Tuesday, 29 April 2014
When we are traveling we always say it’s the people we meet not the places that make the experience so special. So when it came to Cologne, we were spoiled from day one. From the hostel staff and owner, to old friends reunited and new friends made, this wonderful city has so much going for it and we enjoyed every minute.
Cologne has a bit of the goldilocks factor going on, not to small, not too big, but just right, with over 1million people living in the city, its main attraction is the unmissable and beautiful cathedral (Dom) which is next to the old town with its narrow lanes and traditional building.
This also sits not too far away from the river Rhine, which is picture perfect with its numerous bridges leading over to the other side of Cologne (think Newcastle to Gateshead, as in Newcastle gets all the good stuff)
This city, which is not the most prettiest of places, but makes up for it with what’s going on under the surface. With an electric night life, culture & art, plentiful and numerous quality restaurants/street cafes /bars/clubs and best of all a mint gay scene! I would recommend going but I bet you don’t get better guides than we found in Paula and Alex.
Our Story in Cologne…
When entering the city Please remember when in Germany to give way to bikes and pedestrians to the right, as we nearly took out a group of commuters going to work! Sorry guys.. our first time driving in Germany and luckily no fatalities. Entschuldigung!
The place we stayed was called the die wohngemeinschaft” which translates roughly as the people share. This a very cool place, with an even cooler bar attached.
The bar came first and this place oozes style, it has a retro chic feel to it, with the furniture and wallpaper all 50’s style, it even has a VW classic camper turned into a seating area.
This theme runs into the hostel too, which is on two floors, each room is individually decorated with a unique theme, we stayed in the kiki room, with a Hawaii feel, others included space, photograph, romance room and while we were there they were in the process of making a circus room.
We can honestly say this is one of best hostels we have stayed at, the attention to detail is everywhere, the cleanness or as Chris kept saying “there’s clean, eat your dinner clean and then there die wohngemeinschaft clean”, the breakfast is a treat too and all the staff are lovely.
When we got settled in our rooms we meet the man behind the bar and hostel, the owner is called Jens and he couldn’t have been nicer to us, always making sure we were ok and he even offered us free beers from the fridge for the duration of our stay, (we normally charge for materials costs, but I think we drank all the costs away..)
The place he wanted us to paint was on the 6th floor and was in the main hallway leading to the rooms, after speaking to Jens and deciding on the idea, he wanted something to fit in with the surrounding décor and not be aimed at your typical young hostel dwellers, but aimed at a more mature and sophisticated traveller.
We decided to go for a repeating retro style pattern and fill in the wall with Ida4 style portraits. We normally work with a blacks and white colours but we felt this would not match the surroundings so went for a range of browns and we felt this really worked and we will be using this range more in the future.
This is the finished wall.
Our Time in Cologne
We can’t finish this blog entry without mentioning how much fun we had in Cologne. This was mainly down to an old friend called Paula from Newcastle, who has been settled over here for the last 10 years. She has carved an amazing life over here and is fluent in German as she works as a translator, with a great group of friends and a German boyfriend called Alex who now has a quite remarkable Geordie accent when speaking English, he has got dialect down to a tee if ya kna what I mean pet!
But honestly a real big thank you for all you did, it was way and above anything we expected, from you inviting us to stay at your fabulous apartment, like wow! To Alex cooking for us, taking us around all the cool bars, meeting and partying with your friends, your advice on all things German and everything else which I haven’t listed. Vielen herzlichen Dank! We hope to see you again soon
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
We had expected it to be a ghost town but the city was full of tourists walking around looking at all the graff. There is some really good art here from the likes of Tokyo crew to Roa,
We meet some of the locals and they are fighting for the right to stay and not be moved on! It still has 11 families that live here! it has a bar too! here is a little bit more about it and some photos below.
Beyond 2012, Doel, Belgium will only exist in pictures and memories. The tiny village is scheduled to be completely destroyed to make room for an expanding harbor, and even protest and the incredible street art in the abandoned town cannot stop the inevitable destruction.
For 700 years, Doel stood near Antwerp along the Scheldt River in Belgium. As Antwerp expanded in the 20th century, its port needed more space, and Doel quickly became a target for demolition. Trying to force residents out, the government scheduled demolitions multiple times, but were beaten by popular protests from the 1970s through the 1990s.
But despite the will of the people, Doel could not be saved and in 1999, the town was officially scheduled for complete demolition. Since that time, residents have trickled out, but artists have made their way in. As more of the town became abandoned, street artists from across Europe came and began to debut their works around Doel.
Today, there are fewer than 200 inhabitants left and they are scheduled to leave as soon as possible. The government plans to continue with demolition as soon as residents evacuate. Along with the homes of residents who were forced out, the living street art gallery of Doel will be lost forever.