Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cologne - June 5

You know it's a good vacation when you have to check paperwork to find out what day something happened.  Last night was the first night I didn't update my blog in 'real time' and suddenly, being out of whack one night altered things.

I'm still having an absolutely amazing time.  And it isn't like last night things changed.  But last night I decided that I just didn't need to update.  Yes, I did think about it a couple times, hoping that people weren't going to be too upset.  But it didn't bother me enough to stay up at night. <wink>

The drawback though,  is that I have to remember Cologne AND Amsterdam, AND the everything that happened in between, AND now I also need to insert the bonus trip to "Wijk bij Duurstede, The Netherlands" -which is a charming little village.  But first we must start with Cologne!

I just love this picture - first off it looks like Yolanda is sitting in front of a fish tank, but when you look at it again you can see the rain is sheeting off the windows and it gives a surreal look.  

But alas, it is just rain.  The Captain tried to give us a scenic 'drive' through Cologne, doing a 'drive-by' of the Cathedral at night, but two things weren't cooperating:  1) the weather and 2) the lights on the Cathedral.  What lights, you're saying?  That's what we said too.  Guess they didn't want to light it up in the rain???

But they did light up the sign at the Chocolate Museum!!!  We were berthed right next door (uh oh)

And that gave me an idea.  Uniworld has a very, very nice drink selection, but on the bottom of the bar list it says "if you don't see something you like, just ask, and we'll do our best to make it for you" (or words to that effect) - so I asked, and Violeta delivered!  "like drinking liquid ice cream"  Divine!

When we looked out our window before we went to bed, this is what we saw

When we woke up in the morning this is what we saw - a beautiful bridge and blue sky!  (at 7am)

But by 9am (when the tour started) the clouds had completely covered the sky and it was quite chilly.  However we still managed to find cool signs, like this Lowenbrau one

And Cologne wall art is unique

As are the buildings - if you look you'll see numbers on the green, orange and white buildings.  That's the dates they were built - the white one is 1685  the green and orange ones together say 1935 - our guide said that's when it was renovated

Just loved this view

Roman ruins being excavated

A cathedral that had been bombed out in WWII and they left it as a shrine

This had also been 90% destroyed, but artisans reconstructed it - and you'd never know it wasn't original

And speaking of original - this is a Roman road - doesn't look too comfortable, does it!?

And of course we had to get a shot at the Cathedral

Very hard to describe how amazing this building actually is.  The details are awe inspiring

Mom helped us out with this one

And Dad, with this one

After the tour was over we went inside.  While we were sitting, contemplating the interior one of the tapestries, that didn't look all that huge, was taken down and wheeled away.  Once it started across in front of us we realized how large it actually was - notice the people in this picture?

Again, words can't describe some of the treasures you find inside a church or cathedral.  We just don't get this kind of history in America - even on the East Coast where 'old' is at least a couple hundred years old!

this is the contraption that took the tapestries down - it appears to be wooden, and the gentleman standing on the bottom right is counterbalance to the gentleman at the top left.  And it wheels the tapestries away.  Really cool.

We stopped at another 'oldest' pub/restaurant (Brauhaus Sion) and tried the specialty beers.  They come in .2 l glasses and when you finish one, if you don't put your coaster over the top they'll bring another.  And we didn't, and they did.

Greg, Dad and Mom ordered sausage - this is how it was served.  On a trencher.  Their plate had potato salad which they said was great.

After our meal we all split up and Ken and I went to the museum to look at the truly ancient Roman artifacts.  this is a mosaic that (if I remember what our guide said) was found in this location (which is about 20 feet below ground level)

Gambling a bit, Ken dropped off the umbrellas before we continued on.  The gamble paid off.

On our departure from Cologne the sky was beautiful as was the Cathedral

From Cologne we were headed to Amsterdam.  Our final stop on this amazing river cruise.

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