This is Heinz Reist! I would like to report from a recent interesting trip to Köln (Cologne) in Germany! Georg was so kind as to bring me along with him in a German car - very cool!
We crossed the Alps which, frankly speaking, from my perspective I found a bit high. The weather was not so perfect and these dark masses intimidated me a bit...
After many kilometres (it’s 800 km from Ispra to Köln) on the famous German Autobahn, we crossed the Mosel river - a big tributary of the Rhine, and a famous wine region!
Over the next two weeks, I could explore Köln a bit. Most outstanding, of course, is the Dom (The Cathedral) a gigantic gothic church with two spires. Building work began in 1248 and it took almost 700 years for it to be completed!
At 157 m in height (i.e. approximately 800 times my height), it is the second highest church in Europe and the third highest in the world. Apparently it is also the most visited tourist attraction in Germany, at least according to Wikipedia!
Plenty of small towers, adornments and statues have to be continuously repaired and substituted, as weather and city air are eroding them. Therefore there are always cranes and scaffolding around it.
During World War II, when Köln was completely destroyed, only the Dom remained standing in the middle of all the rubble - quite a miracle.
Inside the Dom is the Shrine of the Three Kings. Besides being an impressive artifact, I mention it because there is a connection with Milan: The supposed relics of the Three Kings were brought to Köln from Milan in 1164, but in 1903 some of them were returned to the Sant’Eustorgio church in Milan, so now both cities have a part of them...
Köln is a nice city founded in the 1st century AD by the Romans and built on the remains of ruins from 2000 years ago (visit some museums!).
It is very lively with some bustling nightlife in areas such as Südstadt, Altstadt and there are many nice places to discover. A city of music and art (check out the photographer Chargesheimer, an interesting guy)!
The Rhine river flows directly through the city. It is a massive river, almost 500 m wide around Köln, flowing from the Alps to the North Sea. It gives Köln a lot of character and nice places to walk and look around!
Talking about water: the beer from Köln is famous. There are many traditional breweries (e.g. Früh, Mühlen Kölsch, Gaffel, Sion, etc...) with their bars in the centre of Köln! You should have a look and a drink!
They drink it from small glasses, well not that small compared to me, and the good thing is that the waiters are very attentive: when your glass is empty, they automatically bring you a fresh beer, until you say stop.....
In the most classical breweries they just have a barrel, tap and hammer... that's all they need!
On my return to Italy I actually brought one back with me...
It was very funny to meet some relatives in Köln! They are called Heinzelmännchen, apparently very nice gnome-type beings! They used to secretly do a lot of work for everyone, until a curious person ruined it... All that remains in memory of them is a fountain in front of the Früh bar at the Dom.
I liked Köln a lot, but there is still plenty to explore and I think that you would enjoy it too. Should you have any questions about Köln and its surrounding areas, please ask me!
Meanwhile I am already off on another trip...
P.S. Many thanks to Wikipedia for providing some info that even I did not know!
Foto 1: ©Evi Rauscher, Foto 2-9: ©Heinz Reist