Posted by: facetothewind | June 25, 2010

Köln, Maastricht, Bonn and Düsseldorf

I grabbed my camera and hit the rails to the west of Germany. Here’s a little rough-cut video of the trip. The first part is my ode to Wim Wenders…

The dom is truly spectacular. It dominates all other structures in the town. It’s nearly impossible to get it all in one shot unless you have a very wide angle lens and you get down on the ground. Ahah – a futuristic Catholic ploy to get you on your knees. It really is a spiritual experience to behold the interior when the organ is playing. I caught a bit of it in my video.

Köln, like any city in Germany that was heavily bombed in the war, has architectural gaps. Ancient and modern duke it out.

Met my friend Dennis (from Malaysia/Norway) in Köln. My parents’ neighbors Gabi & Charles were there on their seasonal migration to Europe from Florida.

We visited the historic Dutch town of Maastricht which was taken by the Germans in WW2 by land and so it wasn’t severely damaged, though the historic bridges were destroyed. The Basilica of Our Beloved Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouweplein) is probably the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever seen. It was dark and sonorous inside (see video above).

The people of Holland seem to have a wicked sense of humor.

Meanwhile back in Germany, we found this under a bridge. I have noticed Germans like to make love outdoors, but under bridges?

This was right near the condom dispenser. Kinkay!!

The weather on the trip was pretty dreadful…so dark and cold.

What can you do on a gray day?

Photograph the gray. In grayscale, of course.

Onward to Düsseldorf where the sun finally appeared.

And the moon.

In case you have been spared all the hoopla, it’s World Cup time in Germany. I can’t say that I’m in love with the nationalism. At least it’s a non-violent sport, but it’s still a sport and it’s still nationalism. And nationalism hasn’t fared particularly well in Germany in the past. It scares me in the present (see video) to see people so crazed and drunk in public.

The drunk masses kind of ruined Düsseldorf for me. Late one night I was in the hotel tinkering with my camera at the window and I heard cars dangerously racing the streets followed by a fantastic crash and the sound of glass pieces flying, but not a single squealing tire. I ran out to see an unbelievable accident where two cars collided in an intersection and the engine and one wheel actually flew out of one of the cars and landed on a third car. They hit so hard that parts of the car were all over the place, around the corner and down the street. One of the cars careened over a traffic light, shearing it off and sending it right through a storefront.

The street was covered with a sheen of diesel fuel and all the cars nearby covered in some kind of fluid sprayed from the flying engine, no doubt. One bystander smoked a cigarette while standing on the diesel fuel spill. Should I have said something? No, I’m here as a tourist observing, not changing. I figured Darwinism would soon resolve the situation. I stepped back off the spill, wiping my shoes off.

Remarkably the drivers were not killed. One was taken away in an ambulance with a neck injury and a smile which led me to believe there was alcohol involved. The other one was nowhere to be found.

So I wouldn’t say that the World Cup is completely “non-violent” when people use it as an excuse to get drunk and race cars. I’ll stick to tinkering with my camera in my room on World Cup nights.


  1. I love the Dusseldorf photos of the sun (in the water — looks like mosaic) and the moon through the rows of trees and streetlights. Very nice!

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