Reflections on Köln

I really enjoyed Köln. It was such a cool little city. It had a cool lock bridge and some fun restaurants. The most impressive part was the massive Köln Cathedral, which serves as the landmark for the small city. We were given directions based off of where we were relative to the cathedral.

I hadn’t done any research prior to this trip on Köln, so I was very surprised when we walked out of the train station and saw this beautiful cathedral. The professors downplayed it to mess with us a little, “Yeah, we are going to some cathedral there and will climb to its top.” It is fair to say I was pretty shocked when I saw it.

This was my first time at a Catholic Mass. It was much different from a typical church service I am used to. There was a lot of incense spread around the hall and then throughout the service in the front. I did not understand most of the service because it was all in German, but I was able to say the Lord’s Prayer with them. While it was very different than I am used to, there were parts that were also quite similar. They still said the Lord’s Prayer, had communion, a sermon, and a benediction, at least from what I could understand with the little German I know. The church was also very full, which kind of surprised me. Some previous cathedrals we visited on Sundays were less full. This might have to do with the fact on how “touristy” it is. It was a little weird to walk out of the church service and to see so many waiting to get in to just see it. It was like church and faith is part of history, and people go to admire the history rather than participate and understand that yes, it is a historic building, but is still alive and not dead. After the service, we had good discussions in our group about the Catholic religion, the tourists waiting to get in, and this cathedral specifically.

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