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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cologne - Day 1

There's definately not a lack of taxi's waiting at the station - I'm directed over to one who promptly stowes my bag in his boot. When I show him the address, he probably regrets his enthausiam. He tells me that it's not far, that it's just over there - I can't see it from where I am. I stick by my guns, I don't want to wheel my bag around a place in which I have no map and no idea of where I'm going.

Grungingly we get on our way, this guy is steaming, mumbling to himself as he takes to the road. I decide a seat belt is a good idea. As he'ss driving he finally speaks to me, telling me that he has to go around to get there. Yeah, I get it - you're ticked off that your stuck with a cheap fare and have missed out on a bunny waiting to drive to frankfurt.

He doesn't exactly drop me off at the hotel, he drops me off at the corner. Fair enough - I don't want to push it. And even though his been mumbling and grumbling, I do give him a tip. Aren't I a sucker?

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At the hotel I check in and find I'm in a hotel without an elevator. At least it's only one flight up. I'm in room one, it overlooks Buttermarkt, a cobbled lane that runs parallel to the Rhine. The hotel itself is on the banks of the rhine.

I have a lateish lunch in an "italian" restaurant (it's called Vecchia Trattoria) just a couple of doors away. It's amusing to listen to the staff talk to each other in Italian and to the customers in german. I have to grin a little, i know what they are saying.

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I order a onion pizza - which is part of a special deal where you get a salad plate (lettuce, tomato, cucumber with balsamic vinegrette) and pizza for €5.50. Not bad. Put then I discover the hidden cost - the price of water, in this case €3.50! Maybe I should have a beer it's only €2.

Sitting inside means I stay clear of the smoke - it's not too bad a tactic to take - plus I can hear what the staff really think of their customers.

On the topic of smoke and cigarettes, this advertising poster is just near the hotel - in fact it's all over Cologne
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Isn't it nice to see that a cigarette company can usurp a whole country to flog it's cigarettes? I'm sure the Tourism industry must love it - when you think of Australia, think of cigarettes. I bet it's up there to replace that "shrimp on a barbie" campaign.

After lunch I head out to find the Dom - it is the main reason I've come here, plus it's where the Tourist information centre is located - and I really need to get a map. Frankenwerft (which is the street the hotel is on) is basically wall to wall restaurants - and more than half of them are Italian based. Now it makes sense why they call Cologne Italy's most northern city.

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Typical building structure located on Frankenwerft - the tower behind it belongs to the church Groß St Martin.

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Unfortunately I'm not able to get inside the church so I have to satisfy myself with the exterior.

The Dom (Cologne Cathedral) is a huge building - unfortunately it's impact has been lessened by the ridiculous building that's been happening around it.
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It's almost impossible to get far enough away to get a picture with it's complete facade. There are just way too many people milling around - I'll have to return early morning and see what I can do.

A bit of history on the Dom - it took over 600 years to build! Building started in 1248 and didn't finish until 1880. It is also Germany's biggest Cathedral and was the world's tallest structure until 1884 (it still is the worlds largest gothic structure). It was designed to house the (stolen from Milan) relics of the Magi and the cathedral is dedicated to Saint's Peter and Mary.

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Once again, it's really hard to convey the size of this church.

If you'd like to see more photos just click on the link Cologne Cathedral Set

In honour of JFK....Das ist ein berliner
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yes, it's a donut


Dinner: Restaurant Dohmens

I decide to have an early dinner - to lessen the amount of smoke around me and take advantage of the specials all the restaurants seem to offer.

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I opt for a €4.90 Weiner Schnitzel special in one of the restaurants. Once again, the inequity in beverage prices is obvious. Bottle of water €3, shot of liquer €2, beer €1.

I now understand why german's are such big beer drinkers - everything else is too fucking expensive.

If you'd like to see more photos of Cologne just click on the link Cologne Set

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