This post will be a photo-story.
The ERASMUS students went on an excursion to Köln, or Cologne as we know it in English. It is the largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth largest in Germany. One of the city's most popular attractions is the Cologne Cathedral, swarms of people gathered in the square in front of it.
The cathedral was built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men because church officials knew it would draw pilgrims from across Europe, so they wanted to impress visitors. When the plans for the cathedral were made in the 13th century, it was actually impossible to build the towers at the front to the height they wanted. However, they said, "It doesn't matter. We'll build it anyway and we will figure that out when we get to it." I found this very striking because I had always believed Germans were very strict, structured, practical people; the way they built this cathedral did not demonstrate any of those traits. Our guide told us Cologne people were a bit crazy though.
They started by building the back of the cathedral, so they would have a serviceable church.
By the way, the air is actually very clean now.
In the area below that is an area filled with sandstone blocks and the current projects of the artisans who maintain the cathedral. I believe our guide said the cathedral has a team of 50 craftsman who work on it year-round, and all of the stones they replace are carved by hand.
There is a funny story about on of the former directors of maintenance (there has to be a way of saying that without making them sound like janitors...) who was a bit more free in his interpretation as to how authentic the replacement gargoyles should be. One of the gargoyles in the picture is actually the mascot of a local football team that he was an enormous fan of. Every game they bring a goat onto the field, so he gave one of the gargoyles a goat head. In addition, one time the director found out that one of the craftsmen was going through a divorce, so he told him to put her face on a gargoyle.
I wonder if these ones are up there too...
I think I will make another trip there soon, so if any ERASMUS students want to go with me, let me know!
To quote Ward, "We are ERASMUS!"