Posts tagged ‘Köln’
I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m apoplectic with rage if a person answers “Oktoberfest” as their first and only thought when asked what they think about Germany.
There’s nothing wrong with the raging keggers and oom-pa-pa at Oktoberfest or the beautiful city that is München. But there’s a lot more to Germany than Oktoberfest. Besides, there’s always the months-long Karneval on the Rhein …
As I’m very fond of the country and its people, I can be defensive when it comes to my “alternate” home that is the Deutschland. Yes, the people can be a little ornery, but break past their gruff orderly fastidious exteriors, and they are a lovely warm and generous people.
Sounds a lot like you and me, doesn’t it?
To encourage a different (and hopefully favourable) set of views about other parts of the country, here are five favourites while I’m in the big D:
I’m in Berlin to catch sunset’s silhouettes on Strasse des 17. Juni.
In Berlin, a ride on the upper-deck of either the 100 or 200 city-bus from Zoologischer Bahnhof will take passengers through many of the sightseeing and talking points of the German capital. As far as the Tiergarten park is concerned, many visitors will visit the Zoo, Brandenburg Gate, and the Siegessäule (Victory Column). Some time to see the Gate and Column illuminated at night are also worthwhile, but I like my silhouettes, too.
I’m in Hamburg to check what’s on store in the Speicherstadt.
Sitting adjacent to the river Elbe, Hamburg is a port-city with historical links to the Hanseatic shipping league. The Speicherstadt (Warehouse District) consists of 19th- and 20th-century brick warehouses, like proud markers of an island oasis on the river. If you’re interested in spices, the Spice Museum is where you can learn about how spices arrived and were traded within Europe. Today, harbour activities take place across the river on the southern banks of the Elbe in the Hafenstadt.
I’m in Köln for my favourite Turkish food.
An important thing I’ve learned from friends in Köln is the quality and variety of Turkish food. I’ve always tried to visit neighbourhoods where resident German-Turks go for their favourites. Whether it’s Müheim, Hansaring, Zülpicher Platz, or Ehrenfeld, it might be hard to pin down the best places to eat within a given “Kölner Kiez” (Cologne neighbourhood). Placing in front of me a plate with Döner meat or grilled Lambspiess accompanied by rice and salad is always a good way to start; a serving of Künefe is always a great way to finish.
I’m on the North Sea coast to gaze out into the open sea.
It’s easy to forget Germany has access to open seas which are a part of the nation’s history and Hanseatic traditions. About an hour north by train from Bremen, you arrive at the coastal town of Cuxhaven, which is a good place to start exploring the Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer). The area includes coastal mud flats, vital for conservation efforts of local wildlife. The site’s importance has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I’m up top at Zugspitze for big mountains and big skies.
Although the tallest parts of the Alps are located in neighbouring countries, an altitude of 3000 metres (9700 feet) on the German side isn’t so bad. The ascent to Zugspitze is worth the trip on its own, whether it’s with the cogwheel railway from Partenkirchen or with the gondola up from Eibsee. At the summit, you can pass between Bavaria, Germany and Tirol, Austria with ease. If you squint your eyes on a clear day, you can see all the way to mountains at the Austria-Italy border …
I made all of the photos above in the D-land. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
Often, art occurs whenever and wherever you find it.
Whenever I’m in Cologne, Germany, I stop at the Museum Ludwig for their selection of contemporary art, including their Pablo Picasso collection which is the third largest in the world.
I’ve seen some fine examples and works, and perhaps, they provide the necessary inspiration and ingredient to move forward or onto a different course.
Symmetry, form, line, contrast
After a look at their collection of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the basement, I headed back up to the ground floor. Looking up, I realized there was lots of geometry in the floors above. Fortunately, the security guard was “cooperative”, and the composition kept its symmetry with the added bonus of a convergence point.
I think the fellow was curious about what I was photographing …
I hung out in the upper corner of the museum, looking out the window and onto Heinrich-Böll-Platz, and I waited for the right opportunity. After some ten to fifteen minutes, I saw at the square two people, each walking along a different path but heading in the same direction. Each person wore contrasting colours: the woman in bright colours and a dark umbrella, the older gentleman in dark colours and a bright patch on his backpack.
Some have asked: how do you make these kinds of photographs? Here’s my basic list:
- Awareness : keep your eyes open to surroundings and possible situations.
- Composition : get things “right” in camera as much as possible.
- Minimal post : I don’t do a lot of post-processing, but I’ll make the necessary corrections for rotation, distortion, crop, and “dodge & burn” to adjust highlights and shadows, respectively.
- Experience, endurance : photograph as much as you can to recognize the kinds of shots which arise in a variety of surroundings and settings. Sometimes I have to wait until the right situation comes along.
It’s a simple “ACME” list, because each item is not difficult to undertake and does not require a specific or expensive camera. Go out and make photos with whatever camera you have.
Museum Ludwig and Heinrich-Böll-Platz are located between the Cathedral and the Central train station to the west and the Hohenzollern Bridge and koelnmesse Trade Fair Exhibition Centre to the east. Below Heinrich-Böll-Platz is the home of the Kölner Philharmonie; the square is closed to all foot traffic when a concert is held. Next to the square is the sculpture piece “Ma’alot” (Stufen or steps, 1980-1986) by Tel Aviv’s Dani Karavan.
More about Köln …
I made the two photos above with a Canon EOS450D (XSi) camera and 50mm-lens on 25 July 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
From September to December of 2012, I completed the year of travel, and the year of consumption also concluded with time in Sydney, Australia, before moving onto Cape Town, South Africa, and the final three months in Europe.
One thing remains true as ever – the hunt for good food continues …
I made all of the photos above with a 4th-generation iPod Touch. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).
Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (cmp.ly/0).
As 2012 comes to a close, so too approaches the end of my year of around-the-world travel. I want to take this opportunity and send my best wishes to friends and family around the world, to those whom I visited and stayed, and to those whom I met for the first time …
Merry Christmas and happy holidays: all the best to you and loved ones in 2013!
Frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!
I made the photo above in Heumarkt in Köln on 30 November 2012; this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.
After having lived in Germany for two years and then going back at least once every year over the last decade, I’ve done some fair bit of travel within the country. However, much of it has been along the “usual” routes with rail company Deutsche Bahn to visit friends scattered throughout the nation. So, there’s still a lot more to discover, and I’m always happy to go back. Here, I recommend the following five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany, which I’ve visited between 2005 and 2011.
Bamberg is a beautiful place to visit with medieval architecture, red-roofed buildings, small narrow winding streets, grand churches on top of hills, the Little Venice next to the Regnitz river, and green foliage and colourful flowers decorating everything in sight. As the surrounding region is called Franken (Franconia), the seven hills on which the city was built has given Bamberg the nickname “Franconian Rome”. A significant part of the town was declared a UNESCO Heritage site in 1993. To complete your day in Bamberg’s Old Town, stop at Schlenkerla for their famous Rauchbier or “smoked beer”.
With Deutsche Bahn trains, you can reach Bamberg:
• in under 2.5 hours from Frankfurt am Main via Würzberg, or
• in under 2.5 hours from München via Nürnberg.
Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral)
Some friends of mine have lived in Köln (Cologne) for most of their lives, and they’ve shown how warm and outgoing the city and its citizens can be. They’ve also not been shy in highlighting some of the tensions, which are no different compared to any other city or town in Germany. But one thing is clear: people here know how to drink and party hardy.
The Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) along with the Hohenzollernbrücke (Hohenzollern bridge) are without doubt some of the most recognized landmarks in the city, if not the country. Starting in 1248, the cathedral was built in various stages; so massive was the project that the cathedral was not completed until 1880, over six centuries for the taking. Ongoing restorations and renovations at the cathedral will keep caretakers busy for decades to come. The Cathedral became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
The place is rich with Roman history (Colonia, anyone?), you can drink some fine Kölsch beer, learn about the history of “cologne” in Cologne, or cheer on the homeside at the Rhein-Energie Stadion and sing chants in the local Kölsch dialect in support of the football team 1. FC Köln. Then again, another highlight may well be the “love locks” on the Hohenzollern bridge.
With Deutsche Bahn, you can reach Köln from Frankfurt am Main in about 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the number of stops on the InterCity Express train.
With a rich trading tradition dating back to the last-half of the 12th century, Lübeck was once the capital city of the Hanseatic League, a loose federation of trading and merchant cities. Lying close to the Baltic Sea, the city has great architecture in churches, city buildings, and the Holstentor (Holsten gate). For fans, Lübeck is famous for its marzipan; visit Café Niederegger for some samples and assorted cakes with tea. The city also boasts to being the home (“Buddenbrookhaus“) of the Nobel Prize-winning author Thomas Mann, the home of former German chancellor Willy Brandt, and the home of Nobel-Prize winning author Günter Grass. The historic centre of the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
With Deutsche Bahn, you can reach Lübeck:
• in about 45 minutes from Hamburg, or
• in about 2.5 to 3 hours from Berlin via Hamburg.
Park Sanssouci (Potsdam)
Potsdam Park Sanssouci is a huge wide-open space with stepped grassy terraces, gardens, tree-lined paths, palaces, temples, and various ornamental buildings. Sans Souci once served as the summer royal palace for King Frederick the Great, of Prussia. While some might think about France’s Versailles in comparison, Sans Souci is smaller, and the stylings are much more of the Rococo flavour. Nevertheless, the entirety of the grounds spans 290 hectares or over 30 million square feet in expanse. The various green spaces in Potsdam and Berlin were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
From Berlin’s main train station, Potsdam can be easily reached in under one hour with S-Bahn or regional trains.
What do you do with old coal-mining facilities when there’s no more coal to process? Over decades, various industrial sites have come and gone, and some lay in ruins. The Ruhr region could have remained a wasteland until bold imaginative initiatives were pushed forward to revitalize the area.
Along with Pécs (Hungary) and Istanbul (Turkey), the city of Essen in Germany was designated as one of three UNESCO European Capital Cities of Culture for 2010. Various projects, sites, and monuments throughout the Ruhr region were on display for most of the year. One of the big highlights in Essen was the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex which has been listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2001.
The entire refurbished Zollverein complex now houses space for art, design, and cultural exhibitions, and is also home to the Ruhr Museum, which provides detailed historical accounts of the economic importance of coal mining and its consequent decline, as well as descriptions of existing and future economic redevelopment plans for the Ruhr region.
With Deutsche Bahn, you can reach the city of Essen in about an hour from Köln.
• Do you have a favourite UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany? In the world?
• Are there any particular World Heritage Sites in your “bucket list”?
I made all of the photos above between 2005 and 2010; this post is published on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.