While I was writing my dissertation this year, I sort of neglected my blog because I somehow had to prioritise things in a life of writing, working, researching and parenting. That dissertation has now gone, come back rather above expectations (not blogging/having fun/living for five months was worth it, apparently) and I can finally catch up on all the things I wanted to share but didn’t get around to. To help me remember what we actually did five months ago, I’m going to trial a new travel post format – insta-diaries! I’m an absolute overgrammer, and I kind of loved going through my posts from a few months ago and revisiting all the photos and captions. The first of these insta-diaries is our vegan Cologne trip!
In June, Isla and I took our very first girls’ trip to meet up with my Mum in Cologne. It’s one of Germany’s biggest and most beautiful cities, but despite having family roots there, I’ve never been outside the train station. So this year, we decided to give it a proper visit. It was quite honestly one of the best short trips I’ve ever done, and I’m really keen to go back when Isla’s a bit bigger to enjoy some of the more cultural activies (theatre events and museum galore!). For now, though, I have my top tips on vegan Cologne trips with toddlers for you!
1. MakiMaki Sushi Green
I don’t know whether all toddlers are obsessed with avocado maki or whether it’s just mine, but this restaurant was an absolute hit. After travelling for hours on the plane and then the train, we were knackered by the time we were making our way to our hotel. Picking up an all-vegan plate of Sushi from MakiMaki Sushi Green on the way to eat in our room is on the list of ‘best life decisions ever’. The service was super-quick and super-friendly. There were kids running all over the place, and the staff were really good with them, which is always a reassuring thing to know when you’re going somewhere new with your toddler!
If you only go one place on your whole vegan Cologne trip, let this be it. It’s a tiny ice-cream shop, tucked away on the Severinstrasse (which is generally worth a visit – there’s a great bakery supply shop there, too, as well as an organic supermarket). Not all of Gea‘s ice cream is vegan, but most of it is, and the labels are colour-coded to indicate this clearly. Just ask the owner if you’re unsure, she’s the nicest woman I’ve ever met in my life! Between the three of us, we managed to sample quite a lot of flavours, and they were all outstanding. I’ve never eaten such good ice cream in my life, vegan or non-vegan. Bonus: the only whipped cream they offer is all-vegan.
The Rheinauhafen, which is where our hotel was located, is essentially a really long promenade that provides access to the Chocolate Museum (see below) and the city centre. There are playgrounds and cafes, a landmark of German public television (die Koelner Tatort Wurstbude, liebe Deutschsprecher!) and the architecture is rather stunning. You can walk for ages and ages along the stunning Rhine. Just looking at the photos makes me antsy to get back!
4. Cologne Cable Car
Speaking of the Rhine, the Cologne Cable Car is a must with kids. Taking you from one side of the river to the other, the view is completely indescribable on a clear day. There’s a fantastic park with an adventure playground and a mini train on the other side, which kept us entertained for half a day!
5. Chocolate Museum
Last but not least, a trip to the Chocolate Museum is a must. It might seem counter-intuitive for a vegan Cologne visit, but it’s really interesting from a food-history perspective. It also really makes the long supply and production chain more apparent, which was educational. The museum shop also sells a huge variety of vegan chocolate, some of which is a bit niche (beetroot and coconut – sounds crazy, but it was delicious).
So there we have it – my vegan Cologne insta-diary and top tips for visits to the city with toddlers! Have you been to Cologne? What were your favourite sights?