Landing in Frankfurt and Day in Cologne (Koln)
June 31st, 2017
Today is the day I start my adventure in Germany! This is my first time leaving the country, so I knew I had quite the experience ahead of me.
The flight left at 7:35pm from Newark airport and landed in Frankfurt, Germany at 9:20am. Seeing this the first time, I figured I would have plenty of time to sleep without any problem of Jetlag. After a little math, I realized this meant I was landing in Frankfurt around 3:30am Eastern Time. It was quite a shock when I woke up after a nap on the plane to see the sun shining with 3am displayed on my phone. After a few cups of coffee I felt ready to go, and the plane landed shortly after I awoke.
Frankfurt International airport is one of the largest airports I have ever been to. It took almost 30 minutes after we got off the plane to find our luggage. This happened because from the plane we exited down a staircase onto the runway to a bus which shuttled us to one of the terminal’s main entrance where a 15 minute walk and passing through customs led us finally to baggage claim. Once we had our bags, we headed straight to the train station within Frankfurt airport. An hour train ride led us to the city of Cologne. After exiting the train we met up with our cousin. His family was kind enough to be my host for the first week of my stay in Germany. When I spoke with him, he agreed I needed to visit Cologne not only because it would be a key component of my project, but also because of its beauty. What a beautiful city it was.
Exiting the train station leads to a flight of stairs and a large wall of windows. Through these windows is a perfect view of the Cologne Cathedral. What a breathtaking sight it was. The cathedral towers over the entire city. Construction for the building originally started in August of 1248 but continued up until the late 1400s. By 1473 every part of the cathedral was finished except for the two main towers. A period of 400 years without any construction followed until 1842 when a group was put together committed on finishing the Dom. In 1880 the Cathedral was officially declared finished.
What makes this building even more remarkable is the fact that this was one of the only builds left standing after the bombing of the city during WWII. Nearly the entire city surrounding the cathedral was flattened by allied bombing. The bombers even used the two towers to navigate themselves to the city. Despite the war and destruction to the city, the cathedral stood tall. Yet today as I walked around the city, the only evidence of a destroyed city lies within photographs and artifacts. Once a flattened wasteland, Cologne is now home to Germany’s third largest city. This is a remarkable feat. The cathedral now stands as a reminder of the history of German as well as a symbol of its new beginning. One interesting thing I learned about most German cities is that they are laid out in sections labeled as the old city and new city. The old city mainly consists of historic buildings from various decades, the city offices, and a few notable landmarks. Most of these buildings were over 500 years old before they were destroyed. After the war most were rebuilt to their original designs so today they represent the villages and towns of 500 years ago but are actually built in the mid 1900s. Very few of the originals are still standing. The rest of the city is a modern metropolis with workers, businesses, and residential areas representing the heart and soul of Germany’s economics. This layout evinced how Germany was able to expand and grow after the war while maintaining its historical identity.
Here are some other photos I took during the day