Road Trip to Cologne


Autobahn

My wife and I are in Germany and had been very busy working on a couple of projects, so we had decided to take a couple days for ourselves and visit Cologne (Köln), with this side trip to our favorite spa – the Mediterana.

If you have never been to Cologne, it is a major European metropolitan city with more than 10 million occupants.

One of the first things you are greeted with is the Cologne Cathedral or the” Kölner Dom”, a magnificent figure in the Cologne skyline.

Cologne Dom

The fortitude of this cathedral is incredible, with construction beginning in 1248, and taking 632 years to complete in 1880. Actually, restoration is ongoing because stone is constantly being replaced and the gifts from pigeons that keeps on giving, has to be removed. Thousands of builders were involved in the creation of this marvel, they were inspired to stay true to the original plans. Apart from its exceptional genuine value and the imaginative masterpieces it contains, the Kölner Dom speaks to the lasting strength of European Christianity.  The city of Cologne itself, was founded and established in the 1st century AD, under the Roman Empire and has survived since under various other empires and two world wars.

Today, Cologne is a hub for both private and public media companies as well as home to the annual Cologne Carnival.

Customarily, the “fifth season” (carnival season) is declared open on November 11th and except for a temporary pause during the Advent and Christmas period, many events take place.  Carnival season is highlighted when the streets are officially declared open at downtown square, the Alter Markt on the Thursday before the beginning of Lent. Street carnival, a week-long street festival, also called “the crazy days”, takes place between the Fat Thursday (Weiberfastnacht) and ends on Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch). Throughout these days, you will see tens of thousands of people dressed up in masquerade costumes.

Cologne Carnival

We stayed and a small hotel overseeing the Markt or market and even though it’s a beehive of activity and a little noisy, we’re in no further away than 10 minutes from the Kölner Dom, the River Rhine, and our choice of eating and drinking establishments that represented most of the world.

Now even though we had our choice of eating establishments all around us, we decide if for a truly authenticity German experience and strolled an extra 5 minutes to the Brauhaus Päffgen.

Brauhaus Päffgen

With its traditional German menu, the Päffgen brewery is today, the last of more than 100 breweries from the last century and well worth the visit.

The visit to the Mediterana is something that we both had been looking forward to for a long time and I was hoping that a day at the spa would help relieve some issues I’ve been having with my back.

A few years back I visited the Mediterana for the first time and being a prudish Canadian, I was more than a little nervous with a thought of disrobing in front of people I did not know. I wrote about my experience and if you would like to read the post just click on My Visit to a German Spa. I’m thinking you have guessed the experience was not as dramatic as I thought it would be since I was looking forward to going back.

Calling the Mediterana a spa is an understatement. With its numerous spas, saunas, pools, massage and treatment areas, it is easy to find yourself transcending into total relaxation.

Mediterana

Yes, relaxation was high on the list that to be totally honest and just as excited about dining there.

Their menu features a Mediterranean style cuisine does not only extremely pleasing to the palette but is extremely healthy. I also like the fact they incorporate regional products and suppliers as much as possible. To me, the chefs treat each dish as an individual masterpiece.

In case you’re wondering, after my visit to the first sauna, scented with eucalyptus aroma, my back felt great. Whether it was natural healing powers or all in my head, it did not matter; it worked!

 

After our mini vacation, we were both able to jump back into work with clear minds and refreshed bodies.

If you are in Germany and have a mini vacation experience you would like to share, we would like to hear about it.

Until then, have a fun day.

 

 

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