Königswinter | Nibelungenhalle

You might have seen on Instagram that I did a Day-Trip to Königswinter on Pentecost. I and my parents have never been to Palace Drachenburg, so we decided to visit it. As it was really nice weather on Monday, we decided it was about time to finally see it. Königswinter is about 45 minutes (by car) from Cologne. It wasn’t really clever to go there on an official holiday in Germany…it took us quite some time to find a parking place and we visited with quite a lot people.

On the way from the parking area to the Palace is a small hall, the “Nibelungenhalle“. The Nibelungen is an old German saga. Richard Wagner composed a really famous musical piece about it, and this hall in Königswinter has been sponsored by the Richard Wagner foundation Germany. Today it is in private hand, but the theme stays the same: Siegfried, the hero of the Nibelungen saga, killed a dragon. It is said, that this happened at this exact place.

In the hall are paintings that show the different acts of Wagner’s opera. They play the matching music quietly in the background. But I thought that the dome was much more impressive than the paintings. It is painted in a really nice dark blue with lead glass windows that show the zodiac signs.

When you leave the hall and keep right, you’ll enter a really dark path. As the sun was shining so bright, it was really hard to actually see the way instead of feeling out. When you finally find the way out, you’ll enter a small yard with a little pond and a stone dragon. He looks quite cheeky, doesn’t he? 😏

After that, you’ll enter the reptile house. They have a lot of different snakes, some tarantulas, lizards and some crocodiles. It was really hot in there as they have a flat roof and the sun was burning the whole day. Behind the reptile house are some aviaries with parrots and the open-air enclosure of these two Mississippi crocodiles.

I have to admit that I was not too impressed. From the outside, the hall looks really promising, but from the inside…well. I found it with 5€ for the entrance quite expensive. I think you can put some more love in it than the way they do it right now. The reptile house might be great for kids, but the hall would be boring for them I guess. For me, it definitely was, although I love those sagas 🤷🏼‍♀️ But, you can bring your dog!

 

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Königswinter | Schloss Drachenburg

You might have seen on Instagram that I did a Day-Trip to Königswinter on Pentecost. I and my parents have never been to Palace Drachenburg, so we decided to visit it. As it was really nice weather on Monday, we decided it was about time to finally see it. Königswinter is about 45 minutes (by car) from Cologne. It wasn’t really clever to go there on an official holiday in Germany…it took us quite some time to find a parking place and we visited with quite a lot people.

The Palace Drachenburg is on top of the hill, you can either walk the way up or take a small mountain railway. We walked, as it was easier to do so from our parking area, but it isn’t really hard to walk up 🤷🏼‍♀️

The entrance costs 7€ for adults, 5€ when you’re a student. You can order the adult tickets online, too, but not the reduced ones. You’ll enter the area through the carriage house, in front of the palace is a nice garden.

The first thing I did was going around the palace instead of going inside. You have a really fantastic view from there over the Rhine! And when the sky is clear, you can even see Cologne Cathedral from there!

There are two terraces behind the palace, one on the same level as the palace, on below that. A part of the terraces is a small garden with two golden deer.

The entry hall of the palace is really impressive. They have silk wall covering with great paintings on it. The entry hall is the only room in the palace that looks exactly like it did when they built it. In the 1960ies, the palace was vacant, and there was a lot of robbery. As the most rooms have painted wallpapers, they could just cut it out, right off the wall. The new owner restaurated it all, but some paintings were filled up with what could fit to the scenery and not the original scenery as they didn’t have all the plans for it.

I also recommend getting the tour guide they offer, as you’ll learn a lot more from it then by just looking. For example I learned, that it was once used as a catholic boy’s school and later as school for railroader. And that the new owner gave organ concerts in the late 70ies, which were all fake as the organ was fake 💁🏼‍♀️ They also offer an app for iOS and Android, but their guide is only in german so far, but you can get a printed guide!

When you leave the palace and keep left, you can enter a tower from where you have a great view from above the palace. It really is worth the climb! Hungry and thirsty after that? No problem! The palace has a small bistro, seats are on the terrace on the backside of it. For example you could have a tarte flambée for 8,50€ or potato pancakes for 4€, which is not really pricey.

You can bring your dog on the area, but as they are not allowed to go into the palace, Hugo stayed home. I just didn’t see much use to bring him then 🤷🏼‍♀️


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Cologne // Köln | Racecourse Weidenpesch

Have you ever been to a Horserace? It has this special, almost magical feeling. If it weren’t for the big LCD-displays you could think that you’re right back in 1930. Horse races have been big back then, just remember the movie “Seabiscuit” or “Secretariat” (even though he was already in the 1970ies). Crowds and crowds of people running for the betting office, having their all-time favorite racehorse, knowing exactly which jockey works for which stable, and being excited about the next race. They wore their best clothes on the racecourse and celebrated it, in front of the radio or on the course itself.

Although horseraces are not really a thing anymore, the racecourse in Cologne Weidenpesch is well-frequented on every race day. My parents went there with me for the first time when I was a baby and since then I am hooked. When I was a little girl I always had to go and see the horses as I was that typical horse-girl. Now I love roaming around, betting against my friends, eating potato pancakes with applesauce, but mostly watch all the people. There are so many different kinds of people, it’s awesome. Some wear their everyday clothes, some wear hats and dresses or suits. Some come and sit on the stands, some have a picknick on the lawn before the stands, even with the beach shelters they brought. I think it’s great to see how everybody gives these events their own touch. There is no right or wrong way to “do horseraces”. That’s the best part: it is for everybody. You can bring your dogs, your own food and drinks, it can get a small family holiday or a day out with your friends.

When I go there, I do bet on the races. Not to win money, but to make it even more exciting. Normally, I bet on the horses with the funniest names, the best tricots, or a jockey that I know. Sometimes I even look at their statistics from their last races, but that’s rather unusual. I always bet for 1€ and I am already satisfied when my horse was faster than the one of my friends 🙈 When I went there at the beginning of may, I lost every single bet. And still, I think I’ll stick to my strategy 😉

There were times when the racecourse was really bad frequented and I was afraid that it might get closed due to it. But people found out about this place again, they did a really intense marketing (although the only part I like about it was the re-design of their website…) and the place became more lively again. I am still waiting for a repaint of the stands, maybe they read this and will paint them after that 😉

 

Prices

Food and drinks on the racecourse are not the cheapest, so it’s smart to bring at least your own drinks with you in the summer months. I paid 3,50€ for a Fassbrause, Softdrinks like Fanta and Coca-Cola are at 3€, Water is 2,50€. For my potato pancake with applesauce, I paid 5€.

The admissions differ a bit. You have different options to go with, as I love the main tribune I am paying 10€, which is their students offer. The normal price is at 12€. You can find their prices here. I think it is a really good price for what you get, a whole day full of fun!

I can totally recommend a day on the racecourse! It is not too pricey, you can bring your own food and drinks, it’s no problem to bring your dogs (but: not without a leash!), you can spend a great day with family and/or friends.

 

Cologne // Köln | Horse Racecourse | Sightseeing | Holiday | One Day Off | Weekend

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London | Sky Garden

 

Sky Garden London is one of my Pinterest finds. Like Bubblewrap I wanted to go there on my first visit, but I couldn’t manage to figure out their booking system. Maybe I am always too late? Or it doesn’t work for Saturdays? I just don’t know…

But although I could not reserve a slot on our visit in January, we were really lucky. We’ve been there just a short time after they opened and as they were not booked out then, we could get in! 🙌🏻 And wow, what a view! When we left the elevator, we immediately stopped again as we could not believe what we were seeing. You have an awesome view on the river Thames, PLUS the garden inside! It really is beautiful, and the sun was shining while we were there, which made a perfect morning in Sky Garden for us.

Of course, we had some tea there. Even their tumblers fit perfectly in this surrounding:

You want to see London from up above? Some nice tea, some plants and flowers and – even though it’s filled with people – a place for relaxing? I can only recommend you Sky Garden. I loved it there and I will definitely try to get there every time I visit London from now on!

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