Cologne – European River Cruise
This morning we arrived at our first port of call which was Cologne. After breakfast, most of us went on the viewing deck and it was exciting to see the towering spires of Cologne Cathedral. As the boat was docking, we were all to be ready in the lobby to go onshore. We were transported by mini-trains to the Kölner Dom, Cologne’s famous gothic cathedral in the main square. If the trains feel a little kitsch and touristy at first, you’ll soon learn to appreciate having them available as the walk into the city is not a small one. They are also very practical for the river cruises as you couldn’t get coaches along the river banks.
We were given time to visit the inside of the cathedral on our own, about 45 minutes, before a guided tour around the city. The time given to roam was limited and on the whole we felt our time in Cologne was quite rushed. There is a reason for this though. All river boats have to stick to schedules for the locks which are booked months ahead and there’s not the ability to swap and change times. The cruise operators try and fit in as much as possible which benefits people like us who are keen to experience and see as much as possible.
We were split up in groups and assigned local tour guides to take us around. At the Old Market Square, look out for the sculpture of a man in a squatting position with his backside exposed. Your guide will enlighten you as to toilet practices in the past and how Eau de Cologne came to be invented, very interesting…