Monday, July 12, 2010

Cologne and Hamburg

After our lunch in Boppard, we left for Cologne. The main attraction here is the Cologne Cathedral. Since the weather was good and it was a public holiday, there was quite a crowd around the Cathedral. Below is a clip of the external view.

After going round the cathedral, we took an inside tour. You are free to video inside and there is no entrance charge. It is very impressive inside. Below is a sample video of the interior.

We then head for a cafe just in front of the cathedral (to the left with the back to the cathedral) for a rest and a little refreshment. This cafe was very crowded and it serves the most visually tempting ice-cream combination that I have seen, it is Movenpick ice-cream (found everywhere in Germany) but since I was short of time, I was not able to sample it. A very interesting part of the cafe is the toilet. The WC has transparent door but it turns opaque once somebody is inside. See the clip below.

There is a charge of 50 cents but well worth it.

We then continued our journey to Hamburg.

The first stop was at Michaelskirche or St.Michael's church. Below is a view of the church taken off a reflection in a nearby glass building. The idea came from the tour director as the church tower is too tall to capture it all from the side.

From here, we went to the Rathaus or town hall and the adjoining square, a very popular tourist spot. The video below is from the inner courtyard of the town hall.

In front of the town hall is a lake that gives the area a postcard look as can be seen from the video below.

After driving round the city, we went to our hotel, the All Seasons Hamburg. It was unfortunate that the lift had broken down and most of us had to carry our luggage to our room since we did not want to leave the chore to the tour leader and driver. Luckily, the highest was only 3rd floor. The finishing in the room is very futuristic and the shower area is also see-through from the bedroom so it will create a very romantic atmosphere for honeymooners. Also there are two mini markets nearby so very convenient to stock up your snacks and drinking water.

In the evening we had the first of our optional tours. This time it was a Hamburg harbour cruise for 20 euros. I think it is well worth taking as not only is the tour of the harbour area but also through some of the canals in the city. It was very informative and interesting, highly recommended. The first videos shows the boat taking a very close look at the side of a container ship.

The video below shows some of the historical buildings along the many canals.

After the boat tour we had a bonus, a bus tour of Hamburg at night, including the infamous red-light area of Reeperbahn.

Ronald Kwok

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