Picking up from where I left off from Blogging on a Summer Trip to Euro 2013. I had left Amsterdam and headed to Cologne, Germany. I was still Jet lagged and remember waking up at 5 am in the Amsterdam hostel. The sound of Vomiting also helped me get up. See my last post from this trip: Credentials are Everything. I got the earliest train to Cologne and was there in about 4 hours.
I had been to Cologne once before. It was years ago and had only spent a day there. At the time I was booking hostels one day in advance which becomes problematic when an unforeseen large event comes to town.
Cologne is a large city but does not feel huge. It is located in the Rhine-Ruhr area which is a collection of many midsize cites which is actually one of the densest areas in Europe. I think because of zoning and history these cities really never joined together to become one giant city. It makes me wonder how this could of happened in the United States. Los Angeles a hundred years used to be called a place with a hundred towns without a city. I think its possible something similar could of happened in the LA area as with the Rhine-Ruhr area. LA used to have a very good Mass transit system ( There have been movies made about this... Also movies made about other LA infrastructure..) which could of been expanded. Maybe more likely if LA was sort of forced to have been a midsize city center with more rural zoning around it and the other cites around it had similar restrictions then maybe something similar might of happened.
The city center was extensively damaged and then rebuild after the World War II. Clear reminders of that time are not hard to find and sometimes they are unexpected such as coming across Hiroshima-Nagasaki Park. I did some research on the park and found it was only named this 2004 and of course it was named in memorial to the victims of the American bombings of those cities. The city of Cologne had very little or no direct relations to those particular events so why name the park after these events? Why not name the park Auschwitz park after the place where some actual citizens of the city ended up? I don’t think that “Hey I’m going to take the kids to play at Auschwitz park” sounds so great… Better just to call things like this mostly vague names like Memorial Park. We have many of those in the United States.
After spending a lot of time in Germany I can see most of the population has WWII fatigue and want to move on. Sometimes it just comes across as over compensating in the way Germans like to tell the world hey we are not Nazis anymore. One multiple occasions I have had some Germans point out that Barack Obama had his biggest rally of 2008 in Berlin. Whatever that means. I can understand how the constant NAZI baiting stresses out that average German that has nothing to do with the events of over seventy years before. Yet the Hiroshima Nagasaki Park is a misstep because it just brings up all the questions I am now bringing up. How many parks in Japan or Germany for that matter are named after atrocities committed by the Japanese army?
The most memorable thing that happened in the city was a taxi ride I took. I was being driven back to my hostel through a park by a German taxi driver and unexpectedly he pulled over and started muttering something in German. He turned around to myself asked if it was okay if we were a few minutes late. I was a little confused but just said okay. He then made a U turn and drove about a minute back down the road. He then pulled over and got out of the car and grabbed something in the grass by the car. He pulled out a small rabbit out of the grass. Then he waited for the road to clear and walked it to the other side of the road and dropped it off. He then got back into the taxi and we drove off.