The recent trend for fixing padlocks to bridges or ‘love padlocks’ has clearly spread and looking out of the window at the Hohenzollern Railway Bridge I can see the walkway railings glittering with thousands upon thousands of them. I’m certain that the last time we stayed at the Hyatt in Cologne (in 2005) they weren’t there. It’s a craze which has it’s roots in Italy in the early 2000’s and quickly spread to Paris and now it seems they’re everywhere.
From my hotel room window, it’s not difficult to understand that 1200 trains pass across the bridge daily and it is regarded as an important part of Cologne as it connects Cologne’s central station with major European cities on the other side of the Rhine. The most notable landmark in the city however is the cathedral or Dom. Conceived in the year 1248 it was only finally completed in 1880. Wartime Koln suffered huge damage and the cathedral, used by allied bombers as a landmark for other bombing runs, was hit seventy times yet remained standing. A testament to its construction. One of the main areas of damage was the South window which was only replaced in 2007 with a unique design by German artist Gerhard Richter. 11,500 identically sized pieces of colored glass resembling pixels, randomly arranged by computer, create a colorful “carpet”. Since the loss of the original window in World War II, the space had been temporarily filled with plain glass. The archbishop of the cathedral, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, who had preferred a figurative depiction of 20th-century Catholic martyrs for the window, did not attend the unveiling. He sounds like a proper spoilsport, I can testify the window is quite beautiful.
The weather in Cologne for our day off was quite balmy and Jim, Richard and I went for an afternoon stroll across the bridge and into the old part of the town via the main shopping street dotted with with typical donut and sugar coated bread confectionary stalls. Street artists on every corner and a million tourists. It wasn’t long before we found the area of the Kolsch! Kolsch beer is the local speciality beer brewed only in Cologne, a direct rival to the nearby Altbier from Dusseldorf. They are actually very similar although each town rates its own the higher of course. we couldn’t care less and soon found a typical cafe and sat and enjoyed a couple, washed down of course with a sausage or two of some description. By the time we waddled back to the hotel it was nearly time for the drinks get-together with the crew. They are staying in the same hotel so an inevitable ‘session’ was on the cards. It turned out to be quite a session for some, no real casualties though, just a load of laughs…it’s a big happy family.
Ianto with Glenn and the keyboard department, myself, Jules (our tech) and Jim.
Show day, and I was destined for the gym. That done and breakfast devoured, I headed across into town once again for a bit of shopping for new SD card as I’ve filled the one in my Canon 500D. That done, I was back at the hotel for the 4:30pm departure to the venue. The huge, newly renamed Lanxess arena is a venue we’ve loved before. The gig was sold out…12,000. Happy days.
Soundcheck was pretty long and it is great to have Nigel back on board for the next five shows. The show itself was fantastic, as it always is here in Cologne. An incredible reception. We were soon back at the hotel enjoying Marek’s (promoter) company with a quiet drinks and some delicious, slightly unnecessary food, but hey…why not?