COLOGNE CATHEDRAL IS ONE OF THE MOST VISITED LANDMARKS IN GERMANY:
Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise – Avalon Waterways – Day 3
Cologne was our first major stop on the cruise and arriving in Cologne from the river was exciting for everyone. As our river boat approached its Cologne mooring, we were all on the sundeck admiring Cologne Cathedral whose towering twin spires were like a beacon guiding us into port.
Within fifteen minutes of arriving at our Cologne mooring, we were transported by mini tourist trains to the Kölner Dom, Cologne’s most famous landmark in the main square. We were given time to visit the inside of this impressive Gothic cathedral on our own before our guided tour through the old part of the city.
Cologne Cathedral was planned as a place of worship fit for the Holy Roman Emperor and it is grand indeed. The stained glass windows in the cathedral are exquisite and the five windows on the South side were gifts from Ludwig I of Bavaria. The Cathedral also holds a wealth of artwork and other treasures, including the Shrine of the Three Kings, a 10th century Crucifix of Bishop Gero believed to be the oldest large crucifix and a medieval statue of St Christopher.
For our sightseeing tour, we were split into groups and assigned local tour guides to take us around. During the tour, some people were a bit naughty and switched groups as they felt that a particular guide was better, or easier to understand than theirs, creating chaos for the guides as they had to keep track of the number of guests they were charged with, just in case people went astray along the way.
At the Old Market Square, a sculpture of a man in a squatting position with his backside exposed was intriguing. This is where we were enlightened about toilet practices in the past and how Eau de Cologne came to be invented, very interesting…
The Heinzelmännchenbrunnen has an interesting folklore attached to it as well. Here we heard the tale about how gnomes used to do all the work in Cologne, until a tailor’s wife spoilt it for everyone.
There are many museums in Cologne, which we didn’t have time to visit, but one that we made a brief stop at was the Römisch-Germanischen Museum to see the exquisite mosaic work which was part of some Roman excavation.
Cologne was once a Roman colony and on the central archway of the Roman north gate is a reference to CCAA or Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, the Roman name for Cologne.
Too Little Time
At quite a pace, we zig-zagged the streets of Cologne, through a few squares to see various attractions and on the whole we felt our visit in Cologne was quite rushed. The time given to visit Cologne Cathedral was too short as well. At noon, we had to return to the ship for our departure to Koblenz. We were told that the river boat had to stick to schedules for going through the locks and that was the reason for the rushed visit. The question is, could Avalon have scheduled lock entry times a bit better!
Photos of Cologne: Cologne Photo Gallery
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