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Germany - 2005


Germany 2005 was a one week trip to the Cologne area. After our visit in 2004 we decided that we knew little or nothing about that area and decided that we would also, once again, look up our friends but this time concentrate on the Cologne and Rhine area, flying to Cologne rather than Dusseldorf.

We obtained flights from Gatwick, by EasyJet at a good price and were surprised how efficient the EasyJet operation made the journey. Both Gatwick and Cologne airports were speedier and simpler than Heathrow and Dusseldorf, so we were off to a good start.

Cologne Cathedral
Old Town Cologne

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Old Town

Cologne seemed more like a large town than a city. The consequences of the devastation of the last war were still all too apparent in many areas of the city, where incongruous buildings from the 50s and 60s were immediately beside older buildings. This was especially noticeable around the cathedral and down to the riverfront, where only small parts of the "old town" can be seen.

This must have been a really beautiful city in the 1930s, but so little of this beauty still remains. It was clearly explained to us that immediately post war, the priority was to house the population and not to indulge in architectural niceties - this was quite thought evoking. It was also thought provoking - a recent historical lesson of what can happen when politicians are looking to their own benefit, "normality" is marginalised, rationality and sanity are set aside and the thoughts and actions of a population are suppressed to the point where no effective opposition can exist.

Nevertheless some fine sights do exist, both old and new. The restored St Martin's church, near the cathedral is a stunning example of restoration in an area where approximately 95% of buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed. There are many good restaurants and bars in the area, in addition to the faster food type outlets. Visiting a couple of bierkellers reminded us of both the similarities and differences in the way of life in Germany and the UK.

We enjoyed Cologne, its shops, its people, its bars and restaurants.

A Strret in Linz
The Rhine near Remagen

Linz am Rhine

The Rhine near Remagen

We decided to take a trip on the Rhine from Cologne upstream to the city of Linz am Rhein. The riverboat was of a reasonable standard and the trip of approx. 30 miles was achieved in comfort, although the catering facilities were probably well below what was required for this length of journey.

The views from the boat were interesting with the river passing through relatively built up areas as far as Bonn and then through more open countryside with hills, woods and interesting buildings, via Remagen (site of the, then intact, bridge used for the Rhine Crossing by the allies in 1945, The Ludendorff Bridge). All that remains of this "Bridge at Remagen" which collapsed 10 days after its capture, are two columns on the bank.

Linz is a beautiful small city with many picturesque half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. As a tourist destination there are many people wandering its streets and prices are certainly aimed at these tourists. Nevertheless this doesn't detract from its appeal and, for us, it was a worthwhile visit.

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