Friday, October 19, 2018

Thoughts from Cologne: 19.10.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here. Garish but informative.

Matters Cologne-ish
  • More observations:-
- Walking the streets demands care. There are lots of cyclists and, while sometimes you have 2m each, at other times you have only 0.5m each. When wandering left or right, as the case might be, could result in a severe injury.
- For a Brit of my age, someone coming up behind you and shouting Achtung! Achtung! Achtung! sends a slight tremor down the spine. And reminds me of an old joke which ends with the line – Yes, Mother Superior, but those fuckers were Messerschmitts!
- I have to admit that some of the cyclists looked tool old and infirm for the challenge of competing with the traffic but hats off to them!
- My guess – subsequently confirmed – is that cyclists have to go down the bike lanes or pavements in the same direction as the cars. Either by force of law or by convention, all the cyclists are very disciplined.
- As is everyone (except me) at the pedestrian lights, waiting on red even when there's no oncoming traffic in sight. It could be Geneva. But, then, it is an offence to go against the lights. I'm hoping I'll just be warned, if copped.
- There are so many cafés, bars and restaurants lining the main streets, one could be forgiven for thinking the denizens of this city eat out even more than the Spanish. As I've hinted, the variety is satisfyingly enormous. We're going Persian today.
- What goes round comes round. I might have inadvertently overdone the tipping yesterday. After finishing my morning coffee, I gave the waitress €3, said Danke, and expected up to 75 centimos in change. But she smiled serenely, thanked me gracefully, and never returned.
- Seeing the famous cathedral again yesterday, I recalled that the original connotation of Gothic was 'ugly', in contrast to the 'pretty' Romanesque style which preceded it.
- Inside the cathedral, it apparently costs less to have a guided tour if you're German than if you're not. Is this legal under EU law??

- Seeing Eingang and Ausgang regularly caused me to ask if we'd have 'Inway' and 'Outway' in English but for the Norman invasion. Maybe these feature in Beowulf. I just checked and found these terms are used in modern IT . . . BTW: There's an analogy here with exterior/outside and interior/inside.
- The phrase 'Self-service' doesn't seem to mean here what it means to me. My impression is it signifies no waiter/waitress will come to take your order. You go to a counter and make your choice from the selection there. Someone puts your items on a plate, which you then take to your table. Or it's brought there for you. But I could be wrong.
- I wonder what happens at the All-You-Can-Eat buffets. Perhaps you have to point at items, rather than helping yourself to whatever you want. Presumably minimises greed.
- A German friend tells me the reason for the bike-clearing is that, thanks to low rainfall this year, the Rhine is at a very low level and the bikes are thus a threat to the traffic. The latter includes the impressive cruise boats, of course. Here's one docking. Although it has a capacity for hundreds of tourists, I could see only 2 or 3 for this (rather unprofitable?) trip.

- One marvellous feature of Cologne is that it has a huge quantity of green spaces. These were established when the old 'belts' (gürtels/correas) of defensive features were demolished years ago. 
- Here's the fotos I couldn't post yesterday. In the first, I defy you to see the U. In the second, you might just be able to find it. The entrance in the station itself, by the way, was blocked off by works.

- Finally . . . I asume this isn't a brothel. Or a training centre.

Matters Spanish
  • Here's an interesting tale of the survival of medieval Spanish in a rather unexpected place .
Matters EU
  • The Italian debt problem is getting worse, says Don Quijones here. The good news is that German, French and Spanish banks have, so far, 'resisted contagion'. What's taking place, says DQ, is a 'gargantuan showdown' between the Italian government and Brussels. And the fear is of [another] 'full-blown euro-zone crisis.'
  • As for Spain . . . DQ reports that it's . . . different: Spain’s fortunes have diverged from Italy’s. The Catalonian crisis has deescalated. The new minority government, while perilously fragile, is staffed to the rafters with former senior eurocrats who can be counted on to take orders from Brussels. According to the FT, the country is even regarded by some investors as “semi-core,” in light of its strong economic growth, structural reforms and credit rating upgrades.Which DQ thinks could well be 'pushing it a little'.
  • Word of the Day: Resol. Which I've never heard, incidentally.
Finally . . . 
  • The wifi at our hotel here in Cologne has continued poor to non-existent throughout our 4 day stay. And our phones have only rarely achieved a 4G level connection. As of now, I can't even reach the booking site to post my not-totally-favourable review. Or publish this post, of course. I'm no trying in a café . . .
© [David] Colin Davies: 19.10.18


Perry said...

Eingang & Ausgang = Input & Output, but used as single words, Entrance & Exit.

Entrance & Exit = Ingång och Utgång in Swedish, Indgang og Udgang in Danish & Inngang og Utgang in Norwegian.

OTOH, it's Input & Output in the 4 languages, according to Google Translate. Go figure.

As for crossing on red? Desist. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Ostium et Exitus.

Eamon said...

The U in both pictures was only easy to see after I blew the pictures up ten times. But in the first picture one would never see it at first glance.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Just imagine what a guided tour in Mandarin must cost those poor Chinese tourists coming to Cologne...


Eamon said...

@CharitabAL I should imagine the Chinese tour would be run the same as when you go into a Chinese restaurant and order your meal by quoting the numbers on the menu. 23 - Prinz Eugen prayed here on his way to Stuttgart in 1710 etc.