Köln (Cologne), once the capital of Germania, provided us with our final sights, sounds and smells of Deutschland.
Stepping into the freezing winter streets of Köln from the train station, all one has to do is gaze up to behold its heart and soul: the magnificent gothic Dom (cathedral), with its dual spires rising well above the city (approximately 157m) to the heavens above. The cathedral has an interesting history which dates to the middle of the twelfth century. The bones of the Three Magi were transfered from Milan to Cologne in 1164. These famous relics resulted in the Cologne Pilgrimage, which was one of the largest throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. It was decided that the city needed a new suitable structure to house these important relics and to welcome the faithful pilgrims, and hence the construction of the cathedral was begun under the direction of Archbishop von Hoschstaden. The construction began in 1248 and proceeded on and off for over 300 years until 1560, when construction was temporarily discontinued. Wilhelm IV laid a ground stone in 1842 to begin construction on the cathedral once again. The completion of the cathedral took less than 40 years with the final stone being placed in the south tower in 1880 under the gaze of Emperor Wilhelm I.
Our early morning visit to the cathedral revealed a very impressive inside
to match the gothic beauty of its facade. With thoughts of this
impressive structure, we boarded our train and bid auf wiedersehen
Some views from the famous Köln Dom (Cologne Cathedral), it looks pretty impressive on the inside too!
Some last views of Germany -- from our only trial of roasted chesnuts (which are ever-present throughout Europe) to final impressions of the German train system (the best for the price that I've seen anywhere so far... gotta love power outlets for blogging and televisions to keep you busy during the ride -- too bad I didn't have my Gameboy at the time!).