Sunday, May 24, 2015

Day 3 - Cologne, May 11

Along the river we saw many other tourist boats and I took great interest in the styles and where they were from.  This is one I spotted early in the morning. 

And a company headquarters that was built incorporating an old building.  Thought it a very good use of the old and the new.  Certainly better than tearing down the old.
 Main reason for going to Cologne -- for the cathedral.  A very imposing building standing in a very impressive square with some very interesting buildings around.  Naturally, a service was going on when we got there but Andrea and I slipped in later when the main tour was over and we had the afternoon as free time. 
 This shows some of the many different coloured stones that are in the building.  Some have been here for centuries, some have been used to repair sections and some are new areas that have needed replacement and/or restoration.  There has been a lot of discussion about the colouring but the agreement is that after a few years they will probably all age to the dark colour.
 There are ongoing repairs and restorations and always some area of the building will have scaffolding around it.  This may be the only job that some workers will ever have in their lifetime.
 A building on one side of the square.
 
The Romano-Germanic Museum is at the right rear of the cathedral.  In the lower left corner is a room which was fully excavated after the war.  At the time of the war a bomb shelter stood on the spot.  This was removed and when they dug deeper they found a tile floor that had been the dining room for some wealthy Roman.  The G8 leaders had dinner there once using a glass table so they could appreciate the floor. 

 The hygiene habits in the 1700s certainly did not compare with those of today so eau de cologne was developed with a very nice herbal scent to make people smell nice.  The first and a great favorite to this day was developed here by a Mr. Farina in 1709.  He is acknowledged here at his original headquarters and at other places in the city.
The town hall which was important to us as it had readily available washrooms.  Beside it they were doing a large excavation.
 The town hall has many statues of important people of that time including Mr. Farina. Some women are also shown.
 Since the houses are so narrow they are built with this piece sticking out the front so they can attach ropes and haul the furniture up and down the building.  Quite efficient and not bad looking.
After the tour we could go back to the ship for lunch and then come back in for a free afternoon but Andrea and I decided to start our free time while in town.  It was a lovely warm day so lunch outside and a bit of a wander seemed like the perfect plan. 
The area around the cathedral is a bicycle and pedestrian only area so quite pleasant to wander and shop.
While Andrea was shopping I stood in the pedestrian only square that started a long area for shopping.  As I stood there these were my views.  First is taken to my left -- a clothing store where she was and right beside it a bakery that also made sandwiches.




Straight ahead from the centre area was this cafe area and shops and a continuation of the pedestrian only shopping area.
 To my right was this cafe where we ended up eating.
 Behind me was this shop and I am sure that just from only the blue sign you can tell what they sold.
 My lunch and it was absolutely as good as it looked.  Andrea was also impressed with hers.  Mine was bratwurst, mashed potatoes and creamed cabbage while she had beef stew on noodles.
 As we walked towards our ship that was docked just past the bridge this was the paved area alongside the river for people to enjoy the area.  The building is a stop for the Koln-Dusseldorf ferry ships that are quite large and travel that section of the river on a regular basis.

 Looking back towards the main part of the city, this is the view.  How nice to see that some people in government can appreciate the natural beauty around them and plan so that everyone can enjoy it.  As you can see it was very clear and nice out today.  Got up to about 28c so many were enjoying the outdoors even though this was taken in the mid-afternoon.
 And this is who was waiting for us when we got back to the room.  I thought he was delightful!
 Looking back from our window I spotted this train bridge going into the city.  Enjoyed the contrast of the means of transportation.
Dinner was a seasonal dinner so lots of spargel which is white asparagus.  It is grown so the sun never reaches it, has a thick skin that must be peeled before cooking and a milder taste than the green asparagus.  We saw the dirt mounds in many many fields as we traveled on the buses and I just love it.  Had a soup, salad and entree featuring it tonight and they were all delicious.  Have been having a very nice Spanish server and our wine steward is Jason who just loves finding a red wine that he hopes Andrea will like.
Tonight there is a "pub crawl trough Cologne's beautiful illuminated alleys, sampling the city's famous Kolsch beer".  An event that we passed on.
Only disappointment for today was that there is a museum here with a lot of paintings we wanted to see and there is also a chocolate museum with a 10' high chocolate fountain.  All museums are closed on Monday.  Great excuse to come back another time.
Busy day tomorrow as we are changing ships to an excursion boat for the trip through the middle Rhine area where all the castles are and to the Idi which was to have been our boat for the full trip.  Have to pack and get the suitcases out early in the morning. 

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