Cologne is one of the oldest Cities in Duetchland from what I’ve heard, but in my personal experience there I wouldn’t have been able to tell that it was any older than any other city. I guess that is testament to the progress the city has made in staying current.
Driving into Cologne the roads are clean and easy to navigate. We arrived late, so it was dark and we got to see the Cathedral all up in lights. It did take us awhile to find our small hotel, so we circled the Cathedral a bit. To me that was part of the fun, because I was gawking in amazement at the Cathedral that survived WWII bombings, and hundreds of years of history. To my husband who was driving it wasn’t so much fun, so I had to stop the gawking and focus on navigating.
The hotel we stayed in this time was a personal owned hotel. It was small, and my husband will never let me forget that it was the smallest hotel we have ever stayed in and that we will ever stay in again! I loved it though because the ladies at the reception were super friendly, and the breakfast was wonderful. My vegetarian breakfast was fresh bread, cucumbers, cheese, and tomatoes. A boiled egg, fruit and coffee.
While in Cologne we walked around the Cathedral, went to the Chocolate Factory, explored some Christmas markets that were just setting up, and ate at Hard Rock Cafe.
Sunday Morning I got up early and went for a walk by myself so I could take photos without the distraction of the boys. I was very nervous at first to leave them at the hotel and go out on my own. I watch too many murder mysteries, and some of those images came to mind as I was leaving the hotel that was situated in a narrow street (somewhat like an alley) and a man with a cigarette walked toward me.
After that drama that was all in my head anyways I experienced one of the most peaceful and interesting mornings I’ve had on a trip. I walked from the hotel down to the Cathedral and there were very few cars out, there were some other photographers searching for the same early morning light on the Cathedral that I was, and there were a lot of pigeons. I walked past Roman Ruins preserved and protected as the new highway was built around them. I walked passed building doorways with engraved years like 1869 and wondered who lived there then. I followed a couple of photographers around the side of the Cathedral to take photos from the river and spied on them to see how they were setting up their shots. Being at the river in the morning adds even more calm. The sky over the water, the sounds, the birds, the HISTORY of this river. I get lost in my imagination when I’m in places like this, every century there was something happening on this river, where do you even start to imagine what it would have been like? Looking at the bridge I found a starting point. The horse and soldier sit high up on the bridge from the bank where I am looking. They stare forever away from the river toward the Cathedral. The statue looks like it was placed here after the Cathedral was built, so it probably isn’t from the Roman erra, however some of the arches on the bridge definitely could have been. The faces that are shaped into the stone around the base of the bridge on this side of the river look very old. I love to touch these stones and imagine traveling back in time to when they were placed here.
Touching the walls of the Cathedral are powerful as well. Construction on this massive structure began in the 1500s. I love every little detail carved into the walls. The door is also intriguing because it is so massively huge and looks like it could be a couple hundred years old. There are carvings all over it and around it in the doorway. Imagine each artist that had a hand in crafting each of these sculptures, over centuries that the building took place. I press my hand to this door and also here feel the energy of hundreds of thousands of lives that have touched it before.
As I make my way back to the hotel my photos might not all be clear or expertly exposed, but I am at peace. This fills my soul. Walking through history like this and being creative with my camera, imagining that I am creating a work of art even if it is only a digital copy of the real thing makes me so incredibly happy.
What does this have to do with Web Design? I think in any career that you choose, or that chooses you; you have to find how to be happy in it. There are many different ways you can be a nurse, there are many different settings in which you can be a teacher, and there are many ways to be a Web Designer. As a web designer the company you work for will shape this, the industry you choose will, and the culture you are in all have a hand in creating the kind of Web Designer you become and also how you feel about your job. Once you find what you love you should bring that into your career no matter what you do.
Design takeaway: Cologne has a strong, earthy style. Dark colors, with a clean shimmer would be my color palate if creating a site inspired by this beautiful city.
UX Takeaway: Just base solely on my 2 days here I would say it reminds me of molding a new site around an existing framework. Always make your site accessible even when upgrades improvements are being made.