Team events can be a bit exhausting. Sometimes the key to happiness is a simple one. That’s exactly what went through our mind and why we contacted: the Freewalk Cologne.
Team events can be a bit exhausting. The whole super adventurous lets-go-skydiving attitude is nice, but which company can really afford paying that much? And what about the people with fear of heights or those with a restriction? Sometimes the key to happiness is a simple one. Let’s think of a tour through the city, learning new stories, seeing new places. That’s exactly what went through our mind and why we contacted: the Freewalk Cologne.
A freewalk, you might ask yourself, what is such thing? Well, it’s a guided tour with no fixed participation fee, usually organized by non-profit people who just have fun showing strangers or townspeople around. Since we at APTLY are a multi-national company with lots of team members who are fairly new to Cologne, we felt like a bit of extra tuition was just the right thing. One of our team members suggested a friend of his, the founder of Freewalk Cologne: Matthias Boden.
As a passionate Couchsurfing advocate, Matthias decided back in 2014 to guide visitors through his hometown Cologne and share his peculiar local stories. By now a few other guides have joined, still maintaining the familiar and relaxed atmosphere. Tours are held twice a day and last between 2 and 3 hours. Like the name says, (you don’t have to but) you can pay them whatever amount you feel is worthy of the tour.
APTLY goes Freewalking
On a lovely friday afternoon we started our tour at the famous Eigelsteintorburg. Being built somewhen in the 1180’s, it is one of the few remaining ancient city gates and the perfect point to gather around.
We kept on exploring the Altstadt-Nord and walked through old streets with romantic views.
While we don’t really care or argue about religion here, we definitely all appriciate the architecture and atmosphere of a church. St. Kunibert is a beauty you could say. As an old romanesque basilica there were some great stories Matthias shared with us about virgins, blood and bones (creepy, we know, but true!).
But the Freewalk Cologne does not only talk about old stuff, modern art is shown, too. A building behind the Cologne Central Station shows a banana getting carried by slaves to a city gate. What first looks like a random act of modernism is actually criticism on the captitalisation of art and the removal of culture space (see Matthias, we learned something!).
Other art forms in Cologne are not as severe. The true Köllefornia-spirit likes to laugh and keep a winky eye. One of these stories is about the Heinzelmännchen, little helpers who like to stay hidden. But the legend says that one day they were seen by a suspicious wife as she checked on her husband’s workplace at night, wondering why her beloved one always got off work early. Well, it was the Heinzelmännchen crew, finishing the construction workers work by night. We also had three little Männchen joining our tour, but one of our team members insists on them being his children.
But there are more kölsche legends: Tünnes and Schäl are two figures of the famous Hänneschen puppet theatre and can be found in the Altstadt as huge molded statues, created by Wolfgang Wallner. Funny thing was that one of our old offices (back in the day when there were just a handfull of employees) was just around the corner, leading some of us to go down the memory lane.
Let the Kölsch decide
The last stop was – of course – a brewery in the heart of Cologne. With a few beer and some happy faces, it was the perfect end to a long friday. The whole APTLY team wants to thank Matthias for taking us on his Freewalk, it was an experience we can recommend to everyone! And if you decide to join the tour one day, please say Hi from us 🙂
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