On The QT

Cologne, Germany

Blogger: Clara Murphy

“Cologne? Like the perfume?” This was my response upon hearing that my friend, Mairead, was going to spend her year abroad in the relatively obscure German city. Germany never really appealed to me. Seemed to take itself too seriously; the geographical equivalent of a 9am Monday lecture. Despite my doubts, I did end up visiting. Twice even.

My September trip took place only one week into Erasmus, rendering Mairead as much of a clueless tourist as I was. We were embarrassingly unadventurous, shunning the suspicious looking German cuisine for a classy McDonalds meal. (We may or may not have eaten there twice.)

However, in May I decided to give Cologne another chance. At the very least I’d pick ice- cream from a van instead of a McFlurry. Even if the only flavours were bacon and sausage. Mairead greeted me at the train station looking like an anime character, dark hair now bubblegum blonde. A year in the city had transformed her into a quirky Köln girl – fully deserving of the German spelling. I predicted that I’d have a tongue piercing and a tattoo of a scorpion across my forehead by the time the weekend was over.

First thing on the menu was a nutritious breakfast in Wonder Waffel. Famous for its…waffles…it offered absolutely every possible combination of toppings. Cinnamon pineapples dipped in white chocolate sauce and edible glitter? Pretty fantastic. We walked it off by exploring the streets around the Rhine riverbank. It was a cheerful atmosphere with both children and adults alike popping bubbles.

On the tram journey home, Mairead pointed out a few ribboned trees as she described the May 1st tradition of men decorating the trees for their sweethearts. Perhaps I was incorrect in my baseless assumption that the classic Ger-man believes love is a wasteful and inefficient emotion.

Mairead’s trendy Lindenthal neighbourhood was bustling with activity as we ambled around. Packed restaurants, packed bars, packed chippers, packed boutiques. A personal highlight of the trip was becoming a true European by taking a bag of empty water bottles to the nearest supermarket and getting a whopping 25c per bottle for our recycling efforts. We ended up with exactly €2; just enough to grab our favourite Milka Nutella cookies. Environmentalism truly pays off.
Germany shuts down on Sunday’s so we spent the next day enjoying the sunshine in Hiroshima-Nagasaki Park as we sensibly tucked into some fresh rhubarb. Fresh rhubarb ice-cream, that is. (But better than a McFlurry.)

After taking a few tasteful selfies outside the famous Cologne Cathedral and buying a few postcards to add to my collection, it was time to bid farewell. While I may have skipped the piercings and tattoos, I did leave with a fresh sense of appreciation for German culture.

Until the next adventure,


  1. Wonderful post Clara. It makes me want to visit Cologne.

  2. Clara I really enjoyed your discription of Cologne! Sounds like you had s good time and found out Germany is not so bad!

  3. Really love your little quirky details and your style of writing is so engaging!

    Sounds like you had a fabulous time and really go involved in the culture
    Keep posting

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