Alongside thousand-year-old churches and Kraftwerk, World War II battle sites make the short list.
Eddie, a former army-reservist and Patton buff (who gagged when George C. Scott once walked past him at a Broadway theater) likes including war-relevant things on his itinerary. A day trip to Remagen, site of the bridge rescued famously by Ben Gazzara, is the warmonger's best option. (Cologne itself was flattened in 1944; people here don't particularly like to be reminded.) Please note: there is no bridge at Remagen. It collapsed just a few days after Gazzara & Co. captured it. Today, one of the remaining bridge towers houses the Friedensmuseum, or Peace Musuem, which despite its displays of shrapnel and unexploded bombs, considers itself a symbol of German-American friendship. It's well worth a look around.
BEST TV SPORTS
How could any hairy-chested metropolitan guide be complete without mentioning man's favorite obsession? First, a word of caution: cases of woman-induced whiplash are common amongst heterosexual male visitors to Cologne. In the pedestrian areas, in the shopping arcades, in the parks (where on a good day you'll find them sunbathing topless), the city's surplus of Teutonic beauty is forever rearing its omnipresent head. Consensus U.S. male opinion places the Café Spitz (Ehrenstr. 43) at the top of the list of vantage points for spying young, fashion-conscious German beauties at their leisure. Spitz is also a rarity in that it draws proper, eight-minute glasses of Pilsener. So if you've got the patience for this golden, pleasantly bitter alternative to Kölsch, order one, take a spot near the door and watch the brilliant parade. But mind the tongue hitting the table. It's considered bad form.
The day's done, it's two a.m., you haven't scored and you've watched all the videos you've rented. Time to crack open a beer and watch wrestling! Germany's not as good at inventing sports as the U.S., so DSF, the country's answer to ESPN, imports much of its programming. Typical late-night fare includes Rollerjam, he-man contests, monster trucks, "Takeshi's Castle" and of course, the bulked-up brawling heroes of the WCW and WWF. If you're lucky enough to be patched into Mr. Turner's satellite channels, you can get all the action in English. Although on second thought, you haven't lived until you've heard German commentators translate the bluster of The Rock as if it were a state of the union address. (Wait a minute. Didn't I read where The Rock leads Gore in the polls?)
Eddie's going to make it out of Africa some day. I know he will. He'll marry Sophia Loren's granddaughter, have a bunch of kids, and breakfast daily on cappuccino and cornetti on the nearest sun-drenched square. Someday I'll visit him there, step off the train into the old world splendor of Rome or Milan. We'll hit the neighborhood video store, pick up some beers and get our rocks off on Jackie Chan's latest masterpiece.
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