So we packed our stuff and get ready for 3 hour driving journey from Noordwijk to Cologne. As soon as the car hitting Germany's border, the "AutoBahn" (motorway) changes it moods. You can see the road is dominated with Audis and BMW, but despite only 2 lane motorway the traffic move real quick! It's about 90 miles/hour on the faster lane and 70 miles/hour on the slower lane, probably it is true that AutoBahn knows no speed limit! Thank goodness we had a Mercedez given by the rental agency, that's indeed helpful!
After a long 3 hour drive here we are in Cologne, standing reight outside the railway station adoring the most beautiful Cathedral and most intricated we'd ever seen.
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC!!!
Cologne lies on the River Rhine. The city's famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln) is one of Europe's oldest universities.
Although I must admit, I am a little disappointed with the inner court thereof. It's too usual, just like many other cathedral, only the space is much more spacious and... loads more touristy.
And pretty dark in here, with no tripod, there is little I can do.
I heard that all this beautiful stain glasses were removed during the world war to avoid it getting broken. And put it back afterwards. The cathedral suffered seventy hits by aerial bombs during World War II. It did not collapse, but stood tall in an otherwise flattened city. The great twin spires are said to have been used as an easily-recognizable navigational landmark by Allied aircraft raiding deeper into Germany in the later years of the war, which may be another reason the cathedral was not destroyed.
But nevermind, I didn't come for those. In fact, what I craved to see only come after 9.30 pm when the city on the brink of going to sleep.
But before that, we had to cross the 1km long bridge, and all the way this is what we've seen.
That's loads of lock! But it is no usual lock. If you see it closer, notice this...
Yes, all of them are wed-lock, literally! I didn't know it is consider a romantic thing to hang a lock outside a railway station?
Ok, back to the cathedral picture. Construction of Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 and took, with interruptions, until 1880 to complete. It is 144.5 metres long, 86.5 m wide and its towers are approximately 157 m tall!
The cathedral is one of the world's largest churches and the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. For four years, 1880-84, it was the tallest structure in the world, until the completion of the Washington Monument. It has the second-tallest church spires, only surpassed by the single spire of Ulm Minster, completed 10 years later in 1890. Because of its enormous twin spires, it also presents the largest façade of any church in the world. The choir of the cathedral, measured between the piers, also holds the distinction of having the largest height to width ratio of any Medieval church, 3.6:1, exceeding even Beauvais Cathedral which has a slightly higher vault.
So, lets see how does this landmark looks like at night shall we?
I mean, how can you... not loving this view, the colour, the scale, it's magnificent!
In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. In 2004 it was placed on the "World Heritage in Danger" list due to plans to construct a high-rise building nearby which would have visually impacted the site, as the only Western site in danger. The cathedral was removed from the List of In Danger Sites in 2006, following the authorities' decision to limit the heights of buildings constructed near and around the cathedral.
As a World Heritage Site, and with its convenient position on tourist routes, Cologne Cathedral is a major tourist attraction, the visitors including many who travel there as a Christian pilgrimage.
Visitors can climb 509 steps of the spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 98 metres above the ground. Unfortunately I did not fancy doing that!
Stay : 1 night
Where : Hotel Muller (http://www.hotel-mueller-koeln.de/)