Saturday, December 21, 2013

361 Magnificant Cologne Germany

I got my days a bit mixed up but not hard to do on such a cruise as we experienced.  We did the Marksburg Castle conquering after we visited Cologne Germany...This was the 3rd day up the river Rhine not the Castle it was the 4th Stop.  Now that you know I am confused I will proceed to write about our Magnifcant visit to Cologne...Our first German city, and probably the largest maybe not sure.  But these towering bell towers of the Catholic Church here know as the DOM were the first and most pronounced thing we saw from the ship as we docked.  You could not miss them as the reach over 500 feet in the air.  What a church on the inside too seen to the left here. An engineering marvel considering the construction started centuries ago in the year 1248.

Prior to this the most beautiful church I have seen was the National Cathederal in Washington DC.  This one eclipsed that by far and many other churches on our trip did also...Is GOD pleased by these houses of worship?
Probably but at this point I don't know.  I think the cities and the people are bearing a real burden maintaining these huge gothic churches. They are obligated now to that maintenance as these churches bring tourist to see them...So if they allow them to fall down tourism will suffer so they are committed to perpetural maintenance on these works of man to honor his GOD...

The view below of the same church shows scaffolding attached to the side of the left tower.  They told us it goes on and on and never quits. They have to take out huge limestone blocks and cut new ones and put back in its place. I can not imagine the efforts this takes and the money that is spent to do so...The ornate work all over this church is just unbelievable, no wonder it was not completed until 1880. Susan and I loved seeing it and I will always remember the experience. 

We got to see a lot of other sights in Cologne like the huge triple railroad bridge seen in a picture below.  It carries over 1000 trains per day we were told.
During the war probably in about 1944 our bombers
put this baby into the river big time and shut down the trains.  It has been rebuilt exactly as it was.  We were careful not to destroy this big church though and that was probably a very wise move...We would have looked like ruthless folk had we leveled this and other churches in Germany.  A wise move by the allies.

The old picture seen below was probably taken about 1942 when the Nazi regime was riding high and the bombs had not taken their toll on Germany yet. Same church only 71 years ago.  A lot of these proud soldiers probably paid the ultimate price before the war ended.

In our walk around Cologne we ran onto a vender selling roasted chestnuts...Gosh they were good and really big ones too. I brought a few home unroasted and have them in the fridge now waiting till spring.  I will try and plant them, hopefully they will grow and someday produce these huge chestnuts that they said came from Italy.  I hope it works as they are at least triple the size of the ones I grow now.

Two other cities treated me to roasted chestnuts also I think in Slovakia and Austria.  I don't know why I like them so much but I do, some of my children have taken up the appetite for them also, some have not.

The last picture here at the bottom is Susan standing in front of the Nazi Headquarters in Cologne. It is a museum now but in the 1930's the Nazi's came to town and set up the machinery to win over the people.  They got the job done by getting into the school system and winning the children over to their militaristic ways.  Kids loved the programs it kind of replaced the boy scouts of that eara.  This was not a highlight of the day for sure, actually rather depressing to see how an evil moron like Hitler could win control of a great nation.  We had to look hard to find this place, I don't think anyone else from our ship went to this building.

But we wanted to see it and I am glad we did.  Susan was taken back with what she learned there also.  A dungeon of a jail was in the basement where they held and torchered  political prisoners who fought the Nazi takeover.

After this depressing visit we lightened things up and visited the Chocolate Museum.  Actually we were getting tired and fussy about that time of day and only got as far as the snack bar and the souvineer shop of the museum.  A huge peice of chocolate cake plus a chocolate mixed drink got us back feeling good about the day in Cologne.  After we left there is was raining pretty good we opened our umbrellas and proceeded to walk quite a spell back to the boat.  Maybe at least a couple miles and when we arrived at this great boat below we were happy to see it.

The lights were on inside the boat and we were ready to call it a day and relax.  Dinner and friends conversation was just maybe an hour away...We enjoyed these meals and the people every evening...Cologne was a nice town, lots to see that we did not but who knows someday maybe...

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