Day 18 – Koblenz to KÖLN (Cologne) by train

We are very thankful that we can take our bicycles on the trains here!   The temperature this morning is a very damp 2C….went for a ‘before breakfast walk’ and was wearing many layers!  The good thing about that is the panniers are half empty!  The National Hotel where we are staying has to be the quietest hotel room of all time, very clean, good breakfast and about a 5 minute walk to the train station.

Last night we discovered 2 more very interesting fountains….

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Schangelbrunnen is a spitting boy statue located in the courtyard near the Rathaus(city hall). It is a must-see statue when one visits Koblenz as it is a very historical and well-known statue in this city and is a stop on every guided tour. Watch out for the wet spot on the ground and avoid standing there when admiring the statue because every now and then just when you least expect it, “little John” will spit and the unsuspecting admirers will get soaking wet!  Lucky for me I was wearing my raincoat!

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Dr. Fish on skis?
Dr. Fish on skis?

The train ride to Köln was a comfortable, warm, dry 90 minute ride along the Rhine.  We stepped out of the train station into the cold wet drizzle, a fantastic sight of the Cathedral which is right beside the train station and wheeled our bikes the few blocks to our hotel, locked them in the basement and settled into our new room.  Top floor with a balcony and view of the spires of the Dom as the Cathedral is called here.  After a snack and warm up we headed out for a closer look at this magnificent structure….

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Construction of Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880. It is 144.5 metres (474 ft) long, 86.25 m (283.0 ft) wide and its towers are approximately 157 m (515 ft) tall.[3] The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires (after Ulm Minster.) Its two huge spires give it the largest façade of any church in the world. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any medieval church.  Cologne’s medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as “a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value” and “a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe”. (Wikipedia)

The interior is fantastical (is that a word?)… One could spend days ( maybe weeks!) studying the stained glass, each window telling its own story, the mosaic floor, ditto, all the side altars, statues, crypts, the paintings, the murals, the wood carvings, the statues….it is totally mesmerizing!  It is definitely up there among the great cathedrals/basilicas like St. Peter’s in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris and the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul!  (Oh yes, and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, although it is not actually finished yet!)  I feel extremely fortunate to have seen these great and wonderful masterpieces of art and architecture!

Walking in the rain tonight we wandered over to the Cathedral…all lit up!  Gorgeous!  Then we discovered it was still open to the public!  Went in for another look around…there were only a few people around…soooo cool to have the place to ourselves!

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