Sun was about to finish her day work. In July and August, the entire country cheered because of her persistence. Only small clouds could find a spot on the sky this summer. Like beatniks, they did not last long on the blue endlessness above. Now, they came out carefully as sun’s fatigue overlaid the houses. The river was gently but steadily making his way through the city, heading for the coast.
Next to me, a subway train mounted the ramp of Severinsbrücke, one of the eight bridges which link the nine boroughs of Cologne. I am heading for Heumarkt, the southern area of the old town. Heumarkt is highly frequented these days. Under the watching eyes of King Friedrich Wilhelm III., residents and visitors observe the evening in the numberous brewhouses. While I linger around and wait for a friend, I enjoy one glass of Kölsch, the local served beer.
In medieval times, Cologne (or Colonia or Köln) used to be one of the biggest trade centres. Merchants had to pass the town due to the central position within Europe. The Rhine River remained until today an artery of the commercial intercourse. Cargo vessels need to pass Cologne on the route from North Sea down to Frankfurt, Basel in Switzerland or even to the Black Sea in Romania. The prosperity of the town depended highly on foreigners. In Germany, the city of Cologne is a place where differences do not build walls, but enhances the urban feeling.
I was picked in the meantime by my friend Oliver. We walk around the Town Hall and the Archaeologic Zone with the Yewish Museum. The street leads us to High Cathedral of St. Peter, the town’s and Germany’s most visited landmark. At the cathedral’s feet, a rasta man plays his steel drum intensely and willing to win the fight against other street musicians. The sound conquers the entire area. Suddenly, it is 7pm, Fat Peter intervens the scene. »Twice an hour, the attention is all on me«, he might have stated his claim. The 24,000 kg heavy bell in the southern tower raised itself to announce the time with loud, but warm and low-pitched chimes.
We continue our walk to Hohenzollernbrücke, the major train bridge, linking Downtown with Deutz, the borough on the eastern shore. Again, the bridge is guarded by former german kings and emperors. The security grid which separates the tracks from central station and the walkway is covered with locks. It is an italian rite, that two lovers fix a padlock on a bridge which leads across a river. However, the entire bridge is covered with them. Thousands of Liebesschlösser. It is hard to find free space there, but we do not plan to add another to them anyhow.
The world’s biggest games trade fair is in town these days. Our goal today is the Gamescom festival, which takes place on the Rings. The Rings are one of the main traffic routes which link north and south of the city. Between Rudolfplatz and Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring, traffic had to give way to a stage and some mobile beer and food bars. We watch the last minutes of Mc Fitti‘s performance. After another Kölsch, we head for the last stage of tonight.
Through the Belgian Quarter, we find our way to Media Park. There is Beer Market today, where citizens of Cologne by exception enjoy beers and brewage from all over of the world. We take a bottle of Tyskie from Poland and sat down at the Media Park Lake, in the thick of the other people. Colonius, the TV Tower, twinkling on the right hand side, the moon above us, and some bold ducks cajoling for bread – another easy night in Cologne or how some people call it: Köllefornia.