I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I last posted something here. It’s not that I haven’t been travelling (well, I haven’t been on any long-distance trips but I have been going in and around Wellington), it’s just that I’ve been crazy busy! So many things have happened in the last 3 months – but I won’t be going into those bits – it’s just been crazy. Happy crazy – but crazy just the same. 🙂
Anyway – sometime in October, the whole clan flew down to the South Island for a much needed holiday. It was originally meant to be a week-long get-away to celebrate my mum’s 65th birthday, and for all of us to be able to put our feet up and just enjoy the beauty that is distinctly The South Island.
I’m about head off to the Hauptbahnhof to board the train that would take me to my next destination. I have mixed feelings about leaving Cologne – somehow, I feel like I’m leaving an old friend behind. It’s hard to explain – maybe because Cologne and I have some sort of history which is why, unlike when I left the other places I went to recently, I now feel that “parting is such sweet sorrow”.
Cologne will always have a special place in my heart because it is the very first European city I have ever had the privilege of visiting. I first set foot on Cologne way back in 2004 (for work) and, if I’m not mistaken, I went back the following year (still for work). Even though I’ve been here twice, I never really had the chance to explore the city because I would be attending to my responsibilities. I saw the Koelner Dom but, with it towering over everything, you’d have to be blind to miss it. I’ve always wanted to come back here and now, after almost a decade, I’ve finally returned.
There’s so much more to Cologne than the massive Gothic Cathedral. I only found out during this brief pit stop that the city was built over ancient Roman ruins, and these have been discovered quite serendipitously. For example, while digging away to build a new carpark, they accidentally discover walls of ancient roman villas, roman roads, mosaic floors … it’s just amazing what this city is hiding beneath its folds. I never knew that there’s so much more to see, apart from the painfully obvious.
Anyhu … here are some of the secrets Cologne shared with me in the last 3 days:
Statue of a farmer from Cologne
Roman Ruins (next to the town hall)
a church that was destroyed during WW2, left as it was and now serves as a war memorial
Entrance Gate to the city
Guard post on a part of the city’s “ancient wall”
Inside the Koelner Dom
Mosaic Floor inside the Dom
Another Ancient Roman artefact (displayed in a museum)
Behind the glass, mosaic floor of an ancient roman villa, found to be almost intact.
The most iconic symbols of the city, yes?
I saw a bit more though – a friend drove me to Zons and Solingen on my 2nd day, and I think I have a few more pictures of the inside of the Cathedral (I can spend a whole week inside that church and never tire of admiring it). I’ll share those on another day. Right now, I need to wrap things up because I will be leaving for the Bahnhof in a few minutes.
I guess — I feel sad because I missed out on all these gems 10 years ago – but glad, nonetheless, to have been blessed with the opportunity to witness all these now.