Wednesday, 7 January 2009


Very few images from Cologne, not the most visually appealing city to look at or walk around, it is sliced in half by the Rhine which funnels bitterly cold winds along the path beside it.
We were here for just a couple of days, I would have loved to have stood at one of the many stands at the Christmas markets stuffing my face with sausages, swilled down with mulled wine but have Muslim eat no pork.... Most people associate Cologne with the amazing Christmas markets and having been they are everywhere and an incredible site, they look better at night but by then the crowds have arrived and the slow shutter speed generally resulted in a rather blurred mess. I could have spent a fortune on one of the jewellery stalls as well as hats, scarves etc etc etc
This was taken inside the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum It has a lovely interior but it was sadly too expensive to go and look at the paintings. It is always a shock when I am abroad to find out that have to pay to see an exhibition most of the galleries in London are free to visit apart from the small special exhibitions. I guess we are spoilt, but it makes for a far more inclusive society and I am always struck by how empty the art galleries are abroad compared to the hoards that visit the ones in London.
Towards the north of the city is a small enclave of wonderful smaller private galleries which were brilliant as well as one of the best art bookshops I have ever been in.

Cologne is full of rebuilt Byzantine churches. The cathedral dominates the city (sorry it was just too hideously Gothic to take any photographs of) and was only allowed to remain relatively unscathed because it gave the British bombers a landmark, the rest were all destroyed. it was very sobering to see photographs taken just after the war, the whole city appears flattened, It is hard to believe it was possible to rebuild it but they did.

We sadly do not appear to have learnt any lessons from that war or any other, as the news shows history repeating itself over and over again.

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