When I got the chance to visit Cologne, Germany, as part of my study tour of European Union (EU), I did not know what to expect.
However, no amount of reading can adequately prepare one for the real life experience of the place, referred to as Köln in Germany.
Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich and the largest city in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. One of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC, Cologne lies on the River Rhine and is regularly affected by flooding from the Rhine and thus considered the most flood-prone European city.
Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom) is the city’s most famous monument and the Cologne residents’ most respected landmark. The city also has the most pubs per capita in Germany. The city has “countless” bars, restaurants and pubs.
The journey begun early on a Monday morning from Brussels. Opting to travel by electric train for the first time in my life, it meant we book a train ticket in Brussels-Zuid or Midi railway station.
Travelling on a Thalys Electric Train, from Brussels to Cologne, a distance of about 200 kilometres, approximately distance between Nairobi and Mau Summit (216Kms) (Nairobi-Mau Summit –Kericho junction on Great North Road) was covered within 1 hour and 45 minutes.
While travelling by road between Nairobi and Mau Summit would take approximately 3 hours, 45 minutes, it takes half the same time with an electric train.
On the way we passed through Aachen. The only way you realize you are in Germany is the change in language and number plates.
With more than 20 European countries using the Schengen visa, one is able to cross from one European country to another without going through customs and immigration procedures.?
Having been a beneficiary of the EU integration process, I longed for a time when it will be possible to travel in East Africa and indeed the rest of the continent without having to be subjected to custom and immigration checks at every border point.