The Dom and the Rhein, Cologne
Went down to Cologne yesterday. The city's Dom (cathedral) is the largest in Germany - wonder if Pope Benedict will make his way here sometime soon. The hike up the belfry was inordinately hard - the tower is 475 feet high, and after walking up 45-50 stories, my legs were about to collapse. It's like a trick too - you reach what you think is the top, and then you have to climb another few stories to reach the real top. But such views. The cathedral was started in the 13th century and finished in the 19th century. Presumably in the past people were more willing to commit to a project that they knew would only be completed much later than their lifetime. For the glory of God und so weiter.
Had pork knuckles on the Rhein at das Haxenhaus. Pricey (free Kolsch beer to go along though!), and the skin was a bit too hard for my taste, but boy, that felt good.
Besides visiting the excellent Ludwig Museum (Cologne's modern art museum - the link is to a review of the museum), I also took the chance to stroll the shopping streets. Cologne's status as the media centre of Germany was clearly seen in the number of people being interviewed by TV crews on the street. 'Twas funny to turn on the TV later at night and realise I'd passed that particular interview. The shop mix was standard Eurofare (C&A, Zara, and H&M shops along the main street), with the odd exception of having more cutlery stores than most places - passed two WMF stores, and the only Zwilling J.A. Henckels store I've ever seen. Ah, these Germans and their love of good craftsmanship.
Incidentally, if a German train schedule says the train is leaving at 18:34, it will, without fail, be at the platform a few minutes prior to let people on, and leave on the dot at exactly 18:34. Very impressive.
Photos of Cologne