On the morning we arrived in Cologne, Germany it was foggy and drizzly, but soon the clouds cleared to a beautiful day. Our walking tour began along the Rhine River with the many restaurants and pubs that lined the avenue. There is a clock on a stone pillar next to the Rhine that does not look like a time clock. Our guide told us that this was the water level of the Rhine. There was a plaque on the pillar describing the largest flood and the most recent floods in the summer of 2013. The water level mark was at 6 and that was high water for this time of year. The levels are normally at 4.
The architecture and old buildings in this city were beautiful. Our walk took us through the cobblestone streets, past the many pub and beer gardens. We would be sampling many of these later tonight on our pub crawl. We viewed the Renaissance city hall and the remnants of an ancient Jewish bathhouse. Cologne was the city where the first eau de cologne was invented by Farina in 1709. Here you will find the Farina store where you can sample many of the new scents. There are many quaint shops and bookstores where you can find unique gifts. We visited a shop that makes amber jewelry and purchased some very pretty pieces. Cologne is also known for its number of museums from Museum Ludwig, devoted to modern art, which has one of the largest displays of Picasso. Our other favorite museum was the Schokoladen Museum, dedicated to chocolate making. This museum had a wonderful chocolate store where you could find many chocolate bars, chocolate liquors, and the largest selection of advent calendars.
Another great site in Cologne is the Cologne Cathedral, a magnificent Gothic cathedral. I will describe our tour in depth in a separate blog. The best view of the Cathedral is from is from Hohenzollernbrucke Bridge “Cologne’s Locks of Love Bridge”. This bridge has over 40,000 padlocks locked to the bridge to display the love of every couple that added the lock and threw the key over the railing into the Rhine River.
Later this evening our pub crawl took us to 4 different beer houses, one of which was visited by Bill Clinton when he was president. This pub was not the Presidents first choice but the original pub would not give over it recipes to the Secret Service in order from them to approve the establishment. The owner figured his bar and customers were more important than any US President.
Next we are on to Kinderdijk, Netherlands to tour the windmills.