Thursday, January 28, 2010

Der Kölner Dom, Kölnisch Wasser, Karneval pt.1

[ The Cologne Cathedral, Eau de Cologne, Carneval pt.1 ]

Returning from Cologne and trudging my way back home from the mitfahrgelegenheit drop-off spot [ with Germany now having frigid below 0 Celsius temperatures ... I haven't checked what it is in Fahrenheit, but it is cold ], there was little time to really unwind before my very busy week ahead of me with papers, tests and other important things to take care of after missing a week of University. Even so, there were some excellent sights to see in Cologne and some great cultural points that sparked my enthusiasm about my experiences learning some more about Germany that have been crossing my mind this past week.

During the week-long CBYX midyear seminar, we had many speakers and presentations that introduced us into deeper topics of the German work world and political, education, and environmental policies. I was able to tour a few major headquarters in Cologne and Bonn and view another perspective at the institutions that make up modern German government and businesses.

Between our busy schedule of seminars, we had a few opportunities for some cultural excursions, including a tour through the very scenic city of Cologne. Cologne is part of the Bundesland Nord-Rhein Westfallen and that is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in all of Europe, with Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf and many other nearby cities that makes the western border of Germany a very exciting place to explore.

Cologne especially, has a beautiful riverside skyline that has one very distinct feature that I have learned is truly the center of pride for all citizens calling Cologne home - Der Kölner Dom - The Cologne Cathedral. This huge Cathedral, with two prominent spires is the largest completely Gothic cathedral in the World and the largest Cathedral in Germany. As I had mentioned from my first impression from Cologne, the Cathedral surprised me at first from an unsuspecting turn through the city. From that point on, the Dom seems to loom over every vantage point in the city and seems to be visible from just about everywhere.

I couldn't quite pick out my favorite side, since the Dom displays incredible intricacy on all of its surfaces, but one could definitely pause for quite a while to just stare at the great building. At one point in history, as we learned in the tour, the Dom was the largest man made structure in the world, and Cologne was also a very important center for Catholicism. The inside of the Dom was equally impressive with many sacristies as well as some of the Dom's most precious relics - including a golden vault that supposedly contains the skulls of the three wise men.

One of the most interesting details of the Dom was the newest stained glass window that was added later following damages after the war. The very modern "pixilated" stained glass window may seem like an unsuitable art piece for a Cathedral, but on a sunny day [ one that I had to venture later in the week for - they are kind of rare in a German winter ] the vibrant squares splash the grey walls of the Cathedral with incredible paintbrush-strokes of light that is something that must be seen in person.

As our tour continued, we were informed that we would learn two more very important things about Cologne - about Carneval, and... he let us guess.

Someone asked if it was Kölsch... the local brew of Cologne beer served in famous flouted glasses...

No - maybe Eau de Cologne rings a bell...

1 comment:

  1. オーイ!クリス君!!がんばっていますね。クリスのブログは毎週読んでますよ。ドイツでも色んな体験して、色んな所に行って、楽しそうですね。何よりもいい勉強になります。すばらしい体験できて良かったね。もう半年も過ぎようとしています。寒さに負けず、体に気をつけてね。ミシガンも寒いですよ。おもちを送ってあげたいです!