This is the approximate translation of a previous post: Catorce cosas curiosas que vi en Colonia, originally written in Spanish.
I passed by Cologne in April 2009. I came from Hannover, arriving in town one night in which I just could admire the enormity of its cathedral, which can be found next to the train station. I devoted the next day to go around the most typical places of the city. It was a hot, humid day that made me give up the idea of ascending up to the belfry of the cathedral tower. Luckily the following day (in which I had to go to Duesseldorf) showed up shiny and clear: clearly favourable to the expected ascension.
Köln, 13 April 2009. Armed with my camera I saw a series of funny things that I list in strictly chronological order:
One of the better-known words among those who don’t speak the German language. We can find it here, in a sign advising of the danger implicit to tramways. Certainly, tramways are more difficult to be seen -and therefore more dangerous- when one walks looking down. Thus its placement seems appropriate.
A bar named after a chess opening. It also has a grafitto representing a chess knight on its wall. Nothing special, but I need help to reach the magical number fourteen.
3. Fists-and-ear statue.
I simply cannot imagine what this statue is representing. It may be struggle as much as deafness or the idea that listening to others makes us stronger. None of the things that came to my mind seems to make total sense. There was litter inside the ear, butts mainly, but I do not thing it was an ashtray at all.
4. Ice-cream on the attic
A favourite of the tourist photos. I have one myself, I just don’t show it out of embarrasment. It is in Pisa-tower style, the ice-cream seems to have landed on my head.
5. The littel piece in front of the cathedral
The cathedral of Cologne is a spectacular monstrosity. Certainly it goes first on the list of things worth seeing in the city. It just does not fit in this list. We can make some room among the funny things for the piece in front of the Dom. It is said that the piece is identical to the one on top of each of the towers, 140 metres over the ground level. One can hardly imagine the effort to put it up there. Formidable, in every sense.
6. Pixelled stained-glass window.
Inside the cathedral this curious stained-glass window can be found. It looks like a tribute to the geek world. I’ve always been fascinated by the colours of stained-glass windows and this one is no exception in spite of its low definition.
7. The fish lantern
In the old town, die Altstadt (actually not so old as not much of the city survivied WWII) there is an area of narrow streets and restaurants. In one of them I found this lantern, with a whale as ornament.
8. Soccer latrine
This urinary was in an Italian restaurant’s gents’, goal included. There’s a pinkish football and even if I’m telling too much I muss confess that you can move the ball, but it is impossible to score.
9. Urban ground, Philarmonic ceiling.
The auditorium in which the Philarmonic plays is under ground, specifically under a square next to the railways and close to the cathedral. Apparently, people’s steps disturb the acustics, so whenever there is a concert or an audition, some gentlemen prevent pedestrians from stepping over the musicians.
10. Space invaders.
A friendly alien on a post beside the railways. It must be one of those guerrilla art stunts.
11. Love locks
This one is a meme which has been expanding lately. I think I read that the city of Florence is going to fine the dummies which make it look ugly with this junk. The happy couple places a lock with their names or initials in a public bridge and then they throw the key away or eat it or keep it until the point of oxidation. The iconic train bridge is the selected place in Cologne.
12. Building in inverted-L shape
Futuristic architecture has arrived everywhere, but buildings this size and kind are still curious to see. As I just watched them in the distance, I’m not sure whether their reason is to preserve the space on the ground or to provide it with shade and shelter against the rain.
Germans love antiques markets. Coins, stamps and old postcards can be traded in this Flohmarkt (literally “flea market”) and similar ones. Also some funnier items, such as this elephant. I can’t imagine its price or what it is good for.
14. Books as stairs
In an underground pass, advertising for a bookshop chain. The idea is that the stairs represent the book spines. A beautiful and funny metaphor, as each book is a new step in life.