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Hi, my name is tommy2k17!

tommy2k17tommy2k17 Member Posts: 28 Connected
I am 37 from Kent; I suffer from Cerebral Palsy, which makes me a bit wobbly at times, I am not in a wheelchair though. I also suffer from scoliosis.

Replies

  • AlexAlex Scope Team Posts: 1,325 Scope community team
    Hi Tommy!

    Welcome to the community, great to have you here!

    I see you're off to Cologne on Friday. Hope you have a great trip! I went to Cologne last summer and really enjoyed it. Have you been before?
  • tommy2k17tommy2k17 Member Posts: 28 Connected
    Thankyou,

    Yes, four times! I have actually written an article on it written from a disability perspective if you want to see it.
  • AlexAlex Scope Team Posts: 1,325 Scope community team
    Brilliant, yes - I'd love to see!
  • tommy2k17tommy2k17 Member Posts: 28 Connected
    Oh, here it is:



    I had been
    awake for most of the night, just lying there - mixed feelings going around in
    my head, feeling nervous and excited at the same time. I was just about to
    travel to a city in a country to which I had never been before, having not
    travelled for quite a while – that is what made my adventure all  the more intriguing and appealing. I was also
    apprehensive as, even though I am not in a wheelchair, I have got cerebral
    palsy, which led me to wonder how disability friendly Cologne was. I need not
    have worried however, as both the journey by Eurostar and getting around
    Cologne was easy to navigate. There are steps up to the city centre when you
    first arrive on the platform, but they have got handrails either side.



     



    When you
    hear of holidays advertised to Germany, they are mostly to Berlin.  However, there’s an underrated city –
    Cologne. Compared to Berlin, the most visited city in Germany with 24.9 million
    tourists, and Munich with 12.4 million, Cologne has 5 million.  Not only is it a great city, it is the warmest
    place in Germany with mild winters and moderate summers – the Winter
    temperature is normally between 10 and 11 degrees.  Cologne can hold its own by any measure. Unlike
    Berlin,  Cologne is an intimate City – if
    you do get lost, follow the cathedral spires to get back to the station or
    Hauptbahnof.  This station is the busiest
    in Europe, serving about 280,000 passengers a day and running approximately
    1,400 trains. There are also links to other places in Europe, such as Berlin,
    which is 3 hours away, plus Bonn and Brussels, to name but a few. The station
    is also an attractive shopping centre with cafes and restaurants. 



     



    One of the
    first things I noticed when I walked up the steps leading out of the station, was
    exactly how compact Cologne is, and whichever exit you choose, you are a
    stone’s throw away from the city centre. 
    However, if you’re a first time visitor, you may want to ask someone for
    directions. Almost everybody speaks English so do not worry if you cannot speak
    German!



     



    The majestic
    and awe inspiring cathedral is a must for any tourist. It has been listed on
    UNESCO World Heritage, and has 10,000 visitors every day. The interior space
    has a ground area of more than 6,000 square metres and can hold 12,000 people.
    Just the roof area alone covers 12,500 square metres. The height of the
    cathedral is immense and inspiring – the nave has a length of about 160 metres and
    a height of 43.5 metres.  The first time
    visitor could easily spend several hours just taking in the sheer magnitude of
    the architecture and, as I have already mentioned, it is a landmark for miles
    around and can be seen from just about anywhere in the city!



     



    In the main
    city square, apart from the cathedral, there is a vast array of shops to
    explore, together with cafes and restaurants for that welcome post-architectural
    drink!



     



    I stayed in
    the Hyatt Regency hotel, which is about 10 minutes walk from the station (or
    about a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport). "There is something for
    everyone in Cologne, lots of things to see and do, and we would like to welcome
    more British tourists to the Hyatt" says Stefan the hotel concierge
    manager.



    The hotel is
    extremely welcoming, with breathtaking views of the cathedral with a restaurant
    and beer garden overlooking the Rhine. There are lots of wonderful things on
    offer – including a reinvigorating spa, gym, sauna, Jacuzzi and swimming
    pool. 



    It is
    situated in a perfect location, and anywhere in the city is just a short walk
    away.



     



    To reach the
    hotel on foot from the station, you need to cross what is described as ‘the
    most travelled railroad bridge of the world.’ – it contains two railroad
    bridges and one pedestrian bridge. Since 2008, lovers have charmingly used the
    bridge for attaching lovelocks to show their love for each other for eternity. 



     



    Coming from
    the hotel, walking over the bridge, turn left just before you get to the main
    city square, down some steps, with a ramp for people with disabilities, you
    will be walking along the banks of the Rhine, the main river flowing through Cologne,
    and the second largest river in Central and Western Europe.



     



    About 15
    minutes walk this way following the river, you will find Cologne’s ‘guilty
    pleasure’, the Chocolate Museum, an indulgent and luxurious way to spend a
    couple of hours.  Once inside, you will
    be able to explore the history of chocolate through interactive displays; you
    can even watch commercials for chocolate in the Chocolate Cinema!  You will also be able to stroll through the
    greenhouse, which contains trees from which cocoa beans grow and the process
    the beans go through to become a chocolate bar. After all this, the chocolate
    fountain awaits where wafers are distributed and dipped into the glorious
    confection.  Finally, there is a
    dangerous chocolate shop and cafe where temptation becomes reality.



     



    If you’re
    planning to take a festive trip to Cologne, you’ve got to experience the wonder
    of the Christmas markets. The best way to see them is to board the Christmas
    Market Express. These magical mini-trains run every 15 minutes from specially
    marked stops outside each one. Wandering round the markets is a lovely way to
    spend an afternoon – the mulled wine is fantastic! However, they are crowded
    and can be a bit overwhelming if you’re unsteady on your feet like I am!



    Depending on how weary you are after markets and mulled wine! Take the
    weight off your feet by sampling some of the fantastic restaurants Cologne has
    to offer – Indian, English, Chinese, you name it, they’ve got it!



     



    One of the
    main attractions is Cologne Zoo, possibly the oldest, and most modern, in the
    world. Home to more than 7000 animals, including 700 species from all over the
    world both territorial and aquatic, the latter being housed in an amazing
    aquarium! At over 20 hectares, it will easily take an afternoon to see everything,
    but it is well worth it!



    For a part
    of my walk back to the hotel, I became caught up in the Cologne Triathlon! As a
    result of that, the bridge that I normally walk over to get to the hotel was
    closed, and so were the next two! I walked about 8 miles that day, and I was
    grateful for relaxation when I got back to the hotel!



     



    I have been
    to Cologne four times and every time I return I find something or somewhere new
    to explore. Whether you are caught up in a big race or not, it is a beautiful
    city. The delights of the Chocolate Museum, the splendour of the cathedral, the
    sheer magnitude of the zoo, the sights and smells of the Christmas markets,
    there is something for everyone. If you have a disability, it is very
    accessible and welcoming. If you want a city break, you won’t regret it!







  • AlexAlex Scope Team Posts: 1,325 Scope community team
    Thanks for sharing!

    Funnily enough I think we got caught up in the triathlon too!

    As well as the Chocolate museum and the cathedral, I really enjoyed Museum Ludwig and a boat trip along the Rhine!
  • tommy2k17tommy2k17 Member Posts: 28 Connected
    We're hoping to go on the Rhine this time.
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