My trip to the city on the Rhine was spent mostly visiting a friend, an ex-pat who has now made this place his home. It was a great visit, and he and his partner have a great apartment that sits right on the famous river. My time there was spent meeting their friends, going for coffee and drinking Kolsch, the locally brewed beer.
The flight to Cologne was pretty bumpy and looking out the window I noticed snow covered most of the landscape. This made me very happy; as it doesn’t snow in Southern California, well, not in the part I live anyway. And playing in the snow sounded fun.
But just as we were descending, the ground turned winter brown and the snow disappeared. I later learned that because the river runs along the city, the temperature is a little warmer than other parts of the country. A little warmer meant a couple of degrees Celsius. But enough to make snowfall an event that occurs only a couple of times throughout the winter.
Well, weren’t my friends surprised when, on my second day there, it snowed. And not just a little snow, but consistent big flakes of snow. I was in heaven; I ran outside (much to the chagrin of my friends) and played in it. I made a few snowballs but was left throwing them at street signs and such as I was warned that any attempted snowball fight would be met with disfavor.
The city is beautiful, the people nice and the cathedral in the city center is spectacular. It reminds me of the cathedral at the hilltop castle at Prague. Somehow this one is even more impressive though, I think because it sits in the center of town. I couldn’t help but be moved by the sheer grandeur of it.
Much of Germany suffered the effects of the Second World War, and Cologne is no different. You can see the devastation in this photo featuring the 82nd Airborne’s Cpl. Luther E. Boger, of Concord, N.C. The cathedral, thankfully, was one of the buildings that managed to escape destruction.
My trip to Cologne capped my Le Petit Tour of Europe. But it was a perfect ending to a fun vacation. I met a lot of my friends’ friends and am eager to return.
My flight back to California was via Heathrow. And, once again, lovely United Airlines didn’t have an upgrade for me. So the eleven-hour flight was spent leaning against a window catching some z’s. It could have been worse I’m sure.
Once I was back in the states, I was upgraded for the one-hour flight from San Francisco to my home in So Cal. Ahh, lovely, lovely United Airlines. Heck, I guess one upgrade is better than no upgrade.