The word for darkness in German is 'dunkel'. Darkness is 'dunkelheit' and today dawned very 'dunkel' in the Rhine city of Cologne. The farther north in Europe the shorter the days, as the northern hemisphere approaches the winter solstice. After dunkel comes the grey sky of morning and I will visit the great cathedral of Koln. Somehow this massive structure avoided the destruction visited on Germany during the allied bombing campaigns of WWII. The city was hit 262 times by raids and the population was reduced to 95% at war's end.Few if any of the older buildings survived the catastrophe intact, but the cobblestones remained untouched by the explosions and they are very slippery under foot in the night damp. Bombed into the Stone Age.And rose like an eagle to become Germany's fourth largest city.Not bad, but still very dunkel.Koln is a long way from summer this time of year, but this evening I'll be flying from Dusseldorf to Thailand to see my kids, get some sun, and drink some beer.