London’s My Lobster went on a bit of a trip recently. This trip was to the far away land of Germany, specifically to the awesome city that is Cologne. Living in London, we (mostly) all think that this is THE city to be in – London has it all, doesn’t it? When people gawp at the fact we have chosen to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities, one overwhelmed by tourists, high rents and delayed trains, we brush off their ignorance. Sometimes, it takes a visit to a completely different place, in this case, Cologne, to look at London in a new light. I think we could learn a thing or two from our German counterparts….
Cologne vs London
London: 40 min train ride from London Liverpool Street to Stanstead airport: £22 (return)
Cologne: Half-hour train ride from Cologne city centre to Bonn/Koln airport: €2.80 (one way)
London: queue for approx. 30 mins at the bar, elbowing punters en route, to pay a fiver for a mediocre pint.
Cologne: in the Brauhaus, people come to your table with beer, and simply tally on your beer mat how much you’ve drunk (at a rate of about €1.70 for (an admittedly small) 0.2l Kolsch right out of the brewery)
London: approx. £10 entry to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
Cologne: free jazz every night at Papa Joe’s Jazz-Lokal, with all drinks being a couple of euros more expensive than other places in order to cover costs
London: £7-8 for a bottle of fizz
Cologne: €5 for a pretty decent bottle of Prosecco
London: about 10% discount for those of us slaving away at uni, and paying £9,000 a year tuition fees.
Cologne: consistently discounted entry prices at all museums, galleries etc. (some at nearly 50% off regular adult price). Oh, and university here is FREE people!
Perhaps London could take a leaf out of Cologne’s book. Of course, I’m in no way advocating that we Londoners immediately start sporting Lederhosen or having sausages on the menu at near every restaurant (note: this is not being stereotypical, these things actually happen in Cologne), but maybe if transport was cheaper, pubs were more chilled, people were more trustworthy and education was free we wouldn’t get that look of shock, horror and disbelief from non-Londoners when we say we live in London. Instead, they would say ‘well aren’t you lucky, living in a place with such good principles and ideas. One might say, slightly German?’ I wait with bated breath…
P.S. further comparison in the area of stairs: if you think that Covent Garden station is a bit hard work with their 193 stairs, try the Cologne cathedral – 533 steps up a narrow spiral staircase (not pretty when you meet a school trip coming down when you are attempting the epic journey upwards). TFL, do not take on this idea for future tube stations.