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!