Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Köln

I was sitting on a parapet by the fountain dipping my tired feet in the water and watching kids of all sizes splashing about and trying to beat the heat. That's when the pro-Israelis came on to the square waving their flags. In less than 2 minutes there were hundreds of them. They were soon followed by a small clutch of folks holding the Palestinian flags.

And then they started arguing with each other...They all looked like decent people but I swear there was a nervousness in the air. It prompted the "Ah Scheise" from the locals and "Jesus Christ! lets get outta here" from the American tourists. The square by the cathedral is anything but boring.
Don't miss these things if you ever happen to visit Cologne/Köln/Keulen.
- Visit the Dom. Its a cathedral whose hugeness can't be captured in a still photo. To give you an idea it has enough stained glass to cover a hectare. In the evening, watch the skaters, skate-boarders and stunt cyclists showing off just behind the cathedral.
- Taste the Kölsch (its a kind of beer) in any of the charming beer gardens in the Altstadt. Here's a tip; you should open your mouth only if you want to order something other than a kölsch.
- The bank of the Rhine is one 10,000-people-barbecue.

- (For reasons I hated doing this all by myself, but still...)Cross the rhine in the rope-car. If you are too much into morality don't look down.
- Take a boat trip on the Rhine.
- Shop at the Neumarkt. Don't forget to visit the 4711 address, where the famous Eau De Cologne was and is still being made. So far, I thought it was an exotic french perfume, but apparently they started making it to spray it around a very stinky cologne as it existed when Napoleon captured it.

Lastly, here's a statue that defies everything I think I know about harmony. A really grotesque nordic-looking caricature of David, with a vulgar pink body and bright yellow hair. I can't explain why it is there.

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