We had a very Merry Christmas Day in Cologne.
Lots of people asked if we were lonely that day. I suppose rattling around in a big empty hotel could seem a bit sad, but we had a beautiful day. We’ve been married 1o Christmases and about half of those have been the full-on two Christmases-in-one-day extravaganzas in Illinois. Those are wonderful too – in a different and exhausting way. We also enjoy the quiet, relaxing, reflective Christmases and the fact that this was the last Christmas ‘just the two of us’ made us savor it all the more.
We slept in and headed down to ‘brunch’ around 11am. The breakfast at the hotel was WONDERFUL each of the days we were there – lots of beautiful and healthy options and even Champagne (not healthy for pregnant ladies but Steve enjoyed it:-).
Our only agenda item for the day (besides brunch and dinner) was another visit to Cologne Cathedral. I’ll give you a bit of a tour…
There has been a church on the site for about 1700 years, but the building as it stands today was completed only in 1880. It is a site of great National pride for Germany, particularly after the cathedral was heavily damaged by French Revolutionary troops when they occupied the region. This damage in the late 18th century fueled the push to complete the construction of the cathedral, a job that had been underway for many hundreds of years.
The are two main things that struck us about the cathedral.
1. It is HUGE.
2. It is very dark. I’m sure on a bright summer day it is very different, but on a gray December day it is oppressively dark in most parts. (thus almost all the pictures are of the windows as they were the only things with decent light)
3. The stained glass is beautiful.
The church’s importance and wealth stems from it housing the relics of the three magi. Believers would make pilgrimages to see the relic – and thus St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers was very important to the cathedral. This is one beautiful statue of St Christopher. (There is also a great statue of the saint at the Cathedral in Seville, Spain which I’ll show you if I EVER get around to putting up the Spain pictures…)
The stained glass at the cathedral was beautiful. Not the oldest we’ve seen, but it is really strikingly beautiful – like excellent paintings…
Candidates for the Chapter of the Cathedral had to prove that they had at least 16 noble ancestors, and they would commission windows to show their family crests as a way of cementing their authority.
We enjoyed our time at the cathedral – but it would definitely be more enjoyable on a warm bright day as I’m sure the detail of the building itself would be much more evident.