Cologne is a shopping paradise……It’s shop till you drop!!!! There are two shopping streets almost parallel to each other, agonizingly long…. as long as your feet can walk! And when your feet cannot take it anymore and you are dying to sit down, don’t even think of looking for benches as they intentionally did not put them there so you are forced yet again to spend money for the privilege of sitting and drinking tasteless coffee at a coffeehouse. We have accepted the fact that the Germans don’t know how to make coffee! But they sell high-tech coffeemakers, mind you… Tip: If you want real good coffee, go to Italy or France! So now, you are sitting in a coffeehouse and you suddenly feel the urge to go to the toilet, i have to warn you that toilets in Germany are not free! yes, they are treated as business! they install counters on toilet entrances so you cannot avoid getting past a German woman who will charge you from 25 to 50 centimes and directs you to go either to the “Herren” for women (remember: Hers)… and “Damen” for men (remember: the MEN) depending on how she thinks which sex you belong to. Hubby says, it must be costing the establishment more to put a toilet manager into their payroll than what they actually earn as Toilet Income! Heck! even in petrol stations in the autobahn, there are toilet managers! Anyway, if you don’t mind eating standing (and toilet is not a problem), there are many stalls selling “wurst”. Currywurst is especially popular and we thought we should try it before leaving the Fatherland, but everytime we passed by one, we just didn’t feel hungry or it was not yet mealtime. (hence, we lost the opportunity!) Germans seem to be eating all day long. All food establishments have people eating at anytime of the day. Even at lunchtime, you can still order breakfast! here is the breakfast menu we had at 12 noon!
A typical Fruhstück.. (breakfast)
1 kännchen kaffee……………a pot of coffee
2 brötchen…………….two bread rolls
3 scheiben wurst oder….supposed to be some sausage but they ran out and so we were given sliced ham instead
kase, konfitüre, butter …cheese, jam, butter
All these at 4.50euros… not bad considering that we were able to combine breakfast and lunch for one meal!!! A money-saving tip! hehehe!!
In the centre of Cologne, we noticed three branches of Starbucks and several outlets of McDonalds. But we never go to these places. We’d rather eat wurst than American burgers, drink coffee from German coffeehouses even if they are, as i said, tasteless!
Madonna’s billboards that time were all over the place, she was promoting her new fashion line for H&M. Gosh! the lady is anorexically thin, like Victoria Beckham!
Germany is renowned for making wooden dolls/puppets
a shopping mall
A stall selling bread. Just one of this bread will last you for days!
St Apolsten or the Church of the Holy Apostles (Romanesque style) . This church is the converging point of the two main shopping streets. The famous Neumarkt Passage next to it is a subway (city rail) station incorporating a shopping mall.
We also noticed a proliferation of camera shops selling, not German-made cameras but Japanese brands! These camera shops are as many as cigarette machines which you see everywhere! We are really wondering what is it about the Germans’ obsession with the camera?
Germany is the smoking capital of Europe so be warned!
If you are allergic to cigarette smoke, then this is not the country for you. No one is spared and everyone is forced to be a passive smoker. Even while walking on the streets, you can still inhale the smoke of someone puffing a kilometer away. This is where we get so distressed when inside a food establishment. Even if the food is awesome, it gets ruined by the wanton disregard of these smokers to the well-being of those who do not smoke. At one time, we were in an enclosed room supposedly a “no-smoking area”. But the smoke emanating from the smoking area was coming through the gaps on the door and there was not a single exhaust to be found. It was like, i was inhaling in every bit of smoke particles which was already causing me migraine. I couldn’t take it any longer so i just left the place without finishing my food, leaving the hubby paying our bill in the counter!
It is also very common to see tourists (we saw them, japanese!) , entering a restaurant, only to come out a split of a second later because they were greeted by smoke at the entrance!