Timbul Walks Cologne: A Case Study

WHAT & WHERE: I walk every street in Cologne, Germany (within its once-walled-in historic center)

WHEN & HOW: via @TimbulWalks during winter holiday season 2022-2023

WHY: to create a snapshot of a city and a blueprint for a project

CONTEXT: Wanderlust is my middle name. ADHD is my diagnosis. Whenever these two do not go merrily hand-in-hand, they engage in mortal hand combat. Obssess, dismiss, ignore, repeat. I have thought about this for years. It feels so simple as an action and yet so challenging as an undertaking.

Spend time in a city.

Walk all of its streets.

Engage local partners in a series of events along the way.

Document and share the experience(s).

Proceed to the next destination.

COLOGNE is a case study in how that could be done. Over the next few weeks I will share my daily pilgrimage on Instagram @TimbulWalks, discuss project possibilities and potentials here, and share a highlight of the day on Patreon @timbul (you can catch up on my 2022 full Camino de Santiago pilgrimage there already). Beyond the thrill of discovering a new place, I want to synthesize the idea and systematize the appoach. I “see” this working so clearly. I just need to get clear on how to make it work. Come along for the journey!

Part of the appeal of all the streets is discovering cities beyond their tourist landmarks. I’ve been to Cologne before, but never really ventured beyond the famed Cathedral and the adjacent breweries district along the Rhein. Having lived in a dozen cities around the world, I know the real character of a city is never revealed in its main square… Der Dom has been documented every which way since its construction stage. What about the streets leading up to it? Do we just glide through them with eyes glazed over by the gothic giant? That’s part of the inquiry. However, we start with the Big Circle

In 2015, I shared my 10-gates pilgrimage around Bologna, Italy. I told you I’ve been “all about this” for years! See also, my #PiCircleWalk around Valencia… Anyway. I was so excited to discover that Cologne had a historic circular wall (infra)structure, too. Circumnavigating the city and its ancient entry points is a great way to orient oneself in time and space.

I love l-o-v-e LOVE old city gates and walls. To me, it doesn’t matter when the space was first settled by humans, it becomes a living entity when it defines itself by a formal entryway. If you have a door, you have a place. Now you’re definitely here. Now you’re definitely not. There is inside and outside. The in-crowd and strangers at the gate. The complex communication pathways begin to develop, the mythology of a city, artisan knowhow, artist routines, trade routes. All that is from… From Köln with Timbul.

A journey through all the streets of Cologne starts with one step away from the Cathedral 🙂

Follow @TimbulWalks and/or #TimbulWalksCologne and/or Patreon.

Here we go, the first post…

P.S. I use a Cologne map stock photo for this post, because otherwise my ADD brain would make me spend hours days trying to pick the right image before probably not being able to do so, because how could you pick one photo to represent a city?! I am determined not to let my brain derail this case study. Other Cologne maps are from Max Ronn and Planet Minecraft. Onward.

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