Hello from rainy Amsterdam!
Taking a trip back in time a few days I wanted to share some snaps from my day trip from Düsseldorf to Cologne, Germany. I was at lunch in Düsseldorf and thinking about my plans for later in the day. A quick Google search later for “day trips from Düsseldorf” and I was on the way to the central train station to nab a ticket to Cologne.
Cologne is only 44km south along the Rhine River and even faster when you take one of the German express trains. These trains called ICE (Inter City Express) jet you across the gorgeous countryside in relaltive luxury. Private compartments, first & second class options, dining cars, delivered espresso. I was loving it. Too bad it’s only a 20 minute route. We were arriving as soon as I started to get cozy in my private compartment,
So why take the trip? Well, cologne (German: Köln) is the largest city in the Westphalia region and known as one of the most liberal cities in Germany. Given more time, I would have dedicated at least 2 nights here. Alas, I had to settle on a day visit. I also have a thing for UNESCO Heritage Sites so knowing they had one of Europe’s finest, I had to visit.
So, this UNESCO thing? What is it?
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization “is a specialized agency of the United Nations, whose mission is to contribute to peace-building, poverty eradication, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, science, culture and communication. They engage in many activities, but my focus is visintg their World Hertiage sites which are properties with “outstanding universal natural and / or cultural value.”
The Cologne Cathedral, known locally as the Döm, is one of these culturally significant landmarks. It is the largest cathedral in Germany and one of the largest in Europe. It was built over 600 years starting in the 1200’s and finally finishing in 1880. At capacity, it is known to hold up to 40,000 people. That’s the same or more than most MLB stadiums.
The main facade from the plaza. Look how small people are…
Hard to get a good angle given the sheer size and late afternoon sun.
Slightly easier lighting inside
These ceilings are massive.
The requisite selfie.
The Dom is in incredible shape given it started construction almost 1,000 years ago. There have been extensive repairs after damage in WWII. Below, a US soldier and destroyed tank in what is now the main plaza.
“Warning sign in cologne” – wikipedia
Proof that an impromptu day trip can lead to unexpected treasures.
Besides the Dom, Cologne is a metropolitan city of about 1m people and known for good food, cheese, wine, and nightlife. I wasn’t able to stay long to experience all of this, but it will remain on my list of places to see again.
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