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Cologne is the crossroads of Western Europe.

Travelling by train from Antwerp to Warsaw, of course I changed in Cologne. It was inevitable that I’d plan my day with enough time to stop in the city and meet Peter at Colonia Aktiv bike tours and rentals, a person I was quite interested to have a beer with.

Colonia Aktiv is a short walk from the main Cologne railway station. When I got there I was taken back by the bikes. These quality, German made steeds keep many a customer very happy, and I’m not surprised. They’re the best quality rental bikes I’ve seen in all my travels.

Time for a beer indeed, but unfortunately, not time for a bike tour. I only had the evening to explore Cologne. Peter gave me a map and some great tips for a walk though.

The Cathedral casts a shadow over the main station, and is the obvious point to orientate you in this city. The streets were buzzing with locals, foreigners, families, stag parties, and people like me, just keen to soak up the atmosphere and explore. A warm spring Saturday night in Cologne, you better get there early if you have a favourite spot. For me it was finding any outdoor table at Fischmarkt for a meal with atmosphere. Luckily i got one.

Later that night, the Amsterdam to Warsaw night train (via Cologne of course) picked me up to take me to the next installment of my journey across the continent.

If you find yourself on a train in Western Europe, and it doesn’t call at Cologne, likely you’ll be able to change for one that does. And when you get there, make sure you check out Peter and his bikes at Colonia Aktiv.

Steve Kopandy