seen pictures of the original! I didn’t realize it was that massive. Also, very beautiful. They really didn’t skimp on the height and the ornate details back then, did they? 😉 What a charming little canal, and a cute Deutscher dragon. Your photos make me really miss Germany. Glad to see EB is having a fun time. 😀
Cheers, Shirley! Looking back, I can’t believe we crammed so much into that short trip! And yes, the Kölner Dom is incredible… Although the stonework outside is much darker than it appears in my terrible photos, so it looks waaaay Gothic-ier in real life. I always have a great time when I visit Germany – is it somewhere you’ve been a lot as well?
I studied German in Berlin for a few months, and absolutely loved my time there (unfortunately most of the German is on its way to being forgotten!)
Oh wow, lucky you! A few years ago, several of my friends were living in Berlin and I ended up visiting quite a lot. It’s such a great city!
That sounds like so much fun, Helen (how neat to be able to return again and again. I definitely would!). Berlin is a great place to discover with buddies! Lots there to inspire crafters, too. 🙂
Definitely! I have fond memories of the local cafés, great markets and truly awesome museums. Oh no, now I want to go back again!
oh, and I love Marge the Glamorous Pug! hihi
Hahaha! Yes, there was no way she was going to let the Beasties hog the spotlight! 😆
Looks like they had a great time . We’re cruising around the UK, Channel Islands & Ireland this year, it will be interesting to see its coastline.
Niiiiice, enjoy! I’d love to see the Channel Islands… I’ve read so much about Jersey Zoo, and I’ve been watching old episodes of “Bergerac” online lately too! Let us know if you drop anchor in Dublin on your travels 😀
Hahaha that poor duck!!! (I usually just whisper my complaint to myself when I see people throwing bread in the lake–‘It expands in their stomaches and kills them! Murderous child!’–but I’ll have to keep that catchy saying in mind for next time!)
DUCK BREAD IS DUCK DEATH.
Hahaha, I know! Duck welfare must be high on the list of priorities for Düsseldorfers… Which could explain why their parks are full of lovely ducks and geese, rather than the vicious, bread-resistant seagulls that populate my local green spaces!
Haha it’s all about diseased and manky peg-legged pigeons eating cigarette butts down here in London!!
Oh, how I love things with gargoyles on them! And Explorer Beastie got to meet a dragon! Too cute! I really can’t say why but something just creeps me out about those Flossis guys…
Hmmm… They do vaguely remind me of some horror film monster, now that you mention it! I just can’t put my finger on which one. I really wish I’d brought my real camera out to the Kölner Dom to get photos of the gargoyles as well – they were all different, and some of them were incredibly monstrous. I suppose you’ll just have to go and see them for yourself 😉
I think I just might have to put that on my travel list. 🙂 As for the Flossis, I think you’re right! They do seem kind of familiar…and yet…I’m fairly certain their mysterious spooky counterparts were not so vibrantly coloured! Lol. That must be what’s making it hard to place.
I’m sure it will come back to one or other of us eventually! I’m thinking it might be the eyes-in-its-hands monster from Pan’s Labyrinth, perhaps, or maybe one of the creatures from The Cabin in the Woods?
Ooh good choices! I loved both those movies. 🙂 There is a bit of similarity to the hands guy! I might have to give these a re-watch now…
Yes, I think you probably should… You know, for research! 😉
Lol. Totally! 🙂
I’m now imagining a waterfowl horror movie with giant loaves of white bread chasing unsuspecting mallards around a creepy dark pond! Thanks to you and EB for the tour. And 632 years sounds pretty quick compared to the time it takes for some of the road repairs around here. As for summer, well we haven’t even had spring yet in Portland, so I’m just sticking around home hoping for some warm weather.
Careful now! That sounds like you’re inviting a relentless 4-month long surprise heatwave! And are you sure spring didn’t show up? Did you try looking down the back of the couch? I love the idea of a baked-goods-based horror film, by the way – start work on the screenplay immediately! Perhaps we could even prepare a sequel… “Entenbrot ist Ententod II – Sourdough of Sorrows”. Thoughts?
Yes! Followed up by “The Wrath of Rye.” I see a franchise in the making! Oh, and I guess we’ve decided to skip spring altogether and go right from winter into summer since there is indeed hot, sunny weather coming soon.
Nice! I could definitely get behind any venture that combines my twin loves of horror films and baked goods 😀 And it sounds like what you’ve been experiencing this year is an Irish spring – otherwise known as Winter II! 😆
These Beastie trips are a really fun way of seeing around the world without having to battle through airports. AND there’s the added entertainment of discovering Explorer Beastie has a girlfriend! I think a clan gathering is called for…..Beasties of the world unite (and have a few Beastie Beers to celebrate!)
Thanks, Queen Bee! The gossip columns have been aflame with rumours since Explorer Beastie and Chelsea were spotted stepping out together, but they’ve both refused to comment on whether they’re officially An Item. Perhaps a big Beastie party might be just the nudge they need… I could definitely go for some Beastie Beers, anyway! 😀
What a great trip. I feel a bit homesick now …
I went to Cologne last summer and absolutely loved it! I was shocked how big the cathedral really is. There is really no chance to take a picture that will do it’s beauty and size justice.
I’m quite intrigued by those ‘Flossis’ I have to see if there’s a chance of visiting Duesseldorf during my next trip home.
I’m glad you enjoyed the trip to my home country!
Thanks Ivonne, I really did! I just wish my German would hurry up and improve 😆 Cologne cathedral is so amazing… I was trying to imagine what it must have looked like before all the tall modern buildings sprang up around it! And Düsseldorf is definitely worth a visit… I was especially impressed at all the green spaces in the city, it makes it lovely to walk around. Hopefully I’ll get back to visit again sometime soon!
Next time you go make sure to have a “Drecksack”. It’s a mix of coke and dark beer I think. The locals told us we had to try it and I just loved the taste. So refreshing, sweet and slightly bitter.
Oooh, one of my friends was telling me about this but I didn’t get a chance to try it… I was too busy falling hard for Düsseldorf’s Altbiers! Oh well, I suppose I’ll just have to go back again really soon… 😉
That’s a good plan… and if you ever find yourself in front of the cathedral again, there’s a little bakery really close by. The have delicious pastries! (Yes, food is all I’m thinking about.)
Well, staying properly fed on holiday IS very important! I’ll look out for it next time… Because it does look like I’ll be going back 😀
Wow, this was a proper adventure! Looks like Beasty had a great time! How fun.
Cheers Nina! We’ve been enjoying getting out and about a bit more this year… Thanks for joining us on our latest expedition! 😀
I visited Cologne and Dusseldorf last year and loved them! Did you climb the towers in the Cathedral in Cologne? Its really scary!!
Oh wow, I’ll have to look back through your old posts to see if I can spot any familiar places! Climbing the cathedral towers is on my list for next time… A pressing need to eat something meant we kept our feet firmly on the ground this trip! 😆
Did you say amusement park???!?!? Love! And that picture of yon Beastie on the padlock covered bridge is almost as priceless as the photo with the golden dragon. Did *you* get to ride many rides?? Maybe not, as it looks like you didn’t venture in this time 🙂 I will admit that after my son was born I was no longer able to do all of the spinning rides so well . . . I finally understood what some of my friends would say about feeling ill. I’m still a roller coaster girl, though. Hoping you had a lovely trip!!
I certainly did say amusement park! 😀 It was a heap of fun, and yes, I got to try out more than a few of the rides… Especially the cheesy ones, like the funhouse hotel and the “Haunted Rickshaw” ghost train. I think I’m just out of practice with rollercoasters… Maybe I’ll do better next time 😉 It was a super-fun trip though, thanks for joining us!
Thank you for taking us along with you! I’m loving those monsters and the theme of this blog. Well done!
Oh wow, thanks Robin! I’m so happy you found us! 😀