Wednesday, 10 June 2009

High dining

Cathedral from Media Park towerOn Monday I was lucky enough to share a meal with friends in a restaurant on the 30th floor of a skyscraper (almost 150 m high) known as the 'Media Turm'.

We started with drinks. So far so good. Even better was the fact that we sipped our drinks while out on the 30th floor viewing terrace - which gave me the chance to see Cologne from a different perspective.

The first photo was taken with the camera pointing across the spread of the city and features the twin peaks of the cathedral.

View of the Cologne 'MediaPark' from the towerThe Media Turm is part of Cologne's 'MediaPark' district, which is a leisure and business zone developed just 11 years ago.

In the second photo the camera is pointing down to street level. The wedge-shaped group of buildings in the middle make up the forum area of the MediaPark. If you look closely you will see that they are shaped like segments of circles, with the curved facades facing inwards. Apparently this unusual layout was chosen by the architects so that people congregating in the centre of the forum area would be able to appreciate the interesting curved facades, while the more boring flat facades would be facing outwards where people are less likely to hang around. I think it also works as a scheme when viewed from above as I found it much more enjoyable to look at than rows of rectangular buildings.

More about the MediaPark...

Monday, 1 June 2009


A pinch and a punch and, gosh, it's the first of the month. Here it's also one of the wonderfully abundant public holidays.

This public holiday is called Pfingsmontag, which means 'Pentecost Monday'. It has traditionally been a day for celebration as Pentecost is an important date in the Christian calendar (it marks the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples).

When I was trying to find out about the festival I came across a lovely article from The New York Times describing a Pfingstmontag gathering by Germans in New York in 1860. Here are some excerpts which give a flavour of the event:

'The recurrence of the German May festivals was hailed this year with unusual enthusiasm...
Motion was the order of the day, either in dancing, running, leaping, walking, turning, twisting, swinging, gyrating, rolling, riding or tumbling - all was a continued scene of unceasing, uninterrupted, continual, perpetual motion...
But, of all the amusements of the day, quaffing the foaming lager was the most universal.'
NY Times, May 29th, 1860
View full article...

My celebrations have been more humble. We all went out to an icecream parlour and I had a banana split. Oh, and I did some spins on the carpet with April this morning, which must count towards my quota of motion-based activities.