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European Road Trip: Cologne (pt 2)

Thursday, October 29, 2009
After a busy time in the Netherlands, the road-trip quartet headed to Cologne. On Germany's Rhine River, it's the country's fourth largest city and one of its oldest. Founded by the Romans in 38 BC, Cologne has a population of 10 million.

It's famous for its cathedral; it's the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop and its university is one of Europe's oldest.

Autobahn

Getting around is fast and easy thanks to Germany's autobahn network. The high-speed roads are restricted to motor vehicles capable of driving at least 60km/h. The advised speed limit is 130km/h but there is no general speed limit. The roads are superbly designed, built and maintained and drivers are well-trained and cooperative. If you're doing the wrong thing, drivers flash their headlights to let you know.

Camping

The Berger campsite, just 8km from the centre of Cologne, is a family establishment dating back to 1931. It's on the banks of the Rhine and has 250 single sites. It has cultivated grassland, beautiful old trees, a bicycle track and hiking trail. Nearby Rodenkirchen is one of the prettiest villages in the area.

Ablution areas are clean and modern; there are kitchens, washing machines and dryers, bicycle hire service and a boat slip. The sun terrace has a beer garden, there's a hotel with breakfast buffet and restaurant, as well as a supermarket and playground.

Cologne Cathedral

The construction of this stunning cathedral began is 1248 and took until 1880 to complete — a period of more than 600 years. It was worth the wait! Cologne's most famous landmark, it's described by UNESCO as an "exceptional work of human creative genius".

The Roman Catholic church is renowned as a monument of Christianity, German Catholicism in particular, and Gothic architecture. It is dedicated to St Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its two towers are each 157m tall, it is 144.5m long, 86.5m wide and is on the World Heritage list.

Christopher Street Day

This annual event is celebrated in various European cities. It's all about gay pride and Cologne's parade is one of the most prominent. CSD, as it is known, is in memory of the first big uprising of homosexuals against unjust police assaults that took place on Christopher Street, Greenwich Village in New York, in 1969.

It's a glittery festival, filled with pride and joie de vivre. Everyone is very welcome and this year's parade attracted 700,000 to the Cologne Old Town. The 2010 parade will be held on July 4.

Location

Cologne in Germany's west.

Cost

Camping Berger Koeln costs about $9 for adults, $4 for children and bicycle hire is roughly $16.

Prices correct on October 29, 2009.

For further information

German National Tourist Office
Ph: (02) 9236 8982
www.germany.travel
germanytourism@smink.com.au

Cologne Tourism
www.koelntourismus.de

Autobahns
www.bmvbs.de

Camping Berger Koeln
Uferstraße 71
50996 Köln
Germany
Ph: +49 221 935 5240
Fax: +49 221 935 5246
www.camping-berger-koeln.de
kintakt@camping-berger-koeln.de

Cologne Cathedral
www.koelner-dom.de

Christopher Street Parade
www.csd-cologne.de

Visas: Australians require valid passports to enter Germany, but return tickets and visas are not required.

Electricity: Germany operates on 230V at 50Hz with two round pins.

Time zone: GMT +1.

Currency: The euro.

International dialling code: +49.

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