Sunday, May 27, 2012



Koln is the German pronunciation of Cologne.

And yes, there's more in Koln than the Cathedral.

Like the 12 Romanesque churches which maybe lesser in stature but nonetheless ancient and famous too.

That I did learn later back home.

And realized that I have in fact shot 4 from the cathedral tower: the Great St. Martin Church, the basilica's of St. Gereon and St. Ursula, and circa 970 AD St. Andreas Church (below).

Possibly 6 with the identification of 2 more spires.  

But how did I killed 8 hours in between my hotel check out in Bonn and my reserved train ride to Frankfurt from Koln?

I could have easily if I did my usual Google research and found out about the 12 Romanesque churches.

But I did not so I checked at the Lufthansa Air-Rail counter who told me about them luggage storage machines.

Which 5 Euros did for 24 hours of storage.

And enabled me to explore deeper via shop-lined streets called Richartzstrasse, Ludwigstrasse, Bruckenstrasse where I encountered the Antoniter Church (circa 14th century)...

...Sporergasse, Grosse Neugasse, and Am Domhof before sitting down a stone wall and discreetly espied a nearby young German couple in heavy exploration of each other's tongues.

I walked Richardzstrasse, Ludwigstrasse, and Burckenstrasse again.

There I had my currywurst lunch.

There I women-watched...

Thursday, May 24, 2012


It's bad enough to have the same hotel breakfast for 15 days straight. (So I made myself braver by making it a hobby to concoct a new sandwich everyday from the daily assortment of cold cuts tucked in between a variety of cheeses and the usual bits of tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper that are pressed in between a sliced crusty Brotchen liberally lathered with the ever present butter and marmalade). [Of course, I made a variation of what cold cuts and cheeses are for the day but the veggies, the spread, and the Brotchen were eternal fares].

It's worse to endure the daily mostly potato-centered fare of the Aubergine & Zucchini near Convention Land that goes by the name Maritim Hotel. (These are mostly french fries, a mashed version then and now, unpeeled/peeled boiled small ones twice or thrice, and the more appetizing but rare garlic sauteed boiled and sliced minis). [[I say the saving grace of the Bonn potato medley is its accompaniments of bockwurst [more popularly known as the frankfurter], burgers [which they say originated from Hamburg], fried fish fillet, fried white meat [that I later discovered to be chicken], and schnitzel [which is actually a slice of fried lean pork] that all came bathed in a gravy that tasted like Jollibee's].

But the evil of them all are the nights of the junk feed dinners, usually in the second half of the negotiations when time out is almost midnight, and the restaurants are therefore closed. (Sometimes, I make do with a panini sandwich and a bottle of coke from the gas station near the tram station; on some rare occasions, I survive with a doner kebab which we know better as shawarma from the only open Turkish restaurant in Bad Godesberg; and twice I lived on McDonald's garbage food). [But there's always crunch time when the going gets fueled by chocolates, candies, cookies, coke and all the sugar required for staying awake as we negotiators try to outsmart each other in who can talk in circles more and say hell in the most polite way possible].       

FOOTNOTE: Photos were all downloaded via Google and not mine.   

Monday, May 21, 2012


DATELINE: June 2011

"You must go to Cologne."

"The church is just across the train station."

"It's only less than an hour by train from Bonn."

That's what they told me. But still, I did not go. Perhaps it's the daily long walks along Rheinalee from Bad Godesberg Station to Hotel Haus Berlin that sapped my juices. Or I miscalculated my trip back home thinking I would be passing by on the way to the Koln/Bonn airport.

The thing is, I should have went but did not.

DATELINE: May 2012

This time, I don't need to be told.

The cathedral beckoned as I made the changing of the trains in Cologne.

I in fact went out of the Hauptbahnhof a bit to gawk at the ornate imposing structure.

And I did come on the second Sunday after learning that Bad Godesberg has a Bahnhof aside from the underground train stop; walking my way around, trying to get the best vantage view I can manage with an impossible 55-250 mm lens of a borrowed Canon EO 350D; focusing on the details as I can't get a panoramic shot; like from Burgamauer where I miserably failed in getting that full shot...

....and the Komodienstrasse where I got foiled again.

I went inside, tried some low light shooting of the main altar with a lens designed for long distance people photography...

...before venting my frustration on a 144.5 meter climb to one of the towers where I was able to get some good shots of the 960 AD era Great St. Martin Church...

...some not to good shots of the basilicas of St. Gereon (circa 1151) and St. Ursula (Circa 1106)...

...and some other churches which I later found out to be among Cologne's also famous 12 Romanesque churches. Then I decided to be a paparazzi for a while...


KOLNER DOM: Officially called as as the High Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Mary, the Cologne Cathedral was started to be built in 1248 and completed only in 1880. It's 157 meter twin towers are the second tallest and its facade the biggest of any church in the world. The cathedral houses a reliquary which contains what is believed to be the remains of the  Three Maggis. It was damaged by aerial bombing during World War II and was repaired until 1956. The cathedral was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. 

Monday, May 14, 2012


I have been warned.

It was at first a welcome respite from the broiling weather back home but soon enough, my tropical weather conditioned blood started to curdle as the chilly and almost hostile cold front settled in.

It was too damned cold that I felt nude even with the tropical jacket on top of my business suit. 

The problem is, thermal jackets will certainly cost me a lot. 

But thanks God for colleague Jasper Inventor of Greenpeace who told me how he got a 10 Euro branded ukay jacket at the weekend market in Bad Godesberg's Theaterplatz.

And that's how I got my almost new 35 Euro black leather jacket.

And the 3 antique looking brass wall hangers at 1 Euro each.

And an old Cuban cigar tin case plus an ancient looking wooden jewelry box for my coin collection at 4 Euros each.

And the photos below as I tried unraveling the mysteries of my borrowed Canon EOS 350 and the power of its 55-250 mm lens. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012


- I -

Once upon a time, a father of 3 named Pepito will bring home a can of Swift frankfurters that came from a town called Bambang. 

Now those things during that time were as rare as the apples and Curly Tops that seem to appear only at Christmas. 

Pepito's wife will cook the franks until well done as their children loved stripping the crisp skin first before slowly licking and munching the bare goodness with blow job adoration.

The children have all the franks while their parents make do with the brine poured over piping hot rice. 

Those Swift franks were gifts from Lola Senang, who minded Auntie Angeling's store, and who would swipe a can or 2 for her youngest son, who would bring the loot back in Almaguer tucked somewhere in the recesses of his pants.    

- II -

Not so long ago, Pepito's oldest son named Shubert hitched a ride to Manila with $3,350 nervously tucked in the recesses of his pants.

He therefore missed Jessica Sanchez's number in America Idol's Top 4 elimination and decided to catch the replay in Manila while killing time for his flight to Hong Kong.

There were sausages in PAL's Mabuhay Lounge and better food (than economy) in first class but none tasted as good as the stolen crisped fried Swift franks of yore.

And the noodles of HKIA were as bland as the feeling of having to unlock the mysteries of a strange borrowed camera with a scandalously long retracting lens.

But then Frankfurt came amid the turbulence and the memories of those Swift frankfurters rushed in like the nicotine kick of a cigarette puffed after several months of abstinence.

- III -

Perhaps the rush of memories came in so strong as to confuse Shubert's baggage if it be picked at carousel no. 13 in Hall B or at the air-rail pick up point.

Still, the air smelled strongly of the stolen Swift frankfurters as the train pulled out of Frankfurt to Cologne for the the changing of the trains to Bonn.

Bonn was as Bonn as it was almost a year ago.

And the last whiffs of the stolen Swift franks and the difficulties of baggage retrieval in Frankfurt disappeared as the taxi pulled at Hotel zum Adler along 60 Koblenzerstrasse.

He was in the familiar environs of Bad Godesberg which somewhat guaranteed that the smell of frankfurters will come back certainly at any day...