Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cologne - Day 14

Final dinner with new friends - Click image for larger view
Today was our last day cruising and this is the crew we have been hanging out with - from left to right
Me, Jeanne from Calgary, Bob, --Anita, Anne and Doug from California and Carol on the right. Although we have met many many people onboard, this is the group that has bonded and toured together. It was a fun if a bit bittersweet dinner aboard (we reserved the special table) this evening.  Today we toured Cologne Germany - the home of Au de Cologne and the biggest cathedral in Germany. So I bought some Cologne in Cologne (I smell so much better now) and Carol got to visit the Cathedral (which I enjoyed as well) and today we had the funniest tour guide to date - a standup comic who really knew his history.

Inside the cathedral in Cologne
As I mentioned the cathedral was awesome and though-out this trip I have been amazed at the antiquity of things man made, where the craftsmanship is extraordinary and the object was made centuries ago. Here in this cathedral there is a wooden cross from the tenth century and some of the windows date back to 1264 and it took a few centuries to actually build this.  What are we building today that will last a thousand years or more? Not much I say.  In the USA if you car is 25 years old it is considered an antique (not just a used car) which is crazy. Anyway, the cathedral was great, and there were lots of Monks in red robes wandering around inside soliciting $$$ which you can deposit in a wooden box hanging around their neck. . . something like 25,000 people visit the cathedral EVERY DAY!

Bride and organ grinder - click image for larger view
We also saw a bride at the Rathaus (city hall) and people in funny clothing and an organ grinder..weddings are strange here. This is about the forth bride we have seen at Rathaus's over the past couple of weeks. Apparently you have to get married (in a wedding dress and all) at city hall first then you can get married in the church later.  Sometimes the same day sometimes much later. We even saw a pregnant bride. . . and our guide was embarrassed for her. Every town has a Rathaus and every tour guide thinks this is a point of hilarity to say 'rat house' then chuckle and say 'no no really it is rat house, but no ve do not keep our rats dere.'

Rhine sunset - Click for larger image
After dinner our little group went up on the top deck, at the bow, and watched the sunset. We are now in the Netherlands on the Rhine and will be docking in Amsterdam at 4:00 am. This was the first viewable sunset as we are far enough north now that the sunsets at 9:15ish. The river here is very industrial and lots and lots of shipping going on. We left Cologne today at 12:30 and have been in heavy ship traffic since. More tomorrow from Amsterdam, providing a good internet connection.

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