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Day 4: Cologne, Germany

Good God, let me give you my life, take me to the church...lyrics from the song "Take Me to Church" by Hozier

rain 24 °C

Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany with approximately 1 million souls. The city is also the focus of our visit today with the UNESCO Gothic cathedral as the centerpiece of the city. We docked in a town called Zons since the docking area within the city proper is under construction. After breakfast the buses were loaded, and we were shuttled into the town. On the way to the cathedral, we passed by St. Martins which was used as a marker for our journey back to the bus stop (this is primarily a Catholic city whereas Berlin is predominately Lutheran).

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We collected in front of the cathedral and began our walking tour of the city. As we could not visit the cathedral at this time due to a service taking place, we instead headed into the "Old City" but not before getting some pictures of the facade and a brief history of the city and the church. The cathedral, also known as Kolner Dom, was started in 1248 with the French Gothic style being completed 632 years later in 1880.

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The city walk's next stop was a view inside the yet to be completed museum of Roman history (the city dates back to the Roman times) and a view of a replica of an intact mosaic that was discovered buried under several layers of the city.

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After viewing a 3-dimensinal map of the city, we headed out to view the old town hall but not before seeing quite a few weddings that were taking place (including a police officer's wedding).

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The old town hall had some interesting statues layered into the various levels, including the statue of Nero's mother, the empress Julia Agrippina, who killed two of her husbands, and was eventually killed by her son Nero!

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On the way to the river, we stopped by Tunnes and Schal (a beer pub I believe), where if you rub Tunnes' nose you will have good luck!

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We then strolled down to the river where we saw the several restaurants and the Hohenzollern Bridge that has thousands of locks for couples who profess their love for one another.

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Coming full circle, we came back to the cathedral, where the tour finished, and we were able to visit the inside of the church on our own. There were several interesting aspects of note including the stained-glass windows (that were saved from the WWII allied bombings) and the many separate out coves that contained statues and graves of past religious leaders.

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The real star of the tour was the was The Shrine of the Magi. The shrine contains the bones of the three kings that paid homage to the infant Jesus. It is made of wood covered with gold and silver and is decorated with thousands of jewels and beads.

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As we walked back to the meeting point, we were able to see one last church tucked into a side street.

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We returned to the ship, which was located in a different port and settled down for lunch. It was mainly a quiet afternoon as we decided not to take any additional tours/excursions. However, one cannot leave Cologne without having tried the local signature beer called Kolsch. There is a long and storied history regarding the brewing of this beer but currently there is a law that states that the name Kolsch can only be used for this type of beer produced within the city. Prost!

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After dinner, we migrated to the lounge where classical music was played by two soloists who covered music from around the world.

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Posted by Argenti Travel 04:48 Archived in Germany

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