Friday, 1 September 2017

Here it is, the first of September. Almost time for Autumn to make an appearance. Last night I made a reservation to stay in Edinburgh starting the first of October and will look for a longer term stay once I get up there. Edinburgh is comfortable for me and look forward to meeting up with my InterNations friends who I met last year.

Today, I boarded a boat tour from Cologne to Rodenkirchen, just south of the city. Prior to leaving the hotel, I researched various boat tours and decided to the river and find the nearest ticket office and book whatever tour they had. The river is a short walk through the train station and straight to the river where I found a ticket office, booked the tour and waited to board. Was as easy as that.

The weather really started to improve as we boarded. I took a seat on the boat’s bow on the upper deck, ordered a tea and sat back while we moved up the river. We passed by a few of the bridges that span the Rhine and learned about the various sites along the way.

We could see a blend of the old and the new along the way. I particularly like the three towers situated along the bank of the river. I know that if I moved to Cologne, this is where I’d live.

It started to rain, and those of us out in the open took cover. After about 10 minutes it cleared again and we enjoyed the sun again as we pulled up to the dock.

Cologne Cathedral and Music Hall

Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) and Music Hall

Along the boat tour I saw the Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum) not too far from the dock and started to walk up there to check it out. (Who doesn’t like chocolate?) But first I wanted to see the “love locks” up on the Hohenzollern Bridge. These are padlocks that couples fix to the railings of the bridge. Thousands can be seen from one end of the bridge to the other.

Hohenzollern Bridge (Right Bank) Wilhelm I & Horse

Soon I was at the Chocolate Museum and was in line to buy a ticket. Again, didn’t know what to expect – but did know that I’d sample some chocolate along the way. We first learned about the history, sources of the cocoa bean, methods of processing, and finally a demonstration of how it was made. From there, we saw how chocolate became popular, how marketed, how sold, and then the gift shop. I bought some Belgium chocolate because it looked good – and it was!

Rather than walk along the river, I took a route through the city to get back to the hotel. Because of the age of the city, it wasn’t a direct route – which was fine with me. Got to see some of the older parts of the city and walked by many restaurants and biergartens. It being Friday, many people were enjoying their beer and getting a head start on the weekend.

Cologne Old City Street

Another View of Cologne Cathedral

Before heading into the hotel, I visited the church across the street. I discovered it wasn’t open like the Cologne Cathedral, but you could walk inside and see the sanctuary from behind a gate inside the entrance. ┬áThe church’s name, according to the sign outside, is: St. Maria Himmelfahrt (Missione Cattolica Italiana).

I also picked up my ticket from the train station for tomorrow’s trip to Darmstadt. There are many options to get to Darmstadt but picked the one with the fewest transfers and the one transfer that I have, there is a 36 delay before the next train starts. This will get me into Darmstadt early so I can rest, but also visit a museum that Cousin Molly recommended, just next to my hotel. I’ll meet them at 6:15 and we’ll walk to dinner. Looking forward to seeing Ori and Cousin Molly again!


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