Monday, 10 September 2007

Oh, the things I've seen...

My parents have been over for a few days which was great as I was really missing them. Plus, it was a good excuse to go sightseeing. The last time ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ (to give them their proper names) were in Germany I’d only just given birth and could barely walk so they had to go exploring on their own. It was good to be able to go to some interesting places together this time.


penguins waddlingWe paid a visit to Cologne Zoo which I had been meaning to do for some time. Dating from 1860, the zoo has quite an impressive range of animals, from honey bears to deer. I think my favourites were the penguins, just because they waddle in an amusing way. It is a great resource for the city and very interesting, although perhaps some of the enclosures could have been bigger.

We also went to visit the Roman Praetorium museum of Cologne. As well as being an interesting place to see Roman exhibits, it is good because from here you can walk down into the underground remains of Cologne’s sewerage system. Roman Cologne had a very advanced water system - as well as the sewerage system for drainage, it was supplied with fresh spring water via an 80 kilometre-long aqueduct which ran from the Eifel hills.


Augustusburg PalaceWe decided to head out for a car trip on Saturday and went to the nearby town of Brühl. It is famous for two 18th Century palaces, called Augustusburg and Falkenlust, built by the powerful Archbishop of Cologne, Clemens August. The palaces have UNESCO World Heritage status. We visited the beautiful baroque confection that is Augustusburg (see photo). It has a stunning hallway clad completely in marble and decorated with frescoes. We didn’t have time to take in Falkenlust, which was built as a hunting lodge for Clemens August to practise falconry.

tiles in BrühlAmbling around the town we came across this lovely piece of wall art on the town hall, made up from tiles. The tiles seemed to be depicting the history of the town. Here is the complete artwork, being inspected by me and ‘Dad’.

carnageHere is a close up, showing one of the tiles.
Don't know what's happening here, but it doesn't look good.

telephone boxNext to the town hall was this old English phone box. At first it seems like a completely normal piece of street furniture, until you remember that you are in Germany, not England. The phone box had a plaque on the front, notifying all about Brühl’s twinning with Leamington Spa (the towns were twinned in 1973).

stuffed animalsThere was a town event going on when we visited. It was hard to make out what the point of the event was, but it seemed to be various hobbyists and charities displaying their interests. I wonder what interest group this display represents? Perhaps the Woodland Tiny Creatures Indoor Climbing Society?

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