Today is Cologne trip. The ship docked on the river bank opposite the main part of town so got to see the ‘Locks’ bridge – my name. The bridge, on the chain link fence next to the railroad tracks is known for all of the locks people have hung on it – SOLID locks from one side to the other. Kind of I love you thing and hang a lock. The optional excursion started near the ship into the old town and to the cathedral. As we have been here a couple of times in the past we did not do this excursion so did a brief ‘refresher’ of the cathedral. Really is one of the premier sights of the trip. The cathedral is huge but does need renovation as it is quite discolored from many centuries. There were a BUNCH of tourists around the cathedral and groups singing, evangelical people preaching/singing. Trying to get into the cathedral is always a hassle because of the number of people in the cathedral. I did walk up one of the spires and from here have a great view of the surrounding area. You also pass the bells as you go up – I kind of doubt that they will ring when people are near them. But huge bells – an amazing feat to raise them up into the tower. After this looked around at the shops in the nearby area and Tricia then headed for the ship, via the Lintz chocolate store. I looked for and found the Nazi Documentation Center which was about four blocks away from the cathedral. This center documented the atrocities of the Nazis in Russia during WW II. Not really a big museum but certainly brings home the atrocities committed. After this, I went to a series of restaurants to get lunch. Along the river, about a half a block offset from the river, there are about three blocks of just restaurants with outside seating. So I wanted a pretzel and a beer. Went to three restaurants and not a single one knew what a pretzel was – still trying to figure this one out. One waitress thought it was some kind of cookie. Oh well so much for that – BTW did get a pretzel and beer but not in Cologne. As Tricia did – I went to the Lintz chocolate store. If you do end up in Cologne you do need to stop here. Is no more than a couple of blocks from the aforementioned restaurants and right on the river – GOOD.
Back to the ship – right down from the restaurants. There was a shuttle to/from the city center but we did not go. We hung around the ship for the remainder of the day.
You have a morning tour of Cologne, including a visit to the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After your tour, spend the rest of the day and evening exploring Cologne on your own: There are Roman ruins, interesting neighborhoods and wonderful museums like the Fragrance Museum and the Chocolate Museum. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or, join an optional excursion on which you will ascend to the Dom’s roof, enjoying up-close views of the cathedral’s architecture and bird’s-eye vistas of Cologne. Lunch and dinner are served aboard; we depart at midnight.