Ladybug Chapel

Her birthday, a day off together, the sun was shining and it was very warm for an end-October day. We went to see an unusual little
chapel on a field somewhere west of Cologne. It was designed and built by Swiss star architect Zumthor for a family of farmers who felt grateful for a long and good life, and wanted to build a chapel.

We were not the only visitors on this wonderful day. We would have loved to have this very unusual place for us alone for a while, but so did the others. Maybe I’ll eventually come back here on a grey day outside the school holiday period.

The building is shaped like a tent, originally built out of 112 spruce trunks with layers of concrete on top. When it was finished, a drying fire burnt inside for three weeks. The trunks dried off the concrete and could be taken out. The walls on the inside, under the open roof, still show the shapes of the trees.

Lots of glass tubes connect the dark interior to the outside, creating dots of light in the walls. Sitting on the tiny bench beside the candles, it was totally quiet. The place has a very special atmosphere, but I found that I felt much more in a meditative mood outside, on top of the open field near the chapel. Somehow it seems to be slighly unsettling to me to sit in a dark little room with no way to see if any other people are approaching. Some part of me feels safer alone on a hill where I can see in all directions.

For some reason, there was an invasion of ladybugs, flying around and sitting on the concrete of the chapel, hundreds of them.

We walked through a village nearby that turned out to be less interesting than we had hoped, but at least they had very good cake on offer.

In the evening, some shopping and dinner in Cologne. We saw the first signs of Christmas approaching, but also of the carnival season that officially starts on November 11. A big thing in Cologne, even more important than the puppets of the classical Hänneschen theater.

A stroll down the Rhine. We were too tired already to take a closer look at the amusement park on the other side. A nice day out!