Visiting L 76 9
Cologne is right next to the area where I grew up as a child and teenager. Naturally I have been there quite often. This makes it again difficult to talk about the one thing that left an impression. Obviously for a “chocoholic” like me the Chocolate Museum is always a great place to go. The museums in general are great. Walking along the Rhine always has its charm.
Great childhood memories
The best memories regarding Cologne are still from my early childhood. Before the internet and private tv with constant advertisement were common, my dad used to take me to Cologne before Christmas to visit some toy stores. I don’t remember the toys as such, but the decorations and the lights, and the excitement.
My dad always invented stories for me. The last time we drove to Cologne around Christmas we continued a story together: a little fly going to the moon in the helmet of an astronaut. I should have recorded all those stories back then.
Ok, would be hard to have a post on Cologne without mentioning the cathedral. It is an impressive building. I had been there a lot of times. Still I need to admin that I didn’t pay close attention to some of its specialties.
I found out about the Shrine of the Three Kings when I read a murder mystery book. The central part in there was the theft of their bones. I was like, “is there really some kind of shrine of the Three Kings in the cathedral?” Yes, there is. A really big one. Very golden. Very hard to miss. Well, for me it was just some golden box because there is no information post next to it. So I never knew, what I was looking at. I also missed out on the fact that the whole cathedral had been built for those relicts. One of the problems if you live too close.
In a side room they had a small exhibition about Christian anti-Semitism. I know that it is not uncommon to find anti-Semitic figures, etc. in churches. But usually they are rather old. One of the very sad insights for me was that anti-Semitism made its way into the colorful windows of the Cologne Cathedral even after WWII. The so called Childrens Window depicts children in various situations and was finished in 1965. In one scenery the treason of Judas is shown. The men here are depicted in the way that Jews used to be depicted in Nazi propaganda. Right next to it is a picture of a mother who flees with her children from an air raid. Both combined lead to the narrative that the bombings of the war are the result of a Jewish treason. In the 1960s. In Germany.
Typically you don’t visit the cities next to you like you would do as a tourist. Most of the time you have a specific reason to go there. This time I went to Cologne just like a tourist and roamed around a lot more. This way I found some churches I haven’t been aware of before. Some just with their walls left, some with wonderful paintings.
Or you stumble upon the only remaining patrician’s house from the Romanesque period.
It was real fun to see the city with fresh eyes.