Tag Archives: WMAF

Few Days in Cologne

This week we had a special little trip to Cologne, better known for Germans under the name Köln. So what brought us down to Middle Germany, the babaric part south of the river Elbe? My wife had some business to attend there so we decided to make a quick three-day holiday in Cologne. As my mother’s birthday was at the same time we invited my parents to come with us (of course we paid everything ). Somehow luck was on our side and I was able to get a good deal for two rooms and two nights at the Hyatt, let’s just say the breakfast is really good at least for people like me and not so special for people like my Chinese wife…

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A few love padlocks…

First some background info about Cologne. It is the fourth biggest city in Germany with a bit over 1 million inhabitants. The city has many famous landmarks with the Cologne Cathedral being probably the most well-known. During the Second World War 95% of the city was destroyed and the population had been reduced by over 90%, no wonder it was even called “world’s greatest heap of rubble”. Even though  Cologne had been reduced to basically nothing it was rebuild again with reconstruction work lasting until the 1990s. You can check out pictures of how the city looked like after the war on any search engine and it is really amazing how people were able to rebuild it all again.

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Good old Kaiser Wilhelm II

Our journey started on Tuesday morning but we wouldn’t arrive in Cologne until late afternoon due to terrible weather and several traffic jams. Under normal conditions the drive would usually take roughly five hours but in our case it took more than seven hours, no joy…really. Especially Nathan was a bit odd during that trip as he did not fall asleep at all and was full of energy until the late evening hours. Our hotel was located in a just perfect location as it is just few minutes away by walking from the city center. All you have to do is cross the Hohenzollern Bridge and you are standing right in front of the Cologne Cathedral. The Hohenzollern Bridge itself is one of the landmarks of Cologne and also famous for the thousands of love padlocks placed on the fence between the footpath and the railway lines.

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Cologne Cathedral in the early morning hours

The second day my wife had to be at another hotel already at six AM for her appointment and as it was still dark I walked her there. On my way back to our hotel I took a route through the still empty city center and could take some nice pictures. Later that day we all went once again to the city center and walked by few famous landmarks, the main shopping street and went into the Cologne Cathedral. The Cathedral is just huge, walking around the insides reminded me on the Halls of Moria from Lord of the Rings due to the giant pillars. Visitors can also climb a spiral staircase to a viewing platform at 98m above the ground. I don’t know if it is possible for visitors to climb also the towers which reach up to 157m above ground. Even though we had a wonderful and very filling breakfast we were getting hungry at some point and went to eat at Oma’s Küche (Grandmother’s Kitchen) which is known for its Schnitzel dishes. Though it is very simple food it is still very delicious and more than just filling as the portions are pretty big. In the evening my wife and I went to the Spring Funfair just few minutes away from the hotel. Perhaps you remember one of my blog posts about the funfair at my hometown and how disappointing is was for me to see how small it had become. Well, the funfair in Cologne was so full that it was sometimes impossible to move around. It seems that at least in bigger cities the funfairs are still well visited.

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Going around with the family

On our last day we left Cologne right after breakfast as we were afraid to be stucked in multiple traffic jams again but to our surprise nothing major happened and we arrived in the afternoon. All in all it was a very nice trip and I recommend going to Cologne in case you are for some time in Germany. We had planned to visit some more places in Cologne such as the Chocolate Museum and other landmarks around the city but the weather was first of all not the best during those days and we just had too little time.

Have you been to Cologne before?

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The Love for Food

There are many reasons why I love to travel to China as I have already written once down in this post from last year. There I briefly mentioned food and my favorite restaurants. By going through my pictures from the past years I realized that the food part fell a bit short in that post so I decided to make up for it now. I know that I might bring the wrath of some people now upon me by sharing those pictures but I just can’t help it.

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Nom nom nom

Chinese consider their food to be the crème de la crème of all the world and to be honest I mostly agree with that. Mostly? Because there is always some other food which is great as well (but not in the eyes of my wife and her family…prefering to eat in some run down Chinese restaurant in Germany rather than trying some local specialities, but that is again another story). I only need to mention 小五 xiao wu/ little five in front of my wife to receive death stares from her as xiao wu is the name of our favorite little restaurant in China just 2 minutes walking distance away from her parents home. Let me just tell you that it is surely one of the best foods I have ever tried and also far far away from our current location in Germany hence the death stares. Xi’an, as any other city in China, has tons of food to offer.

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More nom nom nom

Let’s take biangbiang Biang (简体).svgBiang (简体).svg noodles as an example. Not only do they have the supposedly most complicated character but they do also taste superb. Then there are various cold noodle dishes liangpi 凉皮 of which I sometimes even dream of and then of course rou jia mo 肉夹馍 the mouth-watering “meat bread” you can find at so many places around the city. Whenever my in-laws are taking us to a new restaurant I am all hyped, not only because it surely will lead to another weird story due to MIL’s unreasonable character but also because I can experience new food once again. Of course I sometimes face food which I am not the biggest fan of right after the first bite but usually it is something amazing again.

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Have I mentioned nom nom nom already?

One risk though when it comes to going out to eat with my in-laws is that I might end up with way too much food. They know that I love noodle dishes, particularly cold noodle dishes and also rou jia mo. Sounds great at first but when you do suddenly get two rou jia mo, one cold noodle dish and then some other dish it is a bit much for me. This certain flood of food I received when going to a restaurant in the city center famous for these foods. Well, I managed to eat it all but didn’t feel all too well afterwards for the rest of the day. Speaking of over eating. It is so dangerous with dear crazy mother-in-law as she piles up food non-stop on my plate and thus I learned to wait and see where she is sitting so I can find the seat farthest away from her. The thing is, even though my in-laws always order way too much it is never enough in the end. FIL can eat much, way to much for a guy his size. To put it in other words: he eats about triple the amount of food than me which equals pretty much half his body weight in my estimations. I better come now to the rest of the pictures before I start some more rants about my crazy Chinese family.

Do you have places you love to visit due to the food?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

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The Circus Next Door

One thing which is great about living here again in the same building where I grew up is the huge square next to it. As I wrote before that there are several times a year some events such as fairs or even traveling circuses. Last time I visited a circus here  was over 15 years ago and just last September we missed Europes biggest travelling circus as my wife and Nathan were in China and I had to deal with other things. This week once again a circus visited my hometown and we finally had the opportunity to go there together as my wife never had been to one and of course neither did Nathan.

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The white camel looked rather dumb…

This circus was not the biggest which had visited this town thus far but also not the smallest. So far I have seen really small ones here where the tent could hold perhaps less than a hundred people and really big ones with a capacity of 4500 people! As you can see there are huge differences when it comes to these kind of events. Some circuses have a lot of animals in their performances and do not have any at all. Now I don’t want to go into any discussion about how the animals have to suffer in order to learn the tricks for the performances but especially as a young child a circus is something magical. I still have fond memories when a circus did a march through the city center with various animals such as elephants and giraffes. Of course this is forbidden these days but it left an impression in my memories which I will never forget.

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Kristof the creepy snowman

When we planned to go to the circus performance we were not sure in the beginning whether Nathan would like it or could sit still for roughly two hours. But all our worries were for naught as he was so amazed by everything that he didn’t want to leave at all in the end. As the circus is one of the smaller ones they had only few people performing and all of them had several acts. For example the “announcer” was also playing his part as a clown and as a fire breather. Besides performances by the artists there were also some with animals such as Camels and various horses. In between they also had a short break in which children could ride those animals. The overall theme of this circus was “Frozen” (the Walt Disney movie). Right after entering the tent the kids were greeted by Kristoff the Snowman and during several performances the artists were dressed up as characters from that movie. The clown also did a great job by involving some people from the audience to do some things in the circus ring. Even though the program is rather slim compared to the bigger circuses it is still entertaining and a change from the everyday life.

All in all I must say that I enjoyed it a lot and also Nathans enthusiasm was really great. I hope there will be some big circus coming here again in the next years as we just missed last September the biggest traveling circus in Europe (Circus Krone). Anyways I am glad that we went there and now I am just hoping that Nathan didn’t learn anything stupid from the fire breather and starts eating up some lit candles….

 

P.S. The quality of the pictures is rather low as they were all taken with a mobile phone

Have you visited a traveling circus before?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.youtube.com/