We have two cats and a dog, as you know. And like most cats, ours are happy to stay in and around the house. But our chihuahua is different: he is an adventurous spirit! He loved to travel and go to new places. So when we decided we needed some time away from work, the house, everything, we knew we had to take Chi along with us. Off to Cologne, a city in Germany!
Weekend away in Germany
Germany is right next to The Netherlands. Yet we have rarely visited it together. We’ve been to Berlin and we’ve been to a smaller town right over the border, but for a long weekend away we wanted a city in between. And one we could reach by train in around 4 hours. We settled on the city Cologne. It’s not the most exciting city, but plenty of space for walks, shopping and food.
When we were in Berlin we noticed how dog-friendly Germany seemed. There were lots of dogs! I know, because I missed Chi so much that I counted dogs when we walked around in the city. Cologne is also dog-friendly and we met lots of dogs there. Sometimes Chi was friendly, sometimes he would bark; but he was always curious about the other dogs and the smells in the city. He was never turned away from places and when we met other dog owners they were friendly, even if Chi barked at their dog.
Walking with the dog in Cologne
Cologne has plenty of open parks where lots of dogs can roam free. We never let Chi off the leash though, as we are too afraid he will simply tak off after a dog he either likes or hates. Don’t get me wrong: Chi listens to us. But he is fast and small, and curious about everything. And he is just as happy on the leash as off. So better to be safe than sorry, especially in a strange city.
In one park, he was sitting next to us as we were sitting on a bench. There were groups of dogs and people meeting on the grass clearing in front of us. And Chi was paying close attention. It was clear he would have loved to run in and join them in play. So at that moment we got up and calmly walked across the field towards the group. One of the dogs, twice Chi’s size and very fluffy, took a liking to him and they sniffed and played a bit. We also talked a bit with the group of dog owners, which shows that having a dog is great for socialising!
What to do in Cologne with a dog
Taking a dog to Cologne on a long weekend has its limits, too. You can’t bring a dog into a museum or a church. Some restaurants and shops may not allow dogs either. So we were limited to walking around a lot and warming up in shops and restaurants that did allow dogs. We have a small backpack to carry our dog in, and that served as a perfect safe space for Chi when we sat down for a coffee and some treats. Though we could not visit any museum (and we love those!), we did have a good time exploring the city streets and parks.
Obviously we had to find a hotel that allowed dogs. There are plenty that do. Our choice of hotel even offered a dog bed. We were allowed to leave the dog in the room when we were in the hotel restaurant. Not all hotels allow dogs to stay in the rooms by themselves. Of course we paid a fee for Chi’s stay, but that is logical. When staying in a hotel dogs can have ‘accidents’, even when you take them for regular walks. We took Chi for his usual routine walks around the same time as we would have done at home. He quickly, after one round, knew the route and was confidently walking us around. (He is a clever one.)
Again! Let’s go!
Our dog is part of our little family and it was a joy to take him on a long weekend with us. We will do so again, to a different city that we can reach by train in a short time. He enjoys it: new places and experiences seem to energise him, and not stress him out. In fact, I think he came back even more relaxed and happy than we did! He loves traveling by train and he loves going to new places.