Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Viking's Grand European River Cruise: Cologne, Germany

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.


  1. Beautiful!!! I still remember the Kölner Dom as dark, no matter how sunny it was! Perhaps they put more windows in? :-) And I've never ever seen the towers without some kind of construction going on. Good choice you didn't climb the tower - it's tough, I think about 570 steps or so; however, by climbing it you also get a look to the fantastic bells up there (just make sure NOT to stand next to them when it is time to ring them!).

    1. Oh, thank God I didb't climb those 570 steps, Carola. I never would have made it to the end of the cruise. HA! I have stood next to many bells in the belfries around Europe, so seeing a few more was okay to miss, I'm sure. At least I got to look back on that incredible landmark, which was surely the better deal! (I love that someone else knows what I'm talking about, Carola. :)

  2. It was great to arrive in Köln by river. Lucky us for the sun and a second chance in the Dom. That walk over the bridge with the padlocks was fun. To see all those locks with names.
    The pictures show it all, we had an incredible start of the cruise and from now on, everything would be 'new' to us....
    A wonderful post again, beautiful pictures, a job well done.... and I am glad we did NOT climb all those stairs, I do remember some 'tower' in Utrecht, HA.

    1. Sometimes we really know what we should and should NOT do...just to protect our bodies. After all, we're not spring chicks anymore. HA!

      This is feeling like the "second blessing," going back over all these images. Thank you for sharing them with me as though we both were there again.

  3. Oh my lord, all these eye candies. I'm overwhelmed with all the beauty.

    I wanna do this someday.

  4. Such a beautiful day you had there – perfect for photo taking. I enlarged all the photos and looked at each carefully. I have been to Germany only twice, once in Stuttgart and once in Baden Baden, and that’s all but I liked it. I like the little narrow colored houses, they look like toys.

    Now, what I don’t like (and many people don’t either who have to pay for the destruction) are those locks. They are placed on bridges in Paris too and the Paris cleaning crews have to come pretty often to take them off as they break the metal down on the bridge and mars it. I think it is a kind of desecration of public buildings, like vandalizing walls, etc. At the cabin last week in the park we saw that people had carved their initials on the logs on the wall, on the ceiling, on the furniture, it was unbelievable and the Park Service had to carve everything out – it looked bad. I though how would those people like it if we keyed their car with our initials or go to their home and painted hearts on their walls! I guess they think it is OK because it is public property? Terrible – to deface public property like this for cheap sentimentalism, so disgraceful. I think in Venice when the police find them they give them fines, and they should.

    1. Very interesting commentary on the padl;ocks, Vagabonde. I certainly see your point. I had no clue they can damage the bridge/property until I read about all the added weight. That part makes sense to me. The idea is sweet, if it doesn't damage/deface anything.

      Anyway, it was indeed a gorgeous day...one of the best of the entire cruise! Thanks.

  5. I relate to the long winter and welcoming the sun (this week, but there has been a lot of rain and flooding too). I felt bad that you and Astrid had such cold weather for your trip, but the many excursions and cities and beautiful things you did and saw seem to have warmed your hearts nonetheless. It is all very interesting, and to think that this is just a fraction of what you saw and did!

    1. To be honest, Ruth, the colder weather has its huge plusses, one of which is no leaves on the trees. We saw so much more because of that! Almost every day we mentioned how glad we were that the trees were bare. Pay attention to that as you see the rest of the images.

      And yes, this is but the tip of the iceberg, but a pretty big tip. It brings back the memories that count! Thanks. :)

  6. I just can't believe what beautiful weather you two had on this cruise. Love seeing it through your eyes. But you know what I love the best? Yes, it's that little prism (if that's what you call it?) I love that little thing and I love what you capture with it!! xo

    1. Not all our days were so sunny, Robin. in fact, most were not. We were grateful it didn't rain except for only once, as I recall. Oh, and it also snowed a couple of days, which was so fun. :)

      It's an oculus...I think that's what you're referring to. I love it. I carried it with me the entire trip but only used it in the beginning. The rest of the time I just forgot. Too bad because it really IS fun when it works well. :)

  7. Oh, I really love seeing all the folks sitting outside in the sun! and the light coming in that church window is truly marvelous ~ thanks once again, Ginnie & Astrid, for a wonderful tag along!

    1. It's just wonderful to see how the whole world comes alive when winter wanes and spring arrives, Susan. I'm delighted you have tagged along with us on this river cruise. Thank you!

  8. The marble reflections in this and the last post are marvelous!! I find the outside cafe with blankets fascinating - and a great idea. (And a little too chilly I would take over a little too hot any day) The Cathedral & "Symphony of Light" are mesmerizing... the whole Cathedral, actually, came to light (and I love your selective coloring... the red just pops) I like all the observation tower photos, the top one with the old snuggled in with the new and the lower right is fun with the bridge leading to the Cathedral! And the night shots are outstanding - all golden and glitzy. Nice work, ladies!

    1. Thanks, Margaret! You sure know how to make our day. :)


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