We took our first trip (not moving, no other family) last weekend to Köln and it was something. S doesn’t remember the many times we jumped on a train or plane to visit other cities last time we lived in Germany, and frankly, her verbal skills were not nearly as advanced as they are now. You know what I’m getting at: 5 year olds are champion complainers!

My favorite episode went something like this:

— I want to play in the fountain!**

We go to the Rheingarten where the fountain in question is located.


— Ok, we’re here.


— OH MY GOD GO! Play!

Falls knee deep into fountain, while I reconsider non-refundable train tickets.

Oh, and we brought the dog!

In between the 5-year-old’ness, we managed to see some amazing sights. The Kölner Dom, for example, which S insists is bigger on the inside, because I let her watch Doctor Who that one time, and the Museum Ludwig were both highlights.


S especially liked the Präterium and kept asking Jon to teach her “Aladdin,” which is how she says “Latin.”

Köln is very small compared to other big cities and was easily doable in 36 hours. We stayed near the train station so going back and forth (especially since we occasionally needed to leave the dog there) was an cinch. I wouldn’t recommend our hotel, so I won’t write about it. The staff was friendly, but the rooms weren’t well kept. We chose it, because it was still available last minute and allowed pets.

We had much better luck with restaurants. The first recommendation, Die Fette Kuh, was found within the comments section of an article about Berlin’s current burger boom. Located in Severinsviertal, it’s quite out of the way of the usual tourist spots. The regular burgers (i.e.: for beef eaters) were great; Jon even said he liked it better than our burger joint here. I, unfortunately, made a bad choice: the veggie teriyaki burger. The veggie patty itself was delicious and much better than the Berlin offerings I’ve tried, but there was so much teriyaki sauce the whole thing fell apart. I made myself feel better with garlic fries.

We tried one of these Weckmänner for a snack. Its tastes like challah, and has little raisin eyes and a clay pipe. I’ve never seen these anywhere, but Köln.

Later we had dinner at Great Wall, which was better for everyone. We made a reservation online, which didn’t really mean anything; we were told when we got there that they didn’t check it. The restaurant gets fairly busy – busloads of Chinese tourists were regularly brought by – so be prepared for fast, curt service. Its incredibly close to the Dom, too. Just walk straight ahead and there you are!

Despite the at times negative commentary from S, I hope we take another weekend trip soon. **Playing in fountains is a thing German kids do. All the time. Any fountain. And sometimes they get naked. It’s weird. I’m sorry, I’m very open-minded, but there are some things about me that are just American and I can’t change them. Here’s a list:

º Letting children play naked outside is weird, and letting them do it in a public fountain is probably some kind of health hazard.

º I like enormous coffees and I’m not apologizing for it!


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