While I was in Cologne I realised a few things that were pretty different from here.
First of all, the trains are a lot nicer. The seats are more comfortable and they leave quickly. The only thing is, you have to get on a certain coach or whatever it’s called and you have a seat number. Here, you can just get on and sit wherever. Ours is a lot more relaxed I guess.
Secondly, the streets are cobble-stoned. Seriously, it’s basically all cobblestone. I’m glad I didn’t wear heels on holiday because it would have been almost impossible to walk. My pumps are pretty much ruined now. The toes would go into the dirt between the cobblestones every now and then and pulling a suitcase along was like a mini workout. My arms were so sore for a day or two after pulling my suitcase along.
Another thing with the cobblestones was that it made it more difficult to see the little roads. you had to look really carefully to see the difference in the cobblestones. Most roads were tarmac but these ones were so hard to spot. You could be walking along and next thing you see is a car right in front of you.
Speaking of roads, drivers didn’t pay much attention to zebra crossings. Most of the time, we had to either risk it and cross in hopes of the driver stopping or stand and wait for someone to actually stop to let us across. The roads just seemed hectic too. When we were heading to the zoo we had to wait at the lights. The green man appeared but a green light for other lanes were showing so cars would still be coming up and turning into the road we were crossing. It was so much more dangerous. I’m glad I never have to drive on roads like that.
I know it’s a big city so the shopping streets would be busy but wow. It was like shopping in Belfast close to Christmas. There were a few street performers too which were cool. Oh and little stands where you could grab a pretzel or something while you rushed off to your next meeting (or shop.) Shops opened at 10am and closed at 8pm. Here, we usually open at 9am and close between 5.30 and 9pm. Their restaurants etc stayed open until at least 1am. Most of them anyway.
Bugs in Germany are massive. I don’t like bugs/insects. At home I run out of the room or squeal if I see a moth or spider. The spiders we saw made ours look like babies. Chris was not happy. He hates spiders. They moved so quickly too. Thank goodness we didn’t have any in our apartment. Moths are white too. They look nicer white than the ugly grey/brown moths we get but they also end up growing too huge. I don’t think I could deal with bugs that big.
Ok, I’ve made it sound mostly bad but it’s not really. The cobblestones are nice and make it look like little olden streets. People are very open in their relationships. Walking along the Rhine you’re likely to see couples with their arms round each other, kissing or lying or their partners lap or sitting on benches cuddled up together holding hands. Not everyone’s cup of tea but most people didn’t seem to mind.
People seemed to enjoy cycling. You could see cyclists everywhere you went. Every now and then you could hear a little bell chiming to let you know to move before a group/family would cycle past. Quite a healthy activity. You even had the option of renting a bicycle for the day. Here, I’d be suprised to see people going around on their bike. It’s either walk/bus/car where I live.
It is very different but it’s a different country so of course there would be a different culture. It’s nice to experience something new.