Renuka Lake - Nahan

Majestic lake presents a grand panorama to the visitors. Renuka Lake is the largest lake in Himachal Pradesh.

Varanasi

...is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.....By Mark Twain.

Dharamsala-Mcleodganj

This is a picturesque small village enroute to Mcleodganj. Isn't it a painting by GOD himself...!

Bhangarh

One of the most haunted place on the planet. Staying after sunset and going before sunrise is STRICTLY prohited by law.

Luxembourg

Enjoy boating in the green waters of Luxembourg and park your boats in the above parking bays.

Mitawali

The Ancient Temple which inspired the design of Indian Parliament House.

Showing posts with label Cologne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cologne. Show all posts

February 4, 2011

Enticing Fragrances of "Cologne"

Welcome to Cologne, where the cathedral spires tower over Germany's oldest city and its innumerable cultural and historical treasures, world-famous museums and active art scene. The world feels at home in Cologne, where people meet for a Kölsch, a chat or simply a laugh. Life in Cologne is uncomplicated and vivacious.
Cathedral is the first thing you notice, I noticed as I came out of the railway station. The cathedral built in 13th century has a towering presence and is visible from most of parts of the city. Cathedral celebrated its 750th anniversary in 1998. The magnificience of Cathedral is imparallel, whether it is day or night. Built over 600 years ago entirely in a high-Gothic style, it is Cologne's most famous landmark and an UNESCO World Heritage site. Its most sacred treasure is the Shrine of the Three Magi, a magnificent gilded sarcophagus thought to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men. More than 500 steps lead up the south tower, which offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Keep an eye over cathedral and you will not be lost in cologne, it rescued me a number of times. At night it looks like this:

The Huge shopping complex underneath the railway station took me by sheer admiration. Icicng on the cake were the large number of eateries be it MacD's, Pizza Hut or better you name it. It was getting hard to resist, so we sat down to enjoy our Pizza with some sift drinks. Pizza never had tasted this much better.
Coming out of railway station was the cathedral standing in front of us, a perfect Welcome to Cologne.

Our Hotel was at the walking distance from station, so we started on foot. Late march was quite cold and I was feeling the chill in the air. Thouroghly clean streets and roads were also taking my notice, for a moment I was left comparing with the state of our roads. It was only after entering the hotel room I got some solace. However finding a church in front of my hotel room, evaporated any nasty thoughts which I was getting. 

(This is the view of Church outside Hotel Hilton)

After refreshing ourselves quickly, we left for Dusseldorf where we had to participate in "Wire and Tube Fair". 
By the time we got ready Jorg and Chris were there to pick us. Within the next 15 minutes we were on legendary Highway "AutoBahn", the only highway where you drive as fast as you can. It was a dream come true. Till now only seen on Discovery, I can't believe was in front of me, I was getting nostalgic.
AutoBahn was constructed by Hitler in early 1940's has a 70 cm. thick concrete base. It was his early preparation before going to war, he wanted to connect every city of Germany. Such was the utility of these highways that whole of the German army marched into Poland in 15 minutes.

By the time we reached Dusseldorf (an industrial hub of Germany), I lost no chance to admire the beautiful landscpes on way, vast agricultural fields (much bigger than we have in India).
In the evening I set out on foot to explore Cologne. I was amazed to find an Indian restaurant in Cologne. Though didn't intended to have Indian Food, I sat to check how Indian foods will taste in Germany?. Food was as usual great. But finding the statues of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in the bar didn't made a happy sight, atleast to me. After dinner I again continued my exploration. One thing which I liked most is the discipline, drivers stopping for pedestrians - though a few times I ended up in an awkward position- but still was amazed to see the road ettiquettes. If not Germany, I would have been ran over a number of times in India.  

Even the cycle stands were amazing and more organized than most of the parking lots. Check out...
Next day we set out for Dusseldorf as we were participating in the fair at Dusseldorf. The hot chocolate milk and vegetable cheese sandwitches from Starbucks were my staple food for next 5 days. Commuting from Cologne in train was another great time, 1 hour travel seemed nothing. Looking out of window and capturing the pics became my favorite pastime. 

(A view from the Metro train, I used to take from Dusseldorf Station to Exhibition grounds)

The fair was interesting in its own sense. The experience of meeting a lot of different persons from different lands/ cultures was amazing. It was as if the whole world has come at a place. Here I realized human touch can overcome all language barriers. I too made some friends during the fair (from left Me, Lisa and Kiriakki). On one of the evenings we all went for a dinner in Dusseldorf, Chris in his over confidence lost a 10 Euro bet to me.

For the next 5 days we were more involved in the fair and business. Whenever I used to  get a chance, I never forgot to venture out. I used to wait for the evenings to go around Dusseldorf, and Dusseldorf didn't disappointed me even. Artistic designs and waterbodies in the middle of the roads simply took my breath away. 

Koning's Alley is a majestic place. The moment I sat foot there I was overwhelmed with the energetic exuebrance of the place. With everyone enjoying, I quickly came out of formal shoes and bacame a part of the place. Though I was raining a little, but that was too insignificant to dampen our spirits. 
All of a sudden I was getting the sense of beer in my veins and I was standing on the beer Street, I will call it my way at Altstadt, on the turns of Rhine.

The Altstadt is jokingly known as Germany's longest bar and this isn't far short of the truth. There are an enormous number of pubs within its boundaries. For a night out, there are few places to rival it in the whole of Europe, if you're after decent beer. The jokey atmosphere in many pubs should help to dispelmisconceptions about Germans' lack of humour and general dourness.
The waiters/ waitresses are sometimes entertainment in themselves, with their cheeky comments (I wouldn't try asking for water in Zum Uerige). Dusseldorf's best pubs are amongst the best pubs in Germany. 

Energies were flowing freely with everyone sitting in open, singing and... for a moment I forgot all other things, Vow what a time it was OOPS what a place it is!!!!

Markets in Cologne close by 7:30 PM, so if you wanna shop do it early. Evenings see alot of activities in bars and roadside/ open pubs, it seems whole of the cologne is out enjoying.


The last evening I spent with eternaly romantic Chris and his family (Chris+Svenga+Alwin). Chris was ay his usual, Svenga was much more inquisitive about India and India's culture. We talked for hours, she made me recall many intricacies about Indian culture, Believes and virtues, Indian marriages, India study system, Indian history and ............many more. In return I got to learn a lot about Germany. Like everyone, she also fell in love with India. She was kind enough to drop me back to my hotel at night.

To end my trip: Cologne is addictive, vibrancy of the place will always keep you going for more. A must for everyone visiting Germany.

The only thing I missed out was driving on AutoBahn, may be the next time I will drive too.

Next day I left for India, with a lot of memories and yeah chocolates too....I must finish this up before I start forgetting....