We travel: Luci stays home; Cologne

The Tialfi cruised into Cologne and docked. Cologne is a busy city with new buildings including these pretty spectacular residences known as the “Crane Towers”.

In the lower right of this photo, the windowed building is a chocolate museum. We didn’t go there.

As sometimes happens, the Tialfi double-docked with another Viking ship. When this happens, both ships share a gangway and passengers from the outside ship cross the lobby area to access the shore and their tours. Tialfi was the inside ship and since our “balcony” was on the side toward the other craft, we kept our drapes closed (so did the stateroom opposite).

Our walking tour was scheduled for 9:15. The tour guide met us at the ship as the old city was nearby.

Only a few blocks away was the 14th century cathedral, Great Saint Martin Church. It was built on the remains of a Roman chapel. The architectural style is Romanesque.

On into the city which has a pedestrian shopping area, lots of restaurants, boutiques and pubs.

The area looks pretty empty in this view. Restaurants don’t open until 11:30 and shops only a bit earlier. As in many cities, Cologne has fountains too and pretty flowers.

And yummy Curry Wurst!

Around the corner we can begin to see the Gothic Cologne Cathedral. A World Heritage site which was started in 1248 and finished in 1880 but refurbishment continues. The acidic rain damages the statues and carvings which have to be removed and replaced so they don’t become a hazard. Fortunately, the cathedral escaped much damage in WWII bombing.

The outside is spectacular but the inside is splendid.

We returned to the ship for lunch since our next scheduled tour wasn’t until 6PM. After lunch and rest, we decided to return to the city and visit the Roman Germanic Museum which was near the cathedral.

The museum was built around this 220 AD Dionysus mosaic. It was discovered in 1941 by workers building an air raid shelter. The museum preserves and features this mosaic as well as other Roman artifacts.

After visiting the museum, we ambled along enjoying the nice day. We visited a church and churchyard that was close to the ship.

The churchyard had a lovely garden with flowers and water and garden art.

The rusty garden art reminded me that there was a Fragrance Museum that documents centuries of fragrance history as well as the House of 4711 another celebrated fragrance house. It would have been interesting to see those.

This splash pad was a favorite of the little folk.

Many buildings had slate roofing but I was fascinated by the roofs with fish-scale tiles.

Our evening tour was Cologne’s Beer Culture Dinner Tour. It started at 6PM with a walk to a restaurant/pub Bauhaus zur Malzmuhle, established in 1858, where we sat around a big table and were served a meal and beer.

Sauerbraten, beets, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, applesauce, sauerkraut and maybe a pork steak. Not really remembering now about a month later. I’m pretty sure that I enjoyed it. The beer was the thing. One of the most famous beers is Kolach beer and is served chilled in 7 ounce glasses, not steins. The waiter carries beer on a circular tray that is called a crown which was specifically designed for the Kolsch glasses. Kolsch beer is brewed only in Cologne and is delivered fresh from the barrel to the table. He will keep bringing you a full glass and remove your finished glass until you cover the glass.

The beer kept coming but we had other pubs to see.

The German pub or brew house is a place to drink a few with your friends and visit. There is no music playing or TV blaring sports. Just a quiet space. The one we visited next had plank seating along the wall with a high counter like table and stools on the opposite side. After a round of beer here, Dave and I excused ourselves. Enough.

Back at the ship we took in some light classical music by a Cologne harpist and violinist. These two ladies played and sang several selections. They were very accomplished and a joy to watch and listen to.

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