People are nice, specially young people. However,the culture is more individualistic and cold than, for example, the Spanish culture. The traffic is not a problem in Cologne, we used the car everyday to get to the Uni and we could always find a parkplace. In the center of the town there are many shops (clothes, etc.), and you can find supermarkets, drogerie markets, etc. almost everywhere. A remark: watch the opening hours, some of them are closed very early, at 6 pm.
Near Cologne you can also visit Düsseldorf, a very nice city with nice shops, and Bonn. I also travelled to Belgium (Brussels) and to the Netherlands. It is specially nice there in May, with all ç the Tulips season. A visit to Amsterdam is also recommended, specially on the National Day. If you also have time to travel, I also suggest to go to Freiburg, in the South of GErmany, a beautiful village which is full of students and young people, specially in summer.
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