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The “Schäl Sick”
Rough, tough and sympathetic
The other side of the city of Cologne
If you are looking for major sights or classical beauty, the “Schäl Sick” will not provide. The nickname of Colognes right river side, which may be translated to “wrong” or “crooked” side, already indicates the perspective, which the inhabitants of the left have towards their neighboring on the right side of the river. This is due to the fact that a long lasting rivalry was maintained as the river used to be a border. This changed with historic developments in the 19th century, when at last both sides grew and merged into one city.
Our tour therefore takes you through neighborhoods which grew together and thrived during the period of industrialization and experienced continuous change ever since. Migration, structural change and also gentrification are key factors sustaining a process of ongoing reinvention. We therefore are taking you on a tour that will lead through rather gritty parts of the town, with some green and beautiful specs and perspectives. Thus we are convinced that you will enjoy the tour through Colognes “other side”.
Please also consider our list for food and drink! It will keep you energy level up along the way and also serve as proof that the “Schäl Sick” has more to offer than kebab and hot dogs, but rather has some culinary highlights as well.
You can see the cycling route directly at komoot: The “Schäl Sick”.
Description of the route
The tour begins at the Cologne Cathedral. (In case you want to take a shortcut, grab your bike and ride the underground/tram/KVB no. 18 to the station “Wiener Platz”) From here on you can bike along the Rhine River north in order to cross the stream via the suspension bridge “Mülheimer Brücke”. Consider this the perfect entry onto the “Schäl Sick”. As soon as you have made your way across, your path will take you through the old town of Mülheim neighborhood, which soon leads into a former industrial quarter. Today however business-, media-, culture- and event locations thrive in the spacious halls of the former steel and metal works. Just around the corner you will then ride through Keupstraße. This street is what locals like to call “little Istanbul” and very much enjoyed for its great selection of Turkish food. Finally continue your route through Mülheims center before the tour takes you back to the river and through the industrial port area of the town.
South of Mülheim the Rhine Park connects the neighborhoods of the right Rhine side. The park is a reminiscent of a flower exhibition from the 1950s. You can still whiteness some of the parks 50s architecture, if you explore the vastness of the recreation space. Then you will also see how the green area also is an event location. The Tanzbrunnen (literally: dance fountain) is one of the nicest Open Air venues in town. If you are up for a break at this point an option would be the Strandbar, which is a beach club close to the river. If the weather is to chilly you may keep on cycling a bit further down south. Just beyond the next bridge the Grissini and the Sticky Fingers are indoor restaurants on the Rhine Boulevard with one of the best views on Colognes historical center. Here you can get a good bite to eat as well.
From here on our route turns eastward. First we will pass the Cologne triangle which has a observation deck above and the historic 19th century train station of Deutz. Notice the red wheel monument on the plaza in front of the station? It resembles the first motor that was invented here by Nicolas August Otto. Good however that we don’t need it on our tour, although you might wish for a little support when climbing up to the LANXESS arena. From here on we are slowly approaching the neighborhood of Kalk. The working class districts monument is the water tower from the 19th century but our final destination is the old Sünner brewery. This is another good stop to get food and drink but make no mistake, appearances can be deceiving. The neighborhood has better places to offer than a first glance may suggest.
Finally we will start our way back, not without taking a small loop through a part of the town which gives us a little bit of Maghreb flair. Just a few blocks down the road we’ll pass the brutalist building of the technical university and head straight into the heart of Deutz a typical “Veedel” of the town (Cologne Dialect for: neighborhood). Here we find perfect closure for our tour. Either you go to the Lommerzheim Pub for a deserved Kölsch and some hardy local food or you head for the Rhine Boulevard with the restaurants mentioned above. Anyone who wants to go back in time may visit the ruins of an old Roman fortification, part of the Limes and UNESCO World Heritage Site, which are embedded in the Boulevard.
Finally we cross the river on the Deutz Bridge back to the right Rhine side, with the impressions of the Schäl Sick on our mind.