Exploring Cologne, Germany

We’re nearing the end of our cruise on the River Queen – a fact that most of us are trying to ignore.

On Saturday, I woke up at 3:20am and looked out our stateroom window just as we were passing under a huge bridge in a large city. Although I knew it had to be Cologne, I went back to bed for a few hours.

Sailing under a large bridge in Cologne, Germany at night
I went up on deck just before 8:00am to find that we had a very good docking position, close to everything.

The Rhine River waterfront in Cologne, Germany
I don’t have enough photos of the ship yet – this is the River Queen’s main lounge, located at the bow of the ship.

The lounge on Uniworld's River Queen
Sunrise, at 8:17. That’s the bridge we had passed under 5 hours previously.

Sunrise in Cologne, Germany
At 10:00 we began a walking tour of Cologne, broken up into 5 groups, each with a guide. The city was very quiet, and it was quite chilly, about 8°C (46°F).

 - Cologne, Germany
Many communities claim to successfully combine modern architecture with the historic – Cologne actually makes it work.

Modern and historic architecture in Cologne, Germany
Our guide, Detlev Linde, was very good (as usual). He also writes customized stories for children – check out his Web site at Kid-e-Tales.com to see that part of his life.

Detlev Linde, our guide in Cologne, Germany
A particularly strange little sculpture high on a downtown building 🙂

Full moon sculpture in Cologne, Germany
We’ve heard that in many parts of Europe, sticking a shovel in the ground can cause no end of problems because you’ll probably hit some sort of Roman artifacts that archaeologists will need to study before you can continue. In downtown Cologne, several layers of history are being unearthed since the site was discovered in August 2007.

 - Cologne, Germany
The Cologne Cathedral is one of the finest Gothic structures in the world, surviving 14 hits by large bombs during World War II.

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
A closer look – you can see people who have climbed the tower.

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
We looked at the outside of the cathedral, then went into the Roman-Germanic Museum next door. The museum’s brutalist building is in dramatic and controversial contrast to the cathedral.

Roman-Germanic Museum - Cologne, Germany
The museum was actually built around this mosaic, the Dionysus mosaic, which dates from around A.D. 220/230.

Roman-Germanic Museum - Cologne, Germany
A replica of a Roman wagon.

Roman-Germanic Museum - Cologne, Germany
A detail from the wagon.

Roman-Germanic Museum - Cologne, Germany
The interior of the cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
Some of the wonderful stained glass in the cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
Lighting candles at a side altar.

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
We left our guide at about noon, and Cathy and I did some exploring on our own on the way back to the ship. This is the Hohenzollern Bridge across the Rhine River. What could possibly attract that many people to an old railway bridge, you might ask.

Hohenzollern Bridge - Cologne, Germany
Love padlocks by the thousands have been attached to the bridge as signs of everlasting love. No, Cathy and I didn’t add one 🙂

Love padlocks - Cologne, Germany
A closer look at the love locks.

love locks - Cologne, Germany
At about 2:30, I headed out on my own on a couple of photography missions that Cathy didn’t want to try to keep up with. Some of the architecture along the Rhine is very impressive.

Condos along the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany
My actual first destination was this bridge – I saw the chance to get a photo of the River Queen from the bridge with the Cologne Cathedral behind her.

Bridge across the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany
This is the shot I was after.

Cologne Cathedral and the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany
Traffic on the Rhine is heavy – this is one of the many ships that passed under me.

Ship on the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany
The city wakes up very late – although it was very quiet for our morning tour, it got busier and busier as I walked in the very warm afternoon.

Cologne, Germany
My main destination was the top of the Cologne Cathedral. The tower is 475 feet high, and 533 steps take visitors to the 332-foot level, for 3 Euros. This is the view back down the stairs – although I got this shot with nobody in it, the stairs were very busy.

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
The 24-ton St. Petersglocke was cast in 1922 and is the largest free-swinging bell in the world.

St. Petersglocke in the Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
From the 332-foot-high visitors gallery (cage), some people get to go even higher – what a climb that would be!!

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
The view – the bridge in the centre is the one I had walked across an hour before.

The view from the Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
The entire gallery is heavily covered in wire – very disappointing, although I understand why it was done.

 - Cologne, Germany
Another view.

Cologne Cathedral - Cologne, Germany
I took a roundabout route back to the ship to see the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station).

 - Cologne, Germany
The pedestrian mall along the Rhine was very busy.

 - Cologne, Germany
Boys taking advantage of the warm afternoon in a lovely water feature along the river.

 - Cologne, Germany

We only have one more day and night on the ship, to and in Amsterdam. We then have two nights in a hotel in Amsterdam before flying home.

When I get home, I’ll be writing an actual review of the cruise. I know that some of you want to know some of the cruise details in a format that’s digestible, and that will be the aim. A proper review takes some time to reflect, and that won’t happen for a few days yet.


Exploring Cologne, Germany — 2 Comments

  1. I look forward to your review. I have LOVED your trip a Lot! Thanks for sharing so much with all of us!

  2. Pingback: Watching and Riding Trains Around the World