Sunday, July 23, 2017

Western Europe - Day 3 and 4: Cologne

Summary of Day 3:
Breakfast at Merzenich Backereien
Hop-on Hop-off CityTour
Lindt Chocolate Museum
Perfume Museum
Dinner at Keule

We started off Day 3 with a good breakfast at this nearby cafe bakery called Merzenich Backereien.

There was just such a wide variety of cakes and pastries that we went crazy ordering.

By the way, the restaurants and cafes here don't normally serve plain water. If you want water, just get the tea and don't put in the tea sachet that comes with the order. LOL. I'm not sure if it is a miscommunication or if they don't just serve hot water to just anyone, but they refused to serve plain water to us.

Merzenich Backereien
Various branches throughout
Price: Approx EUR 6 per pax

Since there wasn't much to do, we then took the Hop-on hop-off CityTour bus around Cologne, and stopped at the Lindt Chocolate Museum.

The museum showcased the history of chocolates, and a production line showing the chocolate making process. 

Door gifts for us.

There were food samples to try and of course, the kiasu Singaporean in us made sure that we went to try them all.

Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum Cologne)
Am Schokoladenmuseum 1A, 50678 Köln, Germany
Price: EUR 6.50 per pax

Afterwards, we took the CityTour bus back to the city area and wanted to look for a decent lunch place, but ended up in a random bakery cos it seems that the area has no decent restaurants at all. There were many pubs though!

Price: Approx EUR 3.40 per pax

We then walked past House of Fragrance 4711 and took a sniff at some of the cologne.

The smell of the original bottle really was pungent and we didn't like it.

We then walked to the perfume museum, Farina 1709, and realised that we needed to book the tour in advance.

Wasted trip, but we stayed for awhile to look at the huge array of perfumes. I wonder what is the difference between this and the other 'House of Fragrance 4711' that we kept seeing in Cologne, so I did a little Google and found out that Farina 1709 is the original and authentic one, while 4711 is the imitator who got famous and is more widely marketed throughout the world.

Sad to see that the ones with the most history gets overtaken by others. However, I preferred the fragrances from 1709 as compared to 4711 though.

Afterwards, we walked along the streets of Cologne and saw this fruit stall with an auntie who doesn't speak English. The aunties in my group went crazy seeing the fresh fruits and wanted to buy them all. Fortunately, there was a Chinese girl at the stall and she helped us with interpretation! hahaha.

After some chit chat, we found out there she was from Guangzhou, but grew up in Cologne, thus her fluent German. We actually exchanged contacts and I made a new friend that day!

We then walked to a nearby shopping mall and didn't really find any interesting things. And because during cold seasons, the sun sets pretty early, and it was dinner time before we know it.

My cousin googled for a good dinner place and came across this one called Keule. We went in and it was the best decision ever made in Cologne.

The food was soooooooooo gooooood. Service was great. And prices reasonable too!
Highly recommended.

Heumarkt 56, 50667 Köln, Germany
Price: Approx EUR 11.30 per pax

Summary of Day 4:
Breakfast at Merzenich Backereien
EasyHotel Brussels City Centre
La Mer Du Nord
Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Gaufres de Bruxelles
Grand Place

Still in Cologne on our 4th morning, and Merzenich Backereien has become our favourite breakfast haunt.

I really love the cakes and pastries in Europe. They are so much more amazing as compared to Singapore. For one, the cakes had an abundance of fruit toppings. Also, their bakery is just FULL of freshly baked cakes all the time. I wonder how they finish it all?

The pretzels from here were a tad too sweet, even for me. But hey, I loved everything else from here.

We decided to visit the Cologne Cathedral one last time, cos it was just too magnificent not to go there again.

Anyway, the hotel helped us to book a taxi to the airport for our bus ride to Brussels. Yes our bus station is situated in the airport.

After almost 3h on the bus, we finally reached Brussels.

We checked in to the easyHotel Brussels, a relatively new hotel in the city centre. And the checkin was really easy indeed. haha. It is a fuss-free, almost self-service hotel that caters to the younger crowd. And I dare say, it is the best hotel that I have stayed throughout my entire Europe trip, cos it was new and, CLEAN. The rest of the places we stayed at were quite old and run down, and small. 

Later, we walked down the streets of Brussels

And I bought my first Belgian waffles. Never.turning.back.
It was soooo gooood.

 And then we saw La Mer du Nord.

It is apparently a famous seafood restaurant where all the customers stand around the tables to eat.

By 3-4pm, most of the good seafood were already sold out and we decided to just eat a bit and come back the next day.

Rue Sainte-Catherine 45, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Price: Approx EUR 7 per pax

It also started raining and we missed the last timing for the Hop-on hop-off bus tour, so we walked to Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.

The good thing about this part of Brussels is that everything is pretty much in walkable distance.

However, there was nothing much to do at the galleries except admire the beautiful architecture.

Then it was dinner time. There were A LOT of touters at the restaurants lining the tourist area. Some even had "Tripadvisors" logo pasted outside their restaurants to indicate how famous they are. However, many travellers commented online that we should avoid all these restaurants, so we went to this place Gaufres de Bruxelles instead.

Please do not eat the waffles from here. The ones from the roadside were much better.

Mussels in Brussels. That's how we roll.

Rue du Marché aux Herbes 113, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Price: Approx EUR 16 per pax

And then there was Grand Place at night. It was magnificent at night, but only too cold!

And because it rained, the sky colour looked a bit weird juxtaposed against the buildings.

Compare this to the day scene:

Which do you like best?

Click below for

Day 1 and 2
Day 5 and 6
Day 7
Day 8 and 9

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