Last Saturday, I broke my habits and woke up at a time when I usually get home. Not for the simple pleasure of self-torture, but because I had a long day ahead: a few instants later, I hopped on Thalys with my friend Carolina, destination Cologne ! Twenty-two degrees, blogger buddies everywhere and a busy schedule: the next few hours sounded good enough for me to get out of bed early on a week-end!

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After 1h47 on the train, we arrived in Köln-Hauptbahnhof, the main station of Cologne located in the middle of the city center, literally next to Cologne’s biggest attraction, the famous Dom. We met our guide there and went on to our next step: the Ludwig contemporary art museum, which is also in that neighborhood.

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The Ludwig Museum is known for its american pop art treasures, but you’ll also find a couple of Picassos there, and since recently, a permanent exhibition of Saul Steinberg‘s work. Though Steinberg was considered as a scribbler by many critics, his work gets brilliant when you understand his approach. Saul Steinberg had to flee Europe because of the nazis, and discovered a complete new world when he set foot in America. Skyscrapers and highways, businessmen and socialites, baseball games and Midwest landscapes: all those clichés, so big and so bold, he just had to draw them.

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It really is a must-see, and I strongly recommend to have a guide with you if you want to understand all the subtelties and know about all the anecdotes about this exceptional character.

We then went to the museum’s restaurant, Ludwig im Museum, for a very tasty lunch (except for my main course – I always pick the wrong dish but don’t worry I got used to it).

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After lunch, we went to the Belgisches Viertel (the Belgian Neighborhood), in case you’re wondering I asked for you: they call it that way because the streets bear names of big belgian cities: Genter Strasse, Lütticher Strasse, Brusseler Strasse, Antwerpener Strasse… It’s a rather young, creative neighborhood, where the 5th edition of Le Bloc fashion and design festival was taking place: there were animations in the stores, music outside and even a fashion show!

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My favourite place of the day? The vintage store Todd, a real treasure chest ! They combine a very good nineties vintage selection with a smiley and welcoming attitude, and it’s rare enough to be pointed out. Don’t miss it !

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We then walked through the busy streets of Cologne, passed by MUJI (duh!), H&M (they always have such great stuff in Germany), had an iced coffee on a terrace and boom, time to go home. And despite the hour of delay (that terrible thing that you really don’t need when your feet already hurt like hell – but turned out okay cuz we got to wait in the VIP lounge, woop woop!), I had a great day! Köln is a cool city for a one-day gateaway, and I hope I can go back some day to spend more time at the Ludwig Museum and, of course, to check out the new arrivals at Todd – or go crazy during sales !

Find all the places I visited on my Foursquare list here!

And until the 14th of July, book first class Thalys tickets to Cologne for 29 euros and travel in style between July 15th and August 31st !

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Many thanks to Thalys, Whyte and my partners in crime for this day!

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