Viking River Cruise, Day 3: Cologne, Germany (Facebook collage)
(click any collage to enlarge)
After Kinderdijk, NL, in the morning of Day 2, we sailed all day and into the night before arriving in Cologne, Germany, the next morning...now on the Rhine River.
As we ate breakfast, it was clear we were starting out on a gorgeous, sunny day!
The fun of a river cruise, of course, is what you get to see along the way...
even if you don't know where or what it is!
Now, remember this from last December?
This is what we saw across the river of the Cologne skyline after visiting the Christmas markets.
And this is what we saw from the boat as we sailed into the city on March 18, 2013.
Every place has its own unique docking set-up, of course. This was Cologne's.
While other passengers were off to see the Cathedral with their tour guides,
Astrid and I opted to go off on our own, since we had already been to the Dom.
We wanted to see as much as possible along the river front.
What immediately caught our eye was how everyone was out enjoying the sun!
It's been a looooong winter in Europe. We've all needed the sun.
How is it that I keep attracting groups of guys who want me to take their picture?
HA! Must be that obscene lens I carry.
(Don't get started on the guy who wanted to sell Astrid a rose!)
After all was said and done, we suddenly found ourselves at the cathedral/Dom.
On a sunny day, it was larger than life.
And since the light was on the door, beckoning...
...we totally changed our minds and decided to go in.
Maybe the sun would make the place look different from our visit in December?
Oh my, YES!
We are SO glad we decided to go in.
Look how the sun danced with Gerhard Richter's "Symphony of Light" window!
And as they say, the devil is in the details...
...even midst the hubbub!
That was the morning and it was now time for lunch. While walking back to the ship, we passed Alex, our Program Director, who mentioned we should check out the hotel across the river that has an observation deck, if we wanted great views of the city. HELLO!
We had already been enamored with the Deutz Abbey across from our boat.
I would have loved to visit it but...not this time...
...in order to get a broader view of the city.
To get to the tower, we walked across the Hohenzollern Bridge near the cathedral.
And if that didn't stop us dead in our tracks!
THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of love padlocks!
OMG! You could write a book with all the stories you made up!
My understanding is they weigh so much, the city has to pay attention to how it's affecting the bridge,
to say nothing of all the keys that are washing ashore along the banks of the Rhine River. :)
Believe it or not, we did eventualluy make it to the observation deck.
We did NOT climb the cathedral tower, which had been an option.
Instead, we took the elevator and looked back on it, saving our knees.
(No one ever said we were dumb, right?)
Later that evening, after a wonderful dinner onboard,
Astrid went out on her own to take some night shots of the familiar landmarks.
What a day. What a night. What a place.