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Possible trip to Duisburg and Koln

Discussion in 'Germany' started by Crowthorne, 16 Oct 2014.

  1. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi everyone :)

    For a while now I’ve been amusing myself by half-pretending planning a trip to Koln and Duisburg to visit their zoos, mostly because they both look great to visit (Koln for the elephants and hippos, Duisburg for Rio Negro), but just thinking has reached its limit and now I really want to actually plan a trip. Have been checking flights and hotels and things, but what I was really wondering is how easy is it to navigate around Germany? I don’t speak any German, but can try and pick up a few phrases.

    My potential-trip currently stands at:
    Day one, fly to Koln from Stansted, day in Koln
    Day two, visit Koln Zoo, possibly travel by train up to Duisburg that evening
    Day three, visit Zoo Duisburg
    Day five, non-zoo sights, fly back to Stansted from Dusseldorf

    I’ve only heard good things about the German trains, and the hotels seem reasonable, but are the zoos relatively easy to find and travel to? I'm very used to travelling on UK trains, but not sure if that will be good prep for the German trains!

    I’ll admit, I’ve seen other people’s zoo-trip outlines, and they always look so packed (am here, pm there etc), which always sound so very exhausting, I’m a much more leisurely creature! Of course, if there are any other zoos in the same area worth a visit please let me know, or if you have any tips for train travel in the area, any advice will be much appreciated :)
     
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  2. lintworm

    lintworm Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Getting around in English shouldn't be a problem, older German people won't speak english, but most young people will.

    Getting to and from the zoos by public transport is really easy (and cheap compared to UK), you should check www.bahn.de for train schedules. There are direct underground trains to Cologne Zoo (from the Main station, Hauptbahnhof in german) and there is a tram (Strassenbahn) from Duisburg Hauptbahnhof directly to the zoo. You can also find schedules for those on www.bahn.de. If you do not travel with any ICE or IC trains (which is not necessary on those distances) you travel for 28.50 euro for a day, including trams/undergrounds/busses etc with the Nordrhein Westfalenticket:
    http://www.bahn.de/regional/view/regionen/nrw/freizeit/schoenertag_ticket.shtml

    For 2-5 persons it is way cheaper already. You can buy such tickets at the ticket machines or at the counter.

    I would not try to fit another zoo in your day at Cologne. But many people combine their trip to Duisburg with a short visit at Krefeld (a visit there should take 2-3 hours). But that is not necessary to have a great day, especially if you don't like to wake up early and go on all day.

    If you are really fond of rare species you should consider visiting Wuppertal zoo too, but that takes about 5 hours to properly see, so that costs you a big part of day for ;).
     
  3. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Lintworm,

    Thank you for all the information and advice, so very helpful! Been taking a look at the trains, wow, they really are cheap compared to the UK! Thank you too for pointing out Krefeld, had heard of it but hadn't realised just how close it was to Duisburg, and looking at the gallery Wuppertal really looks like a must! Especially if they still have the harpy eagle and takin :D Am always amazed at how many zoos there are in Germany!

    Thank you again Lintworm, going to get planning this trip for sure! :)
     
  4. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, it's time to dust this plan off and try (again!) to make it reality; lets face it, Baby the River Dolphin won't last forever and I've wasted enough time as it is :eek: My not-zoo-nerdy boyfriend has said that if I organise it we can have a short break to Cologne with two zoos - Cologne for sure, and Duisburg (although if the absolute worst happens, I'm happy to replace Duisburg with Wuppertal. If it wasn't for Baby I think Wuppertal would actually be my choice of the two). At the moment I'm thinking April or May time, probably flying Heathrow to Cologne. Having trouble deciding on a good hotel though, if anyone can give recommendations for a decent hotel in Cologne I'll be very happy to hear!
     
  5. agnmeln

    agnmeln Well-Known Member

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    I stayed at Courtyard by Marriott, it was a 20 minute walk from the zoo or alternatively 2 minutes on the train.
     
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  6. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you @beccasunbear :) that one came up in my cursory research, sounds like a great location for the zoo
     
  7. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    I did a trip to Duisburg and Köln last summer, I don't speak German at all and I used only trains/uBahn for transport. I never had a problem, arriving to correct places in right times always. All ticket spending machines in train stations are very easy and interactive and they have English menus. People working in the train stations info point always speak English too and they are very kind indicating the departure times and the platforms. Köln zoo have an uBahn stop just very next, and very well indicated, Duisburg was more far from the train stop but I just followed the main street right and found it easily.
     
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  8. agnmeln

    agnmeln Well-Known Member

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    Nice hotel too and very reasonably priced. It’s in a great location with regards to the city centre, you can easily walk there from the main station and you’re not far away by train from the airport. It’s very easy and convenient.
     
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  9. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you @Kakapo Good to know about the language there, I only have very, very basic German (been using Duolingo on and off for a couple years). We were a little worried about travelling without knowing enough of the language, good to know someone else has been fine :)
     
  10. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    If you're in Mordor (aka Duisburg), you might consider visiting Zoo Zajac, the world's largest pet store. And if you're fluent in Arabic, Turkish or Romani, you won't have to worry about having to communicate in German there either. ;)
     
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  11. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation @Batto will have to see if I can sneak a pet shop past the 'two zoos' ruling ;) Funnily enough, I had basic Arabic lessons a few years ago, however I wasn't very good and the most complex sentence I put together without help from the teacher was 'the chicken is under the table'. Might just come is useful at Zoo Zajac? :p
     
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  12. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    You might not need Arabic at Zoo Zajac (which is also selling marmosets, armadillos, coatis etc.), but that chicken reference might come in handy when strolling through Duisburg at night. ;)
     
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  13. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Nah, if you were to sneak something past the rule much better to try arguing that if you do Krefeld on the same day as Duisburg - as I did last week - then you are still only having two zoo-visiting days :p
     
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  14. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    @TeaLovingDave I've read on here that Krefeld is doable in the same day as Duisburg. Does it feel rushed? All hypothetical though, pretty sure two zoos in one day might push my poor boyfriend beyond his zoo-endurance-limit!
     
  15. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, put it this way.... even with winter opening hours (which were hence shorter than they would be when you are looking into visiting) we still managed to get both collections thoroughly done in about 3.5 hours for Duisburg and 3 for Krefeld - and this including sitting and watching Baby for a pretty long time at the former, and revisiting exhibits repeatedly at the latter to give us something to do given the fact that we had booked our train back to Amsterdam for a time some hours after the zoo was going to close :p

    Minus the extra Baby appreciation and time-burning, you're actually looking at maybe 3 hours and 2 hours apiece.

    Just leave him in a warm cafe or something in Duisburg when you do Krefeld :p
     
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  16. agnmeln

    agnmeln Well-Known Member

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    Even my boyfriend, who has a sun bear tattooed on his chest has a zoo-endurance-limit! I agree with TeaLovingDave, find a way to distract him with something else whilst you get to finish off what you came for!
     
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  17. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Given the closeness of Duisburg and Krefeld it is certainly possible to visit both zoos in one day. However, especially for somebody who has never visited Duisburg before, I think it better to devote a whole day to Duisburg. Krefeld is worth a visit, though, and I think there is still a mountain anoa there.

    Another way to circumvent the "only two zoo days" rule is to visit the zoology museum in Bonn on the "non zoo day". This museum, which is easily reached from Cologne, has a fine African diorama and a small collection of live reptiles and amphibians.
     
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  18. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    There is indeed.
     
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  19. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    I'd personally err on the side of a full day for a first visit (don't forget the Dolphin shows too, something you can't see in the UK) but appreciate everyone's got different ways of doing zoos -we could do with a classification and measurement scale for this (e.g. if you're zoo nerd type A you could manage both in one day :D).

    Maybe the bast approach is to visit Duisburg first until you're satisfied and then consider whether you can/want to visit Krefeld with any remaining time?
     
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  20. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    That sounds like the best idea @Shorts and the one I'm considering. Any zoo outside the UK is a first visit for me, and don't want to feel like I'm rushing anything. Not sure what nerd-type I am, but I do like to absorb a place, especially on a first visit. I'm also very, very likely to accidentally miss areas. On my first visit to the Devon trio (Paignton, Living Coasts, Shaldon), I spent two full days at Paignton, because we somehow missed a section the first day. I also must be the only person who has ever completely missed a section at Bristol (the bird walkthrough in the centre; I mean, how is that even possible?!). Krefeld is on my long-list however, so I hope to get there eventually, and a Mountain Anoa is very, very tempting :D The museum in Bonn sounds like a good option too, thank you @Tim May :)

    Quick question too, are there any good botanical gardens in the area/do either Cologne or Duisburg zoos have good plant collections? I like animals, the other half likes plants :)