A week after heading south to Munich, we hit up Deutschebahn again, and set off due (south)west, for Koeln, and more adventures with the wandering A-M clan (this time, just Ariel).
Cologne has a pretty huge defining feature- which happens to be a cathedral. I was feeling fairly well churched-out after Barcelona et al., but it was just THERE, so we headed inside.
List of things I liked about the Dom.
1) Big ceilingy-ceilings. Get yo’ Vault On!
2) This awesome stain glass which was clearly made when the artist was going through an ‘experimental space invaders’ stage and though ‘fC^& it, I’m just going with huge pixels’ stage.
3) The floors. You know how I am about the tiles!
All the better for standing on m’dear.
4) This random section of low-hanging ceiling, which they apparently asked the local preschool to just ‘fill in with a bit of colour’.
5) This section for candles. Is that glint we can see in the worshipers’ eyes devotion? or budding pyromanacy?
Cologne was luckily much warmer than Munich, which made being outside for more than 10 seconds fairly bearable. We got our walk on (much to Andy-the proud new owner of a fitbit-‘s delight).
^Points for anyone who can see Andy hiding in the photo.
These little guys, as informed by my sister, are the elves who spent a good deal of their time skinning pigs, and doing other non-recreational activities, all that the people of cologne didn’t have to do any work themselves. That was, until some silly bint put peas on the stairs to trip the elves, discovering their identity and thus bringing to a sudden halt the free ride that all the Koelnians were enjoying.
We passed a Rathaus (townhall), where a very boisterous turkish (?) wedding was taking place. They danced, they pranced, they released doves and then they released balloons.
^More points for those of you who can find the dove in the picture that refused to be released.
We moved on to Ehrenfeld, where we had heard there was a bunch of street art.
We were not disappointed…
^One of my moregraceful moments.
^More Poised, as befits Dr Andy’s station.
Creepy NSA surveillance mural. Andy is being a sheep.
..Shall we go in for the closeup?
At some point, Andy decided that the scenery just wasn’t hipster enough for him. He split from the crowd, rushed up to the most alternative looking man he could find and said:
‘Wo ist d’ Hipster Viertel mit das Hipster Kaffee’
which translates from shakey German into:
‘Where is the hipster quater with the hipster coffee’.
…past some kinda strange helmety/space station thing,
…and the memorial park..
And then we hit it. The little hipster paradise.
Ok, here begins 109 photos of my sister and I posing.Which is probably uninteresting unless you are directly related to one of us.
You’ve been warned.
We found an amazing, hipster-looking coffee shop, but it was so good that it was absolutely stuffed with locals, and we had no chance of finding a seat.
So we headed down the street to the ‘hipster art galleries’ instead.
Eventually, coffee boy had to get his fix, so we stopped into some sort of french patisserie.
By the time we got back to the centre, it was pretty dark, and the christmas markets were in full bloom.
I’ve got to say, that the Cologne markets seemed a bit nicer than other Christmas markets I’ve seen in Berlin and Potsdam and even Munich- much more of the ‘food and decorations’ and much less ‘cheap crap you’d find in a two dollar shop’.
Also- pretty, if you’re into that kind of over-the-top floweritude.
^A Christmas tree on a crane.
The next morning, we hit the street fairly early, and (Shame On Us), ate a fast food breakfast in order to get on our way.
Ariel wanted to visit the Cologne state museum, which turned out to be pretty boring.
Lots of random spoons and other ‘treasures’, as opposed to any actual effort put into creating a story of the history of the city.
They even had one painting which was possibly made in Cologne… which seemed a little desperate to us.
Andy quite liked these angels who seemed intent of stealing things from little boys and girls and pushing the off the cliff to hide the crime.
Back to the Dom, in the hopes that it’s glowing facade would make more of an impression than the Cutlery Centre of Cologne.
And of course, when near Dom, do what the Dom-ians do: Dom Christmas Markets!
Which (of course) meant the drinking of hot alcohol by Ariel (in this case, I introduced her to Feuerzangebowle).
Ariel and I’s noses and hearts were won over by some flame-grilled salmon.
… but in the meantime, Andy wandered off, and came back with a stick full of Pig.
.. which made us also want stick-pig..
Probably there’s some German proverb about the family who eats pig together, staying together?
The family that eats schwein together, is allein never?
We made our way to the river, where some sort of pied-piper bubble man was attracting children to himself (probably to the lead into the river, or feed to the rats or something)
And then Andy and I forced Ariel in the direction of the love-lock bridge.
Unfortunately for us, noone was there selling locks that we could deface the public property with. So we did temporary-defacing, by merely posing like idiots near the locks.
We crossed the river- walked along the other side a bit- and crossed back again. And hit 15,000 steps on his fitbit, and we were allowed to celebrate with a hot chocolate at the Choco-museum (which also had it’s only Christmas market out the front).
^ This reminds me of the various versions of ‘women not really listening to men’ that are doing the rounds on the net right now.
^It took me a long time to stop being distracted by his potato head, and realise that he also has a puppy up his jumper.
^This one we loved because of the artist description- apparently the guy grew up in Brandenburg, and then went to Italy once and was so overwhelmed by all the light that it became a constant theme in every one of his paintings since.
Which, if you’ve been to Brandenburg, I think you’ll get.
As a general point, I have to note that the museum did a pretty good job at integrating interesting tidbits about the artist or his/her work with the paintings.
^Top that Einstein!