Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch6 Part 14

Field Trip to Cologne

Biene wrote this post.

To my relief, the school year came to an end about two weeks later.   Our new teacher in grade 5 quickly restored my faith and trust in teachers. Although he was very strict,  he never lost his temper or control.  I loved his exciting lessons, fairness, warm smile, and sense of humour.

This teacher decided to take us on a field trip to meet Vater Rhein or Father Rhine, as it is fondly called the longest and mightiest  German river. On a beautiful sunny spring day, we went by train to Cologne.  Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany, situated on the Rhine river. We visited the awe-inspiring cathedral, which towers majestically at the river shore.  We went down to the banks and immersed our hands in the water to greet Father Rhine.  He was starting to get polluted.  When revisiting the Rhine river, my friends prevented me from putting my hands in the water because of the dangerous pollution levels.  Now Father Rhine is clean and safe again.

Towards the end of our excursion, we walked through the Altstadt, the picturesque historic part of the city.  We did window shopping and were allowed to buy some small souvenirs in the romantic boutiques. I remember the fun we had reading the ornate and artistically designed shop and pub signs hanging on beautifully crafted cast iron brackets. We laughed at the often funny and clever names.  A butcher shop was called  The Jolly Fat Pig; A wine pub was named  The Bottomless Barrel.  In the Busy Bee Bakery, we bought some honey-sweetened pastries.

Back at school, we had to write about our excursion.  Our teacher told us that the best report would be published in our class journal.   We all had to read out what we had written and then voted on which one we liked best.  I was the proud and happy winner because I described all the humorous signs and other fun impressions of our exciting trip.