The city's name goes back to the Romans (‘Colonia', 50 AD). Charlemagne founded the archbishopric of Cologne in 785. The Archbishop of Cologne later became Chancellor for Italy (11th century) and Elector (14th century). From the 12th to the 15th centuries Cologne was the most populous and one of the richest cities in the German speaking world. In 1794 it was occupied by French troops and in 1815 it became a part of the Kingdom of Prussia.
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At one time I went out for a walk around the ship, but I didn’t know where to go – or more worryingly, where not to go – so it ended as a half-hearted stroll around the midships accommodation block and back to my cabin. The lower part of the midships block had the cadets down the starboard (right)- hand side and the three deck officers along the forward (front) part. Along the port (left) side were the showers and toilets, as well as the hospital and the chief steward’s cabin. I was told later that this port side was known as ‘bog alley’. I was looking in the hospital door when the chief steward came along and introduced himself. He was a balding, dumpy man with thick glasses, a high voice and a strange accent. I didn’t think he was English. Later I discovered he was from Sicily. People referred to him as ‘The Wop’, although not to his face. The Wop had a lot of power over the officers: power to make sure they were kept supplied with beer and cigarettes, or not; power to ensure their cabin was properly cleaned by the stewards, or not; power to make certain no one in the galley flobbed on their food.