Travels in Europe: Day Two – Cologne

Posted: August 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

9th August

The day’s stats:

Coffee consumed:

1x Very strong espresso to start the day.
1x Iced Coffee after the cemetery in the boiling sun.

Food Consumed:

Breakfast – German bread, cheese, half a pain au chocolat.

Lunch: Beef Goulash and bread from a restaurant that only sells this one thing, in one size, and you get extra sauce all for 4 euros.

Afternoon: Two types of cherry cake – half of each.

Transport:

4x trips on underground
4x trips on trams
countless miles on foot.

Sights seen:

Morning:

The Dom: well here’s some gothic architecture for you, do you want another serving with that? My friend informs me that the locals like to watch tourists trying, in increasingly ridiculous poses, to get a photo of the whole structure. We are thwarted in our first attempt to see the interior by a blockade of priests, they are preparing for the 12 noon service. The second attempt brings me into a glorious world of ecclesiastical art. The mosaics on the floor of the chapel with three kings in particular, which depict various woman (female saints?) with different churches of Cologne resting on their laps. The latest addition is a wonderful, vibrant window of modern art stained glass which matches the colours of the older windows perfectly.

The glorious Rhine in full sunshine. Lot of of chance for photo nerding (camera clamped to my eye as I try to take sneaky pictures of people enjoying the sun, including a wedding couple.)

The famous Cologne railway Bridge which is covered in lovers’ padlocks of all different shapes and size. My favourite has to be a turtle and the padlock for one of Cologne’s football teams who were wishing for the luck to make the next division [my friend says they have no chance].

On the way back across the bridge we had to dodge no one, but two, guided tours by Segway. Yes you read that right. Segway. Large, lazy people who look affronted that they have to move their Segway a little to the left to avoid me and other pedestrians who were walking on the footpath. I’m also not sure the safety and comfort of a being on a Segway in a town which has so many cobbled streets.

Afternoon:

Cemetery: A city break isn’t complete without a trip to at least one cemetery. This one is a beautiful, quiet green space which masks the noise from the busy road that runs along one side. It’s also filled with nature and much to my delight a red squirrel bounds round one of the large fir trees and my friend and I track its progress through the treetops with childish delight. It is amazing what tufty ears, bushy tail and the deep russet red can do for what is essentially a rat. We also spot a mouse zipping between the gravestones.

There are the usual array of angels (not weeping) on graves and, as we pass gigantic edifices of stone, I begin to wonder about commissioning such graves. Yes, I’d like a life size replica of a Grecian circle of columns please. What’s the going rate for a semi naked, muscular man in mining boots? I’d like a sci-fi metal sculpture with a sphere on a stick, if that isn’t too much trouble.

I never really find cemeteries too creepy, but I have to pause a moment and talk about a family grave where what was probably the favourite Teddy Bear pokes out from beneath the tombstone, its paws splayed against a plastic partition wall, as if it has just crawled from the grave. Terribly moving, sad and just a little bit demonic.

When I return home photos will be added to this post to illustrate these unusual tombstones.

A street market where the air is filled with the smell of less than fresh fish and the tunes of kitschy German music. My friend and I are lucky enough to find the perfect plush animal present for a birthday party we’re attending, a hippo, on one of the stalls.

Gift room: A temporary glass and wooden outdoor cupboard where people can leave books, clothing, cds, videos etc. for others to take for free. This is a brilliant ideas and encourages a sense of community.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s