As hard as I try, it seems impossible to avoid this heat. Of course I am not alone seeing as most of Europe continues to be barbecued by the current blast from Africa. We had to go to Cologne by train the other day, and thankfully the air-conditioning was working 100%. The trouble was leaving the train and then having to walk in the city, trying without any success to avoid the sun. 37c made it all a real effort, but my hosts were insistant that we got off the train one stop early to take in the fine views of Cologne Cathedral from the other side of the River Rhine.
Even though it can be seen from almost every point in the city centre, this was the best vantage point. On the right is the Hohenzollern Bridge and was one of the most important bridges in Germany. Even under constant daily attacks in World War II, it avoided being badly damaged but in 1945 German military engineers blew it up as the Allied troops made their assault on the city.
Walking across the bridge it is impossible to miss the ‘love locks’ which adorn the railings. As proof of their love, couples fix padlocks to the railings of the bridge; to ensure everlasting love, they then throw the key into the Rhine below. I wonder how many have found eternal love!
I can tell you that the heat was reflecting off the bridge and all that metal hanging on the railings seemed to intensify it! But on we continued…
The truly magnificent and vast interior was a very welcome moment of cool relief, but unfortunately, as so often happens with famous cathedrals, the crowds push and jostle to see everything, they become ‘must sees’ and are more like going to a museum than a church. ‘Selfies’ are snapped with almost nobody actually looking at the buildings fine and graceful columns which give the interior a feeling of weightlessness, nor the beautiful stained glass windows. Admittedly I was also one of those snapping pictures, but I like to think that I did stop to admire the fine craftmanship. This enormous space has room for more than 20,000 people but I doubt if they ever see a congregation of that size.
These people had the best idea…cooling their feet in the fountains outside the cathedral
As we hit over 40c we headed inside again, but this time it was to the Musical Dome. I don’t think I have ever felt in need of air-conditioning so much. We had several hours to luxuriate and relax in the fresh cool air and to enjoy a truly fabulous performance of the original classic by Leonard Bernstein (and in English too).
Sadly it seemed even hotter when we left but at least they were not insistent on crossing the bridge again! The station was withing spitting distance of the Dome and yet again, air-con awaited us with open arms.