Travel - Europe

The Sun in the Flower

07. Cologne, Germany

(Actual Trip Date: September 10, 2010)

Deciding to take a day trip somewhere, we decided on a city in western Germany. Cologne. I haven’t heard anything about this city and when I looked up things to do, nothing really came up. Nonetheless, we went because it’s a day trip, free with our Eurail pass, and if worse comes to worse, we would find a park to study at.

As we walked to the train station, we ran into our two professors who advised us that there was a great cathedral to see in Cologne. Immediately my spirits looked up. Maybe I will be awed there.

Finally arriving at Cologne two hours later, we exited the train station and lo behold, there was the magnificent cathedral. While the structure was amazing, it wasn’t my favorite. With cloudy skies looming over already, the cathedral failed to inspire me with its dark colors and sad aura.

Heading to find lunch, I immediately figured out two things: things in Germany were definitely cheaper. And Germany had mutant-sized flies. While my tolerance for the city was dwindling with its dismal looking Rhine River, God reminded me that there is always beauty no matter where you are. It started with the engagement locks on the bridge.

There were hundreds of them and we spent at least an hour or so browsing through them, amused by the names and the different styles of the locks. There were old locks and new locks. Locks made for jokes like the ‘Justin Bieber Love’ one and some elegantly crafted. A line of locks representing all family members getting married and ones shaped into hearts, decked with roses, or depicting childishly but innocently colored stick-figures. I wonder where the lock tradition came from and who did the first lock. Questions that will probably never be answered continued to stir in me.

Wandering down some more, we stumbled upon a garden with the largest sunflowers I’ve seen yet in all my time in Europe. The colors certainly did wonders for the bleak environment. It casually reminded me of home and how we would always pass thatches of wild sunflowers and bluebonnets on the way to the Khmer temple.

Personally, not my favorite city, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I own all photography

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