On Thursday we decided we were going to Cologne. Pieter had a long weekend off, I only had one deadline to meet, and the sun was calling our names. And so we packed up in a flurry, and off we headed to Germany.
We stayed right by the Dom in the old city centre, and spent two days leisurely meandering down endless pretty streets, admiring gorgeous buildings, sitting out on sunny terraces, walking along the glittering Rhine, and just relaxing. In the mornings we popped downstairs to one of the city’s hundreds of bakeries, and then we feasted on our loot back in the cool comfort of the hotel. Buttery chocolate croissants, custard pretzels (every bit as good as they sound), nutty braided breads, pastries stuffed with apple compote (my personal favourite!) … oh heavens. You Germans out there – you guys know how to live!
One evening, we settled down on a Thai restaurant’s terrace, right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a big open square. Pieter ordered something called a same same but different, and I was immediately sold. Coconut, lime, mint, and coriander. Good, good, good, gooooood.
It was so nice to get out of our familiar environment for a few days and just enjoy. We were uncharacteristically bad tourists, opting out of the museums and instead choosing to explore the city by foot and stomach 😛 And it was glorious! Should you be heading to Cologne, here are some of my favourite things we did, in no particular order, and in no way revolutionary!
– Crossed the love-lock bridge (Hohenzollerbrückte) and checked out the beautiful panorama at the top of the Cologne Triangle.
– Went for a digestive stroll along the Rhine after dinner. The river is surrounded by plenty of open public spaces, and everyone was out picnicking, jamming, and just generally loving life.
– Terracing. Seriously. We loved the drinks and food at Kittichai (and everything was incredibly cheap!), but we also just loved the atmosphere on that square. (To be fair, it helped that it was so summery out!) We also grabbed lunch on a terrace right on the Rhine (on the old city side), and we were amazed by how inexpensive all of the food was.
– Tested out aaaaalll the bakeries.
– Admired the Roman ruins scattered across the city. We ended up getting a bit (a lot) lost on our first night, and stopped for refreshments on a little terrace in what seemed like a low-key residential hub on Severinstrasse… casually built right beside an old city gate! (Unfortunately this was followed by truly terrible sushi, but we’ve moved on… for the most part 😛 Some offences I took personally!)
We found the city to be perfect for a short trip – it’s beautiful but doesn’t have the same draw as more famous cities, so it isn’t at all packed with tourists, which means that you can relax and not worry about beating the crowds anywhere.
And since it’s been insanely warm & sunny here in Utrecht since we returned, I’ve tried to preserve that vacation feeling here at home. There have been drinks on beautiful terraces with Senja and Hayley, dinners out on the balcony, plenty of fake tan 😛 , walks around the beautiful canal, and these coconutty mint & coriander cocktails. (Okay okay and mocktails – a girl’s gotta work!)
I’m going to keep this super casual – because summer! and cocktails! – and just give you the recipe right here:
Mix together equal parts Sprite (or similar lemon-lime-y soda) and coconut water
Squeeze in the juice of one lime per person
Throw in about half a handful per person of roughly chopped mint and coriander
This will already be delicious, so if you still need to work or just don’t want rum, then pour over ice and enjoy! (100% did this yesterday)
Otherwise, add in a shot (or two…) per person of Malibu coconut rum.
Pour over ice and relaaaaax!
You could also add in some straight-up coconut milk. The original cocktail we had in Cologne was made with it, but in an effort to keep this a drink rather than a full meal, I’ve opted for coconut water. Still, a splash in there is delicious! Just saying.
Happy weekend everyone!! xx