CologneAugust 4, 2016 in Germany
Heading towards Cologne the area became extremely industrialised. The vineyards, wheat fields and trees were replaced by huge buildings, towering chimneys and metal tubes snaking up and down and occasionally emitting some gas high up above us.
As we approached the city, the skyline stood out as distinctive, with its bridges accross the Rhein, two cathedral spires and tall skyscrapers. We'd deliberately not arrived at a weekend and were glad of this as the 60 place stopover was packed. Luck was with us though and we found a free spot overlooking the river, its grassy floodplain and a path leading to the town. Vicky wasn't feeling well so it was great for her to be able to sit in the van with her crochet watching the world go by.
Cologne is supposidly one of the world's great 'pink' cities with 1 in 10 people being openly gay. It was heartwarming to see a same sex couple strolling hand in hand. In so many areas, conditions are such that people don't feel able to express themselves, whether it be their sexuality, gender, fashion sense or even opinion or belief if it is different to that of the perceived populus masses.
Despite being bombed extensively in the second world war, Cologne still has many historic, mainly religious sights to see. The Cathedral seemed somewhat too large for us to take in close up and there were too many other buildings close by to be able to step back sufficiently. However the intricate stonework was breathtaking together with the beautiful stained glass windows filtering the afternoon sun through in a rainbow of colour.
We enjoyed a local Kölsch beer sitting at a table outside colourful old buildings in the Altstadt (old town) area overlooking the Rhein. We took a trip to the 4711 House of Cologne to see the tap of eau de cologne flowing for you to dip in to, then indulged in another treat of bramley apple crumble cake and lime strawberry cheesecake with a chocolate icecream drink and coffee.
The day in Cologne was wrapped up with a walk over the raiway bridge to the viewing tower in Deutz. The steps up the bridge had special bike tracks and its wire mesh barriers were covered with 'love locks' built up by decades of couples proclaiming their love for each other by locking a padlock with their names and often memorable dates to the bridge. The glass sided, 28 storey high panorama tower did as it said, with a platform you could walk round to see 360° views of Cologne, the Rhein, its bridges, Deautz and beyond to the industrial zones on the horizon.Read more