A few hours in Cologne. The Adventure has begun!

Cologne, GermanyOn Thursday 10th October we departed London St Pancras on the Eurostar bound for Brussels. The aim of this adventure is to travel from the UK to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam entirely by train. This was our first leg, heading to Poland.

We left on the 9 AM train and soon found ourselves gliding across the south of England towards the Chunnel. Our bags were packed, and bulging, I’m not sure if attempting to go carry-on is a good idea when the journey is taking us to Siberia! {Although we are not travelling by air I wanted a small, easy-to-manage bag.}

We had three trains booked, Eurostar to Brussels, Brussels to Cologne then Cologne to Warsaw on the Jan Kiepura Sleeper. I did the bookings so that we had a few hours in Cologne as I thought it would be good to stretch our legs and see somewhere new. All the connections were easy and on time, we arrived into Cologne Hauptbahnhof mid-afternoon.

Brussels MidiThere were some magical luggage lockers at Cologne station, self-service: you put your bags into the machine, coins into the slot then a shutter closes and the luggage disappears into the ground in a secure box. We were very impressed! Free of our bags, we stepped out into the sunshine and the huge, awe-inspiring Cologne Cathedral. This gothic church towers over everything and was one of the few buildings in the city to survive WWII.

We took a meander along the river then up a cobbled street, through a few quiet squares until we reached the busy shopping street. The lure of the pastry vendors was too much and we succumbed to a treat.

> click on a photo to open the gallery

We didn’t have a map but the city was easy to navigate and there were plenty of signposts. After the pleasant afternoon we headed back to the station to retrieve our luggage. We camped out in a coffee shop in the station for an hour or so, it was warm, it had hot drinks and free wifi, what else could we need! There were lots of food options in the station too and we had our evening meal at a noodle bar, it was cheap, cheerful. and vegetarian friendly.


Cologne, Germany

The sleeper train departed at 22.28 and, with a four berth cabin to ourselves, we made our beds and settled in for the night as the train sped on through the darkness to Poland…..


I booked all these trains myself, independently, using Eurostar.com, Rail Europe and www.bahn.com , I always compare train prices between these companies to find the best deals. I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful advice of The Man in Seat Sixty-One, he is my invisible best friend on this adventure!

8 Responses

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  2. What a great place to start your adventure. Looking forward to following your journey and hopefully I’ll be able to pick some tips up from you for someday when I do my trip!

  3. mmmarzipan says:

    I read every post you write with a mixture or awe, envy and delight! happy travels 🙂

  4. Dave Rowley says:

    So excited for the first miles of your journey! I love the train stations in Europe, they are like little villages in themselves with restaurants, etc. Wish we had that here in US. And I’m so envious that you got a sleeper train, that is really fun.
    Very eager for your next posting!

    • Haha, yup little busy railway villages, I love that. Like little worlds of their own. Do the US ones really not have them, how strange! Seems an obvious place for some edible retail.
      That was our first sleeper of this adventure, I love them, although I prefer private cabins, we are sharing pretty much all of this trip.
      Next post is coming soon!

  5. bakearama says:

    Ah what happy travels, I thought Cologne was such a pretty place, and hour photos bring lovely memories back