The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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2:52pm on Friday, 9th October, 2015:
As I had another day in Cologne, I have some more observations for you.
No-one needs a selfie-stick two metres long.
I found the entrance to the tower in the Cathedral. It's down some steps outside the cathedral entrance. Yes, they make you walk down steps before you get to walk up them. This makes the climb to the viewing platform just over a hundred metres, whereas it would be just under if they counted from ground level. It's 533 steps in total. Having done it, I can now say that I'm unlikely to die of a heart attack in the coming year, because if I had one coming it would have hit me about step number 450. Either that, or it woud have got me at the top when the fire alarm went off.
Everything in Germany runs very smoothly unless random factors are introduced. Then, panic sets in. Everyday British behaviour is, by German standards, random.
"Would you like a bag?"
"No thank you."
(Eyes widen) "You ... don't want a bag?"
Fortunately this is seen as an endearing affectation, so Anglo-German relations haven't suffered as a result of my visit.
After discovering that you can walk off a pain in the calf but not a blister on the heel, I decided to take a boat trip on the Rhine. However, the weather was miserable and no-one else was buying boat trip tickets, so instead I took the little tourist train that trundles around the city streets causing havoc at roadworks. It took me to the Chocolate Museum. I wasn't expecting this, but because Fate was clearly trying to tell me something I did decide to invest €25 in the local produce.
The tourist train only pointed out three categories of buildings: churches, breweries and museums. Most of the museums were no such thing, they were simply shops that sold what they said they were a museum of.
On the way to the hotel where I was staying, I walked past three model shops. They sold train sets, model plane kits, quadricopters, things like that. They were within 50 metres of each other. Also within 50 metres of each other and of the model shops were three erotica shops. I don't know why these two kinds of shops were in such close proximity; there must be some kind of synergy between them.
Academics who study the male gaze would have a field day in Cologne. The women dress how they please, which in general is the same as they would if they were 18. This means that if you see a woman from behind, she could be any age from 18 to 60 — you can't tell. I suspect that this could lead to disturbing results for young Germans who wish to ogle potential mates but might instead find themselves ogling potential mates' grandmothers.
I saw no charity shops anywhere in Cologne. All the shops were occupied. It's a thriving economy they have going on there.
At the airport, a man had a hand-held vacuum cleaner in his hand luggage, which he took out to vacuum his jacket. That's not something you see every day.
Germany: where all roads lead to Ausgang.
Cologne/Bonn International Airport to Stansted Airport: 50 minutes. Stansted Airport to the other side of Passport Control at Stansted Airport: 45 minutes.
And that was my trip to Cologne.
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