09 November 2011

Cologne's Cathedral...or How I Got Sick in Germany

Day 3 of the European Cavalcade tour found us in Germany, finally settling into the pace of our travels. Germany was one of the places I was looking forward to most - I have an uncle from Germany and have heard how beautiful it is...and indeed it was! I only wish I could have stayed longer! Our first stop was in Cologne and I felt giddy with excitement, having seen the towering cathedral from afar - like a shadow against the sky. We had a bit of time here to explore the cathedral and the surrounding area.

Cologne Cathedral, as seen from the freeway

Words can't express what it feels like to be standing at the foot of a massive, gothic cathedral - the stone blackened with years of coal-burning. It gives off a certain eerie, Tim Burton-y feeling...like the setting of some gothic fairy tale. My heart swelled with excitement as I was eager to get up close - to observe, to touch, to experience. Maybe I was so excited as the only other cathedral I had been to (besides St. Paul's Cathedral - you know how that went...) was Notre Dame, in Paris. The emotions of how special that trip was, mixed with the excitement of this trip was overwhelming. Christy and I spent most of our time walking around and inside this church (free entry inside! yay!).

The Cathedral - silhouetted against the sky.

Looking straight up Cologne's Cathedral.             ©CM

          The building was ornately decorated        ©CM                                        

I love the discoloration of the stone

Some of the German schoolkids that we kept running into

Our time in Cologne regrettably came to a close, and our tour made its way towards the Rhine River where we enjoyed a river cruise. I felt like I was in a story book, seeing the cute little houses that stood at the bottom of these great, rolling hills. We saw numerous castles scattered among the tops of those hills and, despite the cold, I wanted to stay outside and take in the German air and see as much as I could before we would depart for our hotel. 

And, oh...what an experience our hotel was. Should I mention the orange and green 80's-ish decor? (Hey, I have no complaints about that...it was one of our most comfy hotels!) Perhaps I should mention dinner. I don't think anyone was ever quite sure what we ate (mystery meals!), but I believe we ate onion soup, "beef" (?) stroganoff and caramel cream custard. It was edible and tasted just fine...but oh, man! Nie wieder! (never again). I was up at 3am....revisiting that meal. For hours. I don't know if it was the onion or perhaps the "beef"...but my tummy was quite tender for a few days after that. I don't think I'll ever be the same! Nothing compares to the horror you feel, unable to control your ... bodily functions, yet still having to keep to a schedule. Not fun. Not fun at all.

Rhine River cruise

One of my favorite castles perched on the top of a hill

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