Germany
Innenstadt, Cologne

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    • Day 114

      St. Ursula

      May 7, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      Nach einem sehr gelungenen, aber hier nicht visuell dokumentierten, Konzertabend (O Yuki Conjugate und Drew McDowall) sind das hier die besten bzw. touristischsten Bilder eines schönen Wochenendes in Köln.

      Die Knochen auf den Bildern stammen von "elftausend Jungfrauen".
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    • Day 48

      Fünf Fotos-Rhine Cruise Day 7

      May 31, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      This morning the M.S. Henry Chaucer left Koblenz around 7 a.m. enroute to our final mooring spot of Köln (Cologne) Germany.

      As we were making it up the river, our guide let us know that we would be passing a key WWII site soon, the remnants of the Ludendordf Bridge, a key strategic crossing in Remagen that was a critical pivot point to end the war in Europe.

      As American forces were planning to make a Rhine River crossing they were surprised to discover that the Germans had failed to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge. Fortuitously for Allied forces, this allowed the U.S. Army to get across the Rhine and to build adjacent pontoon bridges for strategic crossing. Germany made several attrmpts to destroy the bridge, and nearby civilians were killed by bombing campaigns. Hitler also ordered the execution of German officers for the failed demolition attempts.

      On March 17th, the bridge ultimately collapsed, killing some American troops who fell into the frigid Rhine or were trapped under heavy bridge sections. A day after Memorial Day, we were reminded of their sacrifice and the likelihood that other lives were spared by reduced weeks of battle.

      Here is some news footage from this event:
      https://youtu.be/qNShQQiq0co

      In 1965, Remagen Mayor Hans P. Kürten wanted to commensurate the spot where the bridge once stood. Fifteen years later, his dream was realized and the Peace Bridge Memorial was created. The lives of Americans and Germans lost in the battle are memorialized.

      It was moving to pass by the memorial and to see the U.S. flag flying above.

      "Every day let us work for peace with our mind and heart.
      Each person should begin with himself."
      H.P. Kürten

      We arrived in Köln around noon, noting the dominant structure of the Köln Cathedral in the cityscaoe. We decided to take a trip into the city to get clothes laundered, to find our upcoming lodging, and to familiarize ourselves with the neighborhood where we'll be.

      When we departed from the coach that took us to town, we noticed a striking statue with a nun, but also with a star of David and a sculpted pile of shoes. When I saw the Star of David and the shoes, my mind immediately returned to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. I will never forget the image of piles of shoes of those murdered. I knew that I needed to learn more about the statue and the significance of the nun.

      We learned that the Statue portrays Edith Stein (Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce) a member of the Discalced (shoeless) Carmelite nun. She was raised in Jewish faith, became agnostic in her teen years, and she earned her Doctorate and became a teacher. She was forced to leave teaching because she couldn't earn an Aryan Certificate. She then became a nun and she was part of the effort to try to stop Nazi persecution of Jews until she was among those rounded up and murdered at Auschwitz.
      She is now one of the patron saints of Germany.

      This experience highlights the opportunity that I hope to continue to embrace in my lifetime: to explore the world with curiosity and to be a lifelong learner. I have been very fortunate to have had so many similar opportunities in my time in Europe to date.

      After leaving the Statue of St Teresia, we looked for the address of our next accommodations. We are excited about the neighborhood. It reminds us of the tree-lined neighborhoods in Barcelona.

      We stopped for a beer at a nearby café and then dropped by the laundromat. Although we were only there briefly to drop off laundry, I noticed the comfortable sitting area, several books available and Beethoven's 5th Symphony playing softly in the background.

      We decided to figure out the metro system, abs we took a route to the Cathedral. We do plan a visit back so I will comment more about it in a later post, but it's absolutely magnificent. It was an added bonus that organ music resonated throughout our visit.

      I think it could be possible to get a bit weary of European cathedrals, but that's not been the case. It is interesting that the cathedrals seem to draw more attention to tourists than church attendees. Regardless, they are beautiful works of art.

      As we left the grounds of the cathedral, we noticed a perfume store selling Cologne's trademark perfume mentioned by our cruise director: The Original Eau de Cologne 4711 created in 1708 is named after its location at Glockengasse No. 4711. I took a whiff, snd I would describe it as a formulation of citrus and floral scents. I've never heard of it, and I have no idea how widely known it is in America. The Brits on board certainly knew the reference.

      We returned to our boat for a last night cocktail and spectacular several course dinner. Jim C had an eggplant dish, and I had the Beef Wellington. Dessert was Baked Alaska which was served in a procession with sparklers.

      It's been a fine cruise, and we're excited about our next adventure. Guten Nacht!
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    • Day 18

      Cologne

      October 7, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      A very cold day out and about in Cologne as our guide showed us around the massive Cologne Cathedral. The allied forces largely spared the cathedral during WW2 due to it's value, so it is in original condition.

      Also checked out the Eau De Cologne store (Farina fragrance museum), Lovelock bridge, and the city shopping precinct.

      We were warned about pickpockets, so were careful, but one of the young male passengers from our ship was shoulder charged by a young german bloke in the city...probably an anti-American sentiment we think.
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    • Day 20

      Bijna thuis, maar toch nog niet helemaal

      September 19, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Gute Morgen meine Damen und Herren

      Gisteren was het een big change of plans, aangezien onze goeie vriend Tim ons al wilde verlaten, besloten Thomas en ik ipv naar Praag te gaan Keulen te gaan. Om zo toch de naar huis rit iets minder zwaar te maken.
      Dus dan deden we dat.

      9 uur op de trein. Jippiejej. Wel een mooie zonsondergang

      In keulen hebben ze ook een mooi groen raam, leuk he

      En om de dag af te sluiten: Tokkie tijdens 3 delen van de maaltijd

      1) heel gelukkig met zijn uw Tokyo Island tea
      2) helemaal klaar om die hamburger te verslinden
      3) teleurgesteld in mij omdat ik een chocomelk had genomen

      Bis bald
      🇩🇪 👋🏼👋🏼
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    • Day 118

      Rhine River and falls

      September 4, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      So we went for a float down the Rhine in some blow up orange boats . We floated for 5 hours . We had a picnic - Wylinn said that it’s no fun if you have no food , so we had a few courses to cover the 5 hours of floating . We went for several swims and took turns rowing , holding onto the back and kicking - which probably was quite counterproductive , and swimming while pulling the boats which were tied together. Then we drove to the waterfall which we would have gone down if we got out of the boats too late . It’s the most voluminous falls in Europe ( I think 😬 ). And wasn’t very tall but was pretty volumptuous .

      I took some pretty sick photos on dads 0.5x too, I hope you like the range of selfies offered .
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    • Day 17

      Köln Cathedral

      March 27 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

      Another big church. What I enjoyed about this one is a story our guide told us about the stained glass. One picture of the glass clearly shows a modern style compared to the original. The Arch Bishop of Köln didn’t like it and wanted it changed. Others in the church thought it was fine and overruled him. I guess being the Arch Bishop doesn’t carry the same weight as it did in the Middle Ages.Read more

    • Day 50

      Fünf Fotos- Köln Day 2

      June 2, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      After a great night's sleep, we walked to Rico, an outdoor café in the neighborhood for breakfast. It was fun to watch the city coming to life, although this neighborhood is pretty sedate overall.

      We decided to check out Köln's Botanical Gardens as the day was sunny and cool. The grounds were really beautiful, and we enjoyed seeing the different plants, those familiar and unfamiliar.

      Since the launch of our trip, we have sent photos and videos back to our granddaughter, Olive, of one of her favorite storybook characters, Pete the Cat. Jim C found the book at the local library about a year or so ago. In the first book that we read to her, Pete is wearing his brand new white shoes and through a series of mishaps, he stains them as he steps in the different obstacles (🫐, 🍓, mud and water). Regardless, Pete remains undaunted and sings a ditty that embraces his altered footwear. The story ends with a great moral: "No matter what you step in, just keep walking and singing your song."

      We created a bit of an amused stir of those observing us place Pete strategically on a statue in the garden. It was fun to attempt to explain what we were doing to a German audience.

      I have a purpose to my lengthy birdwalk (catwalk?): Olive is 3 years old today. It is bittersweet being thousand of miles away, but we have been making weekly Zoom calls to stay connected in addition to our "Pete" texts. We love watching Olive grow. We cherish the opportunity to be Opa & Papi. Olive has lived most of her young life amidst the pandemic, and yet she is one of the most joyous souls. And as we celebrate Olive, we also celebrate our bonus grandson James who Olive adores.

      So today, rather than just getting lost in our latest attraction, we took time to celebrate our family and the life waiting back home for us in Portland.

      Our life is muy Rica es the café reminded us today. Guten Tag!
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    • Day 75

      Cologne Cathedral

      July 9, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

      This is the big sight to see in Cologne. Christians have been worshipping here since Roman times.

      It's the tallest Gothic cathedral with two towers (Cologne loves its records). It was started in 1248 and took 631 years to complete.

      It survived Napoleon because he used it to stable his horses, and it survived the extensive bombing of Cologne in WWII because it was used as a marker for the pilots.

      Its biggest claim to fame is that it purports to house the relics of the Three Wise Men.

      The slender, soaring columns reminded us a little of the Sagrada Familia.
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    • Day 51

      Fünf Fotos-Köln Day 3

      June 3, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      We had another unscheduled day which we are really loving. We decided to take a walk in the neighborhoods after breakfast at a nearby café.

      I suggested that we visit a museum that I had read about:NS-Dokumentationszentrum der Stadt Köln (The Nazi Socialism Documentation Center).

      Before we reached the museum, we saw a strange site, a Golden Winged Ford Fiesta on top of a city museum. We learned that it was a quirky art installation. After passing the winged vehicle, we arrived at the EL-DE Hause.

      The EL-DE house at Appellhofplatz 23-25 ​​was the headquarters of the Cologne Gestapo from 1935 to 1945. The house is named after Leopold Dahmen (LD) the original owner.

      His name became synonymous with the Nazi reign of terror in Cologne, and later dealing with the Nazi history of the city after 1945.

      The experience was quite heart wrenching to see the prison cells and interrogation rooms and to know that many brought here had no idea why they were being held and interrogated. Many of the original Jewish captives' writings on the walls of the cells remain intact.

      Hearing stories are always powerful, and this was certainly no exception. We followed the story of a young French woman who gave birth to her child while in prison, and the child was given to nuns to raise. It wasn't until many years later that the mother and daughter were reunited..

      There were stories of those who survived and who visited these cells decades later. I just can't imagine going back to a place where so much trauma occurred.

      The prison tour ends in the courtyard where hundreds of Jews and other suspected political dissidents were executed. An art installation was added to enhance the impact of the courtyard, it is filed with mirrors. Everywhere you look, you see yourself. It was a powerful and startling portrayal.

      The museum also housed a series of photographs taken by a youth who captured much of life in Cologne prior to the war and the emergence of life under Nazi Socialism. The boy was involved in the Hitler Youth movement. It was a broad portrayal of every day life and a society that became oblivious to the growing atrocities under this dictatorship.

      We left the museum and wandered past a Romanesque style church which has a considerably different style than the Gothic architecture of the Cathedral.

      After a test this afternoon, we enjoyed dinner at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. We sat next to a young couple who had recently telecommuted in the LA area for four months to escape Cologne's cold wet winter. The raved about California, and we were remarking about all the wonderful aspects of Cologne. We both mused that we sometimes fail to acknowledge the treasures in our own back yards. It was a fun conversation to end the evening.

      We have loved Cologne, and we look forward to our next journey to Amsterdam tomorrow.
      Guten Nacht!
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    • Day 49

      Fünf Fotos-Köln Day 1

      June 1, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      After a farewell breakfast we disembarked from the M.S. Geoffrey Chaucer. We really loved cruising on the Rhine and we saw many wonderful sights. It was nice being taken care of by the staff, and we appreciated the flexibility to do what we wanted on the excursions.

      This cruise reinforced for us what we've previously thought. When it comes to travel, we're generally not fond of being part of the herd. The cruise served as a nice transition point, but we have generally preferred our own scheduling and independence.

      We headed into Cologne by metro, and we decided to store our backpacks and go back to the Köln Cathedral. The Cathedral really does reach high into the sky. In the 1880's it was the tallest building in the world.

      One of the sections that closed before we could enter last evening purportedly holds the relics (remains) of the Three Kings (Wise Men). Admittedly, I'm a bit of a skeptic about such things; however, the artwork and the triple gold sarcophagus were beautiful.

      We did find some of the interplay of sculptures and other artforms to be a bit bizarre. Some appeared a bit whimsical and out of place given the somber setting. For example, there was a figure that we assumed to be a Bishop kicking back in apparent leisure underneath a painting of the crucifixion.

      In one of the side areas we saw panels describing the German churches actively contributing to antisemitism in their words and art. Despite that revelation, those images have not been removed and are seen as part of history. We were reminded of parallel debate of whether the Confederate flag or statues portraying Confederate officers should exist. And the argument here also seems about eliminating heritage without due regard to ceasing to elevate oppressors or images that have perpetuated destructive narratives. When I was talking with Jim C about it he observed "It's not acceptable to hold up as a legacy those who were on the wrong side of moral judgment. In history, we will not forget Robert E. Lee. He should not be celebrated."

      We learned that disturbing antisemitic woodwork carvings still remain in the choir benches in the Cathedral. Here's a further reference:
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judensau_at_the…

      We left the church and took a stroll into the Heurmarkt (Haymarket) for a bite to eat. It was fun to watch a newly married bride and groom having their wedding reception at a nearby outdoor restaurant.

      After lunch, we made our way to the penthouse flat where we are staying. The place has spectacular views, and we learned that the flat owner also owns German restaurants a few miles away.

      We both took a long nap, and then we decided to go out for dinner. We were both feeling a little homesick for food back home so we chose an Indian Restaurant. That choice might seem odd, but it reminded us of going to an Indian restaurant that we frequently visit in Portland.

      We ended the night with a trip to one of the gay neighborhoods in Cologne to go for a drink. We haven't been in this kind of space since our time in Madrid, and it was nice to be able to go out and relax without feeling an obligation to self-censor.

      It's been another good day, and we look forward to exploring Köln over the next few days
      Guten Nacht!
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Köln-Innenstadt, Koeln-Innenstadt, Innenstadt, Cologne

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