blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Koeln am Rhein

All the following pictures were taken today (Monday, May 14th):

Here is Chris with his colleague, Yi. We'd walked from the hotel along the east bank of the Rhein to the cathedral (Dom), without encountering any traffic beyond bikes, once we'd crossed the main river road. The building below the cathedral is a museum. All architecture in this area is either modern or reconstructed in amedieval style. Koeln was flattened by bombs at the end of the 2nd world war; the cathedral alone was spared. It had taken some 15 centuries to build it and the famous spires that make it the second highest church in Europe (Ulm is the highest) were a 19th century addition.

Next to the cathedral is the railway station, a wonderful conjunction, because travellers emerging at the end of their journey, as we did on Sunday, walk out to a breathtaking view. This is the sort of high speed train we arrived on from Frankfurt airport, less than an hour away by this means of transport:

Inside the Dom is a huge statue of St. Christopher (Chris' namesake) carrying the Christ child across a mythical torrent. It's mentioned in the poem by Heinrich Heine, famously set to music by Schumann at the end of the Dichterliebe song cycle that my husband sings.
Und holt mir auch zwölf Riesen,
die müssen noch stärker sein
als wie der
starke Christoph
im Dom zu Köln am Rhein.
Another artwork in the cathedral, a painting that shows the Virgin Mary (this one, I think) is mentioned in another of those Schumann songs.

After our visit to the Dom, Chris went back to the hotel and thence to Eindhoven in the Netherlands for a business meeting, and Yi, who was free till later in the day, came to the Zoo with me, where we saw a bear who reminded me of someone I know well.

Other animals and birds in the zoo ...

At the Zoo station, on the other side of the platform, is the entrance to Koeln's Seilbahn across the Rhein. Yi and I took a ride on it, which gave us some fantastic views of the river and the city.

This is the park on the west bank where we walked after getting out of our cable car.

The banks of the Rhein were liberally decorated with flowers. Yi said I matched these:

When Yi had joined the other colleagues and gone to work with them, I had the rest of the afternoon to myself, which I spent wandering around the "Neu-Altstadt" in the network of streets behind our hotel, a most attractive area:

One of the churches in this district is St. Gregory's, with a 17th century graveyard for the "destitute" of those days, and an appropriate relief on the church wall.

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