Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cologne, Germany

This morning was a very pleasant cruise down the Rhine River with small
towns and farms as we moved toward to Cologne. Along the river are
kilometer markers with tenths of kilometers markers between. According
to the map, we started this cruise at 867 kilometers from its source and
the end of the cruise at Basel, Switzerland is at 170 kilometers. Right
now in Cologne we are at the 685 kilometer mark. Before we reached
Cologne we passed Dusseldorf, a large city but not as large as Cologne
(or Koln in German).

We arrived at Cologne at around 12:30 PM and we are docked right in the
center of the town. That is one benefit of river cruises as opposed to
ocean cruises, the ship (or boat) can get much closer to the town or
city you are visiting. Because we are so close to the city center we
took a walking tour from the ship that took about 4 hours. We went by
any number of churches but the largest and most famous is the Cologne
Cathedral. This cathedral is monstrous as you can see from the photo
with its twin spires that are 157 meters in height. As most large
churches and cathedrals in Europe it took a long time to build and
complete. In this case 632 years! The inside of the Cathedral was
huge. I don't recall being in a church where the ceiling was so high.

Along with the many side altars and some sarcophagi (most tombs are in
the crypt the high altar has a reliquary (repository for relics) that is
purported to hold the remains of the Three Magi. The guide noted that
these were the oldest Christian relics as those of the shepherds have
not been found! I would not bet any money on the authentication of the
relics but I'm sure that some believe that they are the real thing.

Following the Cathedral we went to the Roman-Germanic Archeological
Museum that had a remarkable collection of Roman burial tombs and burial
goods. And then to the brewery for beer and very good beer at that.

Tonight we had German entertainment in the lounge. Dancing, singing,
and all out crazy stuff. The two guys that did the show were absolutely
nuts but very good. It was a very good evening.

So to quote Samuel Pepys, "And to bed."

1 comment:

Eileen said...

I visited that Cathedral back in '91 on my first trip to Germany. It seems that when we were there we saw something called "Flame on the Rhine" when we were in Bonn.