Monday, July 15, 2013

Discovering Cologne and Dusseldorf, Germany

The Rhine River Cruise was just the start of exploring in Germany.  The same day we traveled to Cologne, Germany to taste some beer at a local brewery and visit the gothic Cathedral.
The Colner Hofbrau Fruh is one of Cologne’s most famous breweries.  Of course, I was not able to taste the beer, but I heard that it was a good, light beer.  We also got a snack of a sauerkraut wrap, potato salad and crescent with the drink.  The potato salad and crescent were good, but I wasn’t a fan of the wrap.
After our short snack JC I weren’t exactly full as our portions were very small and we knew we needed something else to tide us over until dinner time.  We walked the streets until we found a small bakery.  We both had a giant pretzel and sat at the little café street tables.  Watching people in this town was so interesting.  Some of the things we would see people wearing or doing were so different than what we see at home, yet some of it was very much similar.
After the short rest we headed over to the gothic Cathedral.  The Cathedral has 515 foot towers, amazing stained glass windows and is the shrine of the Three Holy Kings.  The Cathedral is Germany’s most-visited landmark, bringing in an average of 20,000 people a day to see the artistry of the Catholic church for free.  The Cathedral suffered major damage after World War II, but has been reconstructed to its original state since the war.  People had the option of climbing up the Cathedral towers to the very top.  JC and I did not do this as I didn’t think I would be able to handle that much walking with such warm temperatures.
Gothic Cathedral.

Inside the gothic Cathedral.

My favorite part of Cologne was the Cathedral’s stain glass windows.  The faces and images depicted in the stain glass were so life-like it was truly amazing.  A large portion of the church was covered in stain glass, and even some of the floor was covered in murals made from tiles.

Another highlight of our Cologne stop was visiting a part of a road that dates back to the Roman Empire.  The road was all brick, and you could even see where the carts would be pulled by horses along the streets.  We were also able to see some old cellars and artifacts dating back to the Roman Empire that were salvaged.

After our short two hour stop in Cologne we were back on the bus to Dusseldorf for the night.  I can’t say Dusseldorf had any significance to me during the trip.  We were only there for a short time, and most of the time was spent sleeping.  We did walk to a park that was supposedly very nice that was near our hotel.  After walking at least a mile, we arrived at the park.  We had to walk through a tunnel that was covered in graffiti and had beer bottles everywhere.  The park was not what I would consider a “nice” park with mossy ponds and beer bottles and cigarette butts littered all over the pond and grounds.  Visiting this park made me appreciate how nice and well-kept our parks are in the U.S.
This was also by far the hottest night we had to endure.  With very little air conditioning being pumped into our room we had to open the windows and listen to sirens all night.  Dusseldorf was my least favorite stop of the entire trip; however we had some amazing sights yet to see … as you will see soon.

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