The angels have a way of keeping you smiling! I didn’t quite know what was going on when the flight attendant boarding us in Dubai tore up my boarding pass but I was over the moon when she nonchalantly handed me a new one – 9A! After a Veuve or two, a Mojito and a lovely meal I settled into my sky bed for the sleep I was so desperately craving!
I thought I was being thrown a bit of emotional balance when my luggage arrived sans walking pole but thankfully after a 30 minute search I tracked it down. I’d had a fleeting “I knew I should have just bought one in Chamonix” moment.
I pushed onto my train trips which saw me arrive at my destination of Cologne around midnight.
My Airbnb host was lovely and the accommodation cosy. I was staying 30 minutes from Cologne’s Central station and so had the good fortune of overlooking farming fields from my elevated room.
My day of sightseeing began with a tour of the Gothic Cologne Cathedral, reputedly one of the largest in Europe and holding the remains of the three wise kings!
Despite my atheism, I am a sucker for listening to music in a cathedral and so was pleased my visit coincided with mass.
I had no plausible reason to not climb the 500+ stairs to one of the twin towers given what laid ahead so up and up I went. My reward was a great view down the Rhine River.
My next stop was the the Romanische Germanic – an expose of Cologne’s and other parts of Germany’s Roman history. A key part of the exhibition was the Dionysus Mosaic, a former banqueting hall floor, which had been uncovered during the construction of a bomb shelter during the war. I really enjoyed the glassware display too.
I was amazed by the 35 000 BC relics also held in the museum until I saw the relics dating back to 100 000 BC. I actually went back to check I hadn’t misread it on the plates!
A short cruise along the Rhine was a great opportunity to take reprieve from the cold – I had definitely not packed for what I was being told was an unseasonably cold August in Germany. It was a nice perspective of the pretty coloured and decorated buildings and Romanesque churches.
I had a walk around the Neumacht, taking in the sights and sounds from a small community market before stopping in a beer house for a Kolsch in its originating city! I could have easily settled into this cosy spot but didn’t … plenty more beer yet to come in Bavaria.
Something that will sit with me from Cologne is the number of homeless people with dogs – and I’m not talking small lap dogs! I’m not sure if it is a ploy to obtain more money while begging or whether it is for companionship in what must be a very solitary life.
I’d wondered if one day was going to be enough to experience Cologne but although I hadn’t taken a lot of down time I felt I’d gained a good feel for this city, which had once been a very significant base for Germany and it’s forerunners.
I farewelled Cologne resisting the temptation to pick up a token sampler of Eau de Cologne 4711 – a small part of Cologne in my childhood.