Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Eau de Cologne

Where to start…..we’ve been staying with Beloved's sister, M, her husband and their 3 daughters (13, 11 and 10) in Neersen for the last few days. There was no time to blog, but so many stories flying around my head that now I’ve got writer’s block!

How about Cologne? It’s more or less on the way to M’s, so we spent a few hours there on Thursday. Its one of Germany’s oldest cities, a port town on the Rhine trade route and has an amazing cathedral (dom). It’s also the Karneval capital of Germany but Karneval is a whole other story.

Cologne has some fantastic museums and galleries, but of course they’re not so compatible with Pirate Jim, so we headed straight for the Dom, which is in the middle of a huge marktplatz. It is a stunning Gothic building (contruction started in 1248) with two soaring spires that can be seen from many kilometres away. Unfortunately it is shrouded by scaffolding - a normal state I understand, as it's undergoing restoration, and it was that way when we visited in 2002 as well. Actually, I wonder that anyone has ever seen it sans scaffolding, since it took over 600 years to complete!

Here's a couple of tourists posing in front of one spire:

Although the interior is quite breathtaking for its scale and arched ceilings, I find it quite cold (not just temperature-wise) and dark. We had a wander around and lit a candle for Beloved's sick aunt.

We headed off into the lunch-time crowds in the main pedestrian mall in search of lunch, then took back streets (much more interesting than chain-store lined malls) down to the Rhine to check out the boats (ships?) and people. And ice cream.

In other news, I found a wolleladen (wool shop) called the Wollstube in a village neighbouring Neersen. Not huge, but with a good range and run by the very friendly Frau Hohmann . We chatted in a mixture of english and german and she let me fondle all the yarns and showed me a new technique with a ribbon-type yarn (Solo by OnLine; bought a ball to try a short scarf). I picked up a few balls of sock wool as training for a big buy up next week or so (2 balls of OnLine Bambus and 2 of Lana Grossa cotton stretch) and some bargain GGH 100% wool for 2 euros (not quite $3) a ball.

And of course some stitch holders. Thanks for the suggestion Taph, but Geoff's Vest is a commission, and therefore a Very Important Piece. It simply cannot go on any piece of waste of (pfiff) old shoelace. And anyway, it made the need to find a yarn shop a priority! Beloved knows that keeping me from the sticks for too long is bad for everyone.

Intersting trivia: when I asked for a set of DPNs, Frau Hohmann said "you mean sock needles". I think that sums up the German attitude to knitting really - socks, and more socks!

We are off tomorrow (solo, or rather, a duex, with Pirate Jim staying with Oma and Opa) to the north east on the Baltic Sea and the "lakes district" of Niedersachsen for a few days. Have already plotted out the yarn stops.

G x


kms said...

what a lovely time it sounds as though you are having! of course holding breath for stories of karnie! on a serious note, you may have heard elsewhere that STYK is not importing addis anymore and her cheap stock is limited. if you were to come back with some from the land of their creation, you would be a very popular lady. more popular than you are now, i mean. so popular, you would be mugged at the airport and your luggage ripped open and i dont mean by customs! stay safe xxx

Monique and Tools said...

Hi George

Have been reading your blog and have added to it may regular reads. James is a gorgeous big boy now. I showed his photos to Luca today. I think that James would have more of a chance of recognising Luca from his little book than the other way round. Will continue to do. Who knows maybe a spark of recognition will go off!
Enjoy your jaunt for two. Look forward to hearing of your adventures.

Jejune said...

Thanks so much for posting your pics and stories - sounds like you're having a wonderful time! Enjoy your time away without Pirate Jim - bliss ;)

Bells said...

great to hear how you're all going George. Looks sunny and warm there! And fabulous news re the sock wool.

I've sent your blog to my sister who is heading that way in July with her husband and toddler son so I thought this might be of interest to her.