Rosenmontag was yesterday; so, although there are still a few young men around in yogi bear suits (didn’t they bring a change of clothes?) and women with bright cloaks and pointed hats, I’ve missed all the fun. Cologne today just looks like a town with a hangover: it’s grey and drizzly and the drinks litter beneath the temporary seating outside the cathedral is a sight to behold.

This time I went inside the Roman Catholic cathedral; I’ve never been particularly inclined to before, since the outside is so grimy and its position next to the Hauptbahnhof steals some of its gravitas. However, in I went, and, yes, it’s big and very high . . . Having no religious feeling, I come to sacred sites with only an aesthetic and historical sense. I am still full of admiration for Wells cathedral from a fortnight ago, so I wasn’t as impressed with Cologne cathedral as I feel I should be.

I was almost interviewed by a television crew in the street, but my halting German saved me (and a teatime audience).

Never mind: I had some Baumkuchen (and now understand what it is and how it is made) and, separately, some Kölsch, so all disappointments are forgotten.

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