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Friday, September 23, 2005

Cologne - Day 2

It’s my first breakfast - and it’s a buffet. There are cereals, yoghurts, canned fruit salad, bread rolls, cheese, assorted meats and hard boiled eggs along with various condiments.

I have coffee with lots of real milk, a roll with cheese and a thin slice of proscuitto. After Amsterdam, I've taken a liking to those boiled eggs, so I have one of those as well.

It’s a good hearty breakfast for a day of walking.

I take the zoom this time for my second visit to the Dom.

This is part of the unappropriate development around the Dom - it's a museum (Ludwig Museum) that sticks out like a sore thumb and encroaches on the Dom. Since the Dom was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996, it has subsequently made it to the World Heritage in Danger list.

It's a lovely clear day and around 9am in the morning - a half moon is still in the sky - you can see it to the left of the spires.


Cologne Station (Köln Hauptbahnhof) sits right beside the Dom - you walk out of the station and bang the Dom is right there in front of you. This is the view taken from the side of the Dom, there's actually a road underneath. I really do like the lines of this station - it's beats the wave roof of Spencer Street station

It’s still pretty impressive going inside again - it really is beautiful. Having taken way too many pictures outside it doesn't take long to fill the card up - I decide to have a seat in a pew and download the shots onto the Ipod.

My next stop is the Dominican Church of St Andreas - it’s almost next door to the Dom. Unlike the Dom, there’s only one other person taking a look. It was built in the 1200's and in the 1400's various chapels were added to the side aisles. As it wasn't badly damaged in WWII, it served as the replacement of the Dom until 1948.
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I continue down the Zeughausstrasse, where I spot this building, the Cologne Municipal Museum. It’s got a gold, winged car sitting on the tower. The "Winged Car" is by H.A Schult.

Just on the corner is a Roman Tower

there’s also a map in the pavement showing the location of the old Roman Wall

Turning up Steinfeldergasse I head for St Gereon - the streets are almost deserted here. In front of the church is a lovely park with a most interesting sculpture.

The cemetary in the grounds is located next to the kids playground. Bit odd seeing the jungle jim next to the tombstones.

This church is quite compact but has the most beautiful painted dome - it also has some well worn murals on the walls. The dome is a decagon which is unusual. Building started in the 4th century with additions occuring in the 9th, 11th, 12th and 14th centuries.
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There's also a copy of La Pieta
and in the entrance foyer a sandstone sculpture of putting Christ in the Tomb from the 16th century

I pause for a Latte Macchiato (and to dump the photos onto the Ipod) at another italian eatery - what comes out is this 700ml monster - at least they use real milk and not those little metal caps.

I walk back the way I came and at the roman tower continue along to St Aposteln. It's romanesque in style with a tri-conchal chancel. It was built in the 10th century but altered in the 11th, 12th and 14th centuries. It was damaged due the war but rebuilt.
Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photos inside St Aposteln - so I compensate by snapping the market that’s happening in the church’s shadow.

It’s a long walk to find St. Cäcilien. There’s one thing Cologne isn’t short of and that is camera stores. I have to take a pic of this camera and lens.

Arriving at St Cäcilien I find that it is no longer a church but the Museum Schnü has some very interesting external features which I settle on.

Next stop is St Maria im Kapitol near the Heumarkt, but find its surrounded by road works and impenetrable. I take the hint and head back home since it’s past 1pm.

I have lunch again at the italian place (Vecchia Trattoria) near the hotel and have a spaghetti carbonara. It’s an adequate dish - the meat used lets the dish down. It’s also quite a very large serve.

After lunch I have this brilliant idea to take a cruise - it’s especially convient because the boat departs right in front of the hotel. There’s also a special 2 hour afternoon cruise at 3.30 - that sounds really, really good doesn’t it? I certainly thought it did.

With a ticket purchased I head back to my room to wait since I have an hour to kill.

About quarter past I make my way to the dock and find there’s already a queue. It’s a bit popular isn’t it, I think to myself. It should be okay. Waiting in line, I note something usual, the people all around me are German. Now, you might think, yeah dummy you are in Germany. Wherever I’ve gone on cruises, the locals are always in the minority, if there are any at all. London, Paris, Amsterdam - they were obviously tourist dominated. Here, there’s an incredible number of german tourists.

Surviving the pushing and shoving I manage to get onto the boat and decide to head straight out the back - it’s in the open and should give me a good view (The boat has an enclosed lower level and an open upper level).
I seemed to be seated amid a very large group - two of their members had belts that were fitted with mini schnapps bottles, like they were ammuniation. Another had mini escky’s full of these mini bottles. There was much guzzling going around me and we hadn’t even set off. With the engines gurgling the waitress comes around and begins to take drinks orders - something that she does constantly for the full 2 hours.

Within 15 minutes i discover the real purpose of the cruise - it’s to get blind drunk. Speaking with hindsight, this cruise is the greatest non-event there is. There’s nothing to see, you see the “view” in the first 5 minutes (the view being the dom) - you then spend the rest of the trip looking at nothing. A few trees, a few crappy bridges.

I begin to plan my exit strategy as one of the guys around me appears to be quite unsteady in his lederhosen (yes he was wearing lederhosen) and I hope that the wet patch on the back of his pants is just water. He has the look of a man that is about to violently throw up and like all good mates, they give him more beer.

When the boat turns back, my spot is now in full sun so I high tail it upstairs and undercover. Both sections of the upper decks are full so I move downstairs - oh boy, I can see they’ve really been getting into the beer down here as well. I escape with a coke at a bargain €2.60 and just manage to escape the clutches of mad drunk germans as they start to conga around the room.
I spend the rest of the trip bored stiff but in the shade of a the hallway between decks.

Two very long hours as we get ready to dock, the hallway I’m in has filled in readiness to exit - well, not before we get the drunk womens choir repeatingly singing the chorus of an incredibly annoying song.

Now if my positive feeling towards Cologne and all things German hadn’t wained then the next incident destroyed it. While coming back to my room I rounded the alley, fortunately due to the uneveness of the cobbles, I ended up moving to the right. I use the word fortunately because of that moment a huge spit ball was hurdled towards me from the fourth floor of the corner building - my last minute movement, assigned the glob to a noisy splatter on the ground. I looked down at it and noticed that a couple nearby were looking slightly shocked at the happening and gazing up at the culprit in the window.

I shook my head and continued walking, internally, furious that some sort of neanderthal thought it might be fun to just spit on someone. Geez, that’s a laugh. My thoughts, if reportable would be &@*@*(@ &!^!())(!)_!&#(.

If you'd like to see more photo's from today you can click on the following links
Cologne Set
Cologne Dom Set


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