Belgian influencer and journalist Lars Lagaisse visited Cologne’s “Südstadt”.
It’s been a decade since I first visited Cologne for a concert. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to explore the city then. All I could do was to get a quick photo in front of the famous cathedral before hopping on the train back home.
A chat in the “Büdchen”
Ten years later, I returned, luckily with a bit more free time on my agenda. We started out with a nice walk in Südstadt, a popular district in – guess what – the south of Cologne. Strolling through cosy streets and avenues, you will discover boutiques, galleries, cafes, and trendy restaurants everywhere. There also is a “Büdchen” on every street corner: a kiosk selling all essentials even when the supermarkets are closed. Though somewhat reminiscent to our night shops, they offer much more than that in Cologne: They double as meeting places, allowing you to have your morning coffee, a chat, and buy your toilet paper at the same time.
You will also notice that this part of the city has a greener look. Parking spaces have been replaced by parks or an extra-large terrace, only enhancing the cosy feel of the neighbourhood. I have found that same cosiness in the nice Comedia Wagenhalle restaurant, located in a former fire station. It is a truly unique location at the heart of Südstadt, including a beautiful garden to relax in after a tiring day, with beautiful lounge seats surrounded by plenty of greenery.
From harbour to a modern city district in the Rheinauhafen
The Rheinauhafen with its spectacular architecture is just around the corner. An urban renewal project to make Cologne even more attractive, the Rheinauhafen was built within the confines of a former trading harbour. Its harbour character is still evident in the remaining harbour cranes, and many vintage elements of the nineteenth-century harbour have been mixed in with modern architecture. While the Rheinauhafen currently mostly houses offices, a few museums are scattered there as well. One of them is the extremely tasty Chocolate Museum. You can find some trendy bars and restaurants, beach volleyball courts, and a skate park for the cool kids as well as the constant back and forth of joggers and walkers in the morning and evening here.
Love at first feeling
Our guide told us that there is no “love at first sight” in Cologne, but rather a “love at first feeling”. This city must be felt and experienced to fully appreciate it. It is true, too. That appreciation is only increased by looking for the “Denkmal” signs spread across the city, similar to the “Protected Heritage” signs found on listed façades. A city like Cologne, which suffered greatly during World War II, will have you appreciate them even more than usual.
Some of my appreciation for Cologne may be owed to the fact that I ate the best cinnamon rolls of my life there. If you’re looking for a guilty pleasure, I’d be more than happy to send you to Cinnamood in Ehrenstraße, where you are going to find the tastiest sweets to fuel you up during your city tour.
Pictures by Lars Lagaisse