Greetings from Cologne (or Köln, if you prefer). My flight got in late yesterday, so I didn't have as much time for sightseeing as I had hoped. My main goal was to see the Cologne Cathedral, a World Heritage Site. The parts that you have to pay to see were open until 6 pm yesterday, so I headed over there with about 2 hours to spare. Once I got there, I realized that these parts (the tower and treasury) weren't the impressive parts, and I had no great interest in them. The interior of the cathedral itself was quite impressive, but I couldn't wander around because there were services going on. I'll probably try to stop by today or tomorrow. The cathedral was built to house the bones of the Three Magi. It was started in 1248, but not completed until 1880. Unlike other cathedrals that took a long time to build, they managed to stick to the original Gothic plan.
I sat outside the Cathedral and enjoyed some falafel before going in.
From the conference reception, the cathedral is the dominant sight in the city. Unfortunately, someone decided to build an ugly building in front of it. The Cathedral is the one major pre-war structure. Allegedly, Allied bombers spared it so they could use it as a landmark to find the city. I've heard that story about other sights in other cities that were spared bombing, so I'm a little built skeptical.