Exploring a damp Cologne

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August 14th 2011
Published: August 16th 2011
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The sun came out tonight as we left Cologne after an interesting explore of some of the sights the city has to offer. The day didn’t start this way. We woke to the sound of cars driving along wet roads and it stayed like that until we were ready to walk to the local railway station. We had a lucky break as we headed for the train only to get the heaviest downpour of the day just as we were approaching the station.
The city of Cologne was looking damp and not at its best but the wet weather certainly didn’t discourage the locals and tourists from enjoying a day out in the city. With a break in the weather we wandered over the railway bridge that crosses the Rhine. Along the entire length of the bridge’s guard rail were padlocks engraved with names and dates. This appears to be a European tradition as we have seen it several times on this trip. In New Zealand shoes are attached to farmers’ fences. People walking the bridge were entertained by groups enjoying special bonding moments, perhaps pre-nuptial rites. The Rhine demonstrated one of its uses with large barges moving cargo along its course.
Dodging rain showers we wandered the streets and visited two museums. One museum had exhibits of European Arts and Crafts and the other was a municipal museum that depicted the history of the city. Both covered the period from the Middle Ages through to the present day.
As we walked the city we came across brass plaques in the pavement. After making enquiries we were told they were to remind the present-day population that in May 1940 these were the pathways to the station taken by those being deported to the camps in Poland. Along one of these pathways is a small brass plaque remembering the name of a resident who was deported to somewhere in Poland, possibly Lodz.
One thing we noticed was the lack of old buildings in the city and after seeing a 1945 photo of the city we now know why. As a result of heavy bombing during WWII not many buildings were left standing. How the cathedral survived with seemingly only moderate damage is a miracle.
As we prepared to leave the city the sun came out. What a difference that blue sky made. As we prepare for our drive back into France tomorrow we hope the sun will be with us once again.

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8th April 2013

City Breaks to Cologne
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