Imagine two giant cathedral spires assaulting your eyes the moment you step out of a train station. Gothic, with pieces hanging everywhere and dark like the night. You’ve reached Cologne.
With the tallest church spires built and the third largest cathedral in Europe, Cologne shares with its locals some incredible architecture. Not to say the cathedral is the city’s only redeeming quality. You have museums with old Roman sarcophagi, one of the most famous shopping streets in Europe and a beautiful river to cross over to the old town.
Then you jump six hours to Leipzig and continue to fall in love with Germany. The main Market Square is full of cafés, restaurants and bars where the favourite pastime is people-watching. You walk down a lane of restaurants only to have a million patio-sitters eyeing you. Though it seems unnerving, when you’re in their place, it’s understandable why they do it: watching people move is fascinating.
You try a local beer and fall in love. Fruity, but not too fruity. Light but not a complete wheat beer. German brewed is good.
You get lost walking around the city because down every shopping passage is something new. You turn in circles walking through each passage, getting lost in the bustle of new things in windows until you realize you’re only two corners away from your home.
There are buildings you can’t name that are covered in ornate gold, incredible spires and are just generally tall and beautiful. You fall for the city whose name you still can’t pronounce. You tell yourself you will be back.
You hop one train over to Berlin and find the Berlin Wall. Spend an hour or two walking up and down, admiring the art and taking photos of the pieces that speak to you. Make your way to the Brandenburg Gate. Marvel at its towering structure and imagine the wall you just walked along behind it. Walk through the gate and imagine what it was like to need a visa to do so during the Civil War. Imagine not being able to visit your family, instead perhaps sitting by the gate hoping the wall will fall.
When you leave Germany, you leave knowing you’ve hardly scratched the surface. If three cities can make you fall so hard, what will happen when you visit ten or twenty? You promise yourself that one day you’ll find out.