Saturday, 8 June 2013

08 June - attempting the tourist thing

After having seen the cathedral last night, we felt inspired to see more of the city today. I was especially excited because so far I haven't really been out of Dunnwald. We had a very vague plan, though we weren't too bent on sticking to it. Our aim was basically to see Koln as tourists and unashamedly take photos ;)

We started by figuring out how to buy me a day-ticket... we were very fortunate that the bus-driver and then a passenger helped us figure it out!! We stopped at the main station and bought bretzeln which we went to eat on the steps outside the cathedral. Delicious! (Mum, yours definitely are comparable!)

From there, we went into the cathedral and were amazed once again by the intricacy of everything. The ceilings are SO high, and wherever you look there is detail. At 12 o'clock they had prayer, which we stayed for... it was strange to find ourselves in the Koln Cathedral, all the way in Germany, listening to the organ play and echo through the building. Epic. We didn't understand too much, but contemplated the beauty of the building, how it cannot compare to heaven, how no matter how hard we try we can never do anything to get to heaven, because it's done for us.

Malcolm blending in with the wisemen :)
From the relative peacefulness of the cathedral, we headed out into the streets and wandered through all the shops... There were SO many, even a Lego shop which was really cool to look through :) The street we were in was called Schildergasse Strasse - the busiest in Europe! It really was bustling!

At the end of the road, in Neumarkt, we bought some lunch and headed back to the Rhein to eat it there. Along the way we walked on a road built back in Roman times that's been preserved :)

 It was a beautiful day and it was nice being out. After all the walking we thought it would be nice to go the the Rhein park and relax there, so we went to the U-Bahn and caught a tram in that direction.

We got out at Mullheim Weiner Platz and walked in the direction of the park. It was pretty run down and we realised that this certainly wasn't the tourist-y area... so we walked along the river until we found ourselves in an Industrial area... I just checked on Google Maps, and it turns out we only walked about 2km, but it was in the sun and it was hot! (Also, although it's pretty safe here, it still felt a little scary!)

great potential to renovate into a ballet studio :D

We found a grocery shop and bought warm cooldrink (Why don't they keep it in fridges here...?), and then asked a lady for help in finding any form of public transport. The lady was Nigerian and was happy to speak English to us, and walked us all the way to the UBahn because the directions would have been too complicated. She explained that the area was mostly inhabited by foreigners, particularly from Turkey. She'd been there for 8 years and could barely speak German - Malcolm is SO fortunate to have his language course paid for - it's so essential for integration, yet a luxury that so many can't afford.

So we eventually hopped on the Tram and headed home. We realised we needed milk and bread (seeing as no shops will be open tomorrow), so we stopped by at a shop. When we got out it was raining, so we walked most of the way home in the rain, which wasn't ideal, but refreshing none-the-less :)

Despite not having been to the Rhein Park, we discovered so much about the City and its people... the diversity is astonishing - walking down the road and there are Nuns, guys wearing "highway to hell" shirts, men in drag, punks, people with tattoos, people with dogs, little children, homeless people, foreign people...
It's a really fascinating city!!!

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