Thompson Travelers

Travel is a way to be lost…and found…all at the same time

Month: May 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Cologne, Germany (Köln)

Cologne has a special place in my heart because my Uncle Dieter is from this city.  I was very anxious to explore and discover this town.  It was established by the Romans in the first century AD, then occupied by the French and the British over time.  It was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II, the Royal Air Force (RAF) dropping 39,000 tons of bombs on the city.  The bombing reduced the population by 95%, mainly due to evacuation, and destroyed 90% the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible, the rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape.   

After the war, the British, who were in charge of the rebuilding of the city, hired a German architect to rebuild old town, as cheaply and efficiently as possible, with simple concrete facades. He wouldn’t do that, and the engineer was jailed for his disobedience.  Thankfully, Köln has a beautifully rebuilt frontage along the waterfront.  

Old town, along the promenade

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Kinderdijk Windmills

Summers in Holland are pretty chilly…its 48 degrees this morning, and sprinkling, fairly typical for this time of the year. They say that the Dutch are travelers…I think they all just want to go somewhere else to get warm!!

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On the Viking Mimir

We say goodbye to wonderful Amsterdam with a few parting bits of info and a few photos. There are 162 canals in Amsterdam.  All were dug by hand, and filled with fresh water, to depths between three to ten feet. The houseboats originally alongside of the canals were to shelter poor people who couldn’t afford real housing.  Eventually, there were so many that the government put a halt to allowing any additional ones.  Since then, houseboats have gained access to sewer lines, and plumbing and electrical through underwater pipes.  If one becomes available today, the slip goes for as much as one million dollars.  Bring your checkbook for a waterfront view.  

A million dollar piece of property.

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