Cologne, Germany

Bonjour,

This morning I am awake early writing about our day yesterday in Cologne, Germany.  We experienced the time change “fall back” last night so an extra hour of sleep for those who can adjust in one night.  That’s never the case with me. The weather is still quite cool but we have managed to avoid the rain at least during our touring times.

Cologne is a bustling port of a million people with industry  all along the river, many ships like ours and heavily loaded barges moving products throughout Europe.  The most striking element of the skyline is of course the famous cathedral, pushing upward into the sky like a huge black mountain with two spires.

Our walking tour of the city was led by one of our better guides for the trip, Marcus.  He was the son of a Lutheran minister and knew incredible history spiced with humor.  The most interesting aspect  of Cologne is the influence of the Roman Empire.  Six legends of Roman soldiers (about 60,000) were stationed in the area that is Cologne today.  Whenever they begin to construct anything, it turns into an archeological dig and takes a very extended period of time.  We also learned that in Germany those getting married must have a civil crermony at the main court house and then a private service in a church if they wish. One out of two marriages ends in divorce.  There are more Catholics than Lutherans in Cologne; however, it was the Protestants from other regions who gave the money to finish the cathedral many years ago.  It is the largest in Germany.  The windows are striking and many were removed and stored during WWII.  Some are stained glass but the “newer” ones are painted and just as lovely.  There is a modern window from 2008, very controversial because it does not portray any Biblical story.  One high church official tried to block its inclusion in the “dome” (the German word for cathedral) but he was overruled, and the window stands today just where he has to look at it all during the service.

The Cologne skyline

The Cologne skyline

Fun street scene on our walking tour of Cologne

Fun street scene on our walking tour of Cologne

How's this for an interesting gargoyle along the streets of old-town Cologne?

How’s this for an interesting gargoyle along the streets of old-town Cologne?

Tight shot of the cathedral.  It is massive!

Tight shot of the cathedral. It is massive!

Gorgeous stained glass in the cathedral

Gorgeous stained glass in the cathedral

Later window that is painted

Later window that is painted

Controversial 2008 image

Controversial 2008 image

This cross is over 1000 years old, carved by a Greek artist and the first to capture the physical body of Christ, according to our guide.

This cross is over 1000 years old, carved by a Greek artist and the first to capture the physical body of Christ, according to our guide.

Our group from Burritt has had a great time cruising together, and we took a picture last night to share.  It was also Judy Link’s birthday and we celebrated with flair.  There are five Chilean women on board and o-la-la, can they dance! It’s a treat to watch. However, our own Nancy and Danny Archuleta are pretty amazing on the dance floor.

Our Burritt Cruisers!

Our Burritt Cruisers!

Tomorrow is Amsterdam as our cruise comes to an end.  Judy Link’s description is “this is a five-star hotel floating down the river.”

Have a great weekend,

L&B