We assembled at Cologne Hbf for the journey to Brussels. The train reached speeds of 125 mph in places. In three days the image of the railway station would be on every news programme across the globe after sexual assaults by groups of 'migrant' men on women at the station on New Year's Day. Angela Merkel's open door policy towards refugees ran into a brick wall from which it seems not to have recovered seven weeks later.
Tuesday, 29 December 2015
Cologne in 1945 and today. There is an equestrian statue at each of the four corners of the bridge, and the cathedral is no longer the sooty black edifice I remember from 1965. The fence between the footbridge and the railway is completely covered with love-padlocks. The cylindrical building opposite is part of the Hyatt hotel.
Our stay in Nuremberg was too short, so we were unable to visit the Transport Museum (top). Pic 2 is the view from our hotel room. Pic 3 is on the Rhine, and Pic 4 is Cologne Hauptbahnhof, with (left to right) an InterCity Express, a Long Distance express for Wuppertal and a Regio double-decker local train.
Monday, 28 December 2015
I had expected the Palace of Justice to be in the city centre, but in fact it was nearly a mile away. The building was a prison from 1920, and in the dark it looked quite forbidding - Court Room 600, where the famous trials took place, is still used as a court. Two photos from late 1945 show the East Wing as it was, and the one between them as it is now. It was chosen as the site of the trials because the Nazis' laws on Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and the handicapped were promulgated here in the late 1930s.
The opera house looks like a church, but what else would one expect? Wagner had no connections with the city other than his opera 'The Mastersingers of Nuremberg', but he gets a bust. The shop opposite the opera house is called Dirndl und Tracht, and sells the dirndl dresses and Bavarian costume.
The old town is hilly and on the top there is a roofed ramparts with watchtowers, most of it rebuilt, presumably, after the heavy air raid of 2nd January 1945. The steep roofs allow snow to slide off rather than build up, and the little attic windows seem to be a local feature, being mocked in the new building in the bottom picture?
The Church of Our Lady looks like some of the more rococo of the southern Bavarian Catholic churches, but the interior was more austere, with stone instead of painted stucco. The worship of the Christ-child was ornate, and the pine-cased organ resembles an angel (or Batman, depending on your taste).
Sunday, 27 December 2015
The area around the Hofburg, seat of the Hapsburg dynasty for several hundred years, was quite dimly lit. The ring where the fiacres park for customers was wet, though it was not raining, so I expect it was regularly washed-down. The driver in Pic 5 is taking a photo for his customers in the carriage. At the cathedral the mist was already beginning to form (it was 6pm) and it was the coldest evening we'd experienced, so we headed back to the hotel, as we had an early departure for Nuremberg the next morning.