Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Approaching Cologne, Germany

Our dinner last night was quite enjoyable.  We shared a table with Joan and Ken from Nova Scotia.  There is one sitting for dinner (7 p.m.), and seating is open.  DH likes this setup because we can sit with different people every night.  That part I enjoy, but I miss getting to know individual servers who learn what you like and don't like.  My sister and brother-in-law would be so proud of us -- we are "dining" rather than "eating" and often spending two hours at the table!

Cruising overnight was uneventful, and we awoke late to a very overcast sky.  Rain is inevitable today, but we will survive!  When we visited Gdansk several years ago, it was pouring rain and it turned out to be one of the best days of our trip.  Maybe Cologne in the rain will be the same.

The Felicity offers two choices for breakfast:  buffet in the dining room with made-to-order omelets and a variety of other hot and cold dishes, breads, fruit, etc., or a light breakfast in the lounge with rolls, juice, coffee, tea.  Although the food choices are limited compared to ocean liners, we find no fault so far.  Wine flows freely during dinner.  There is a one-hour cocktail hour before dinner where drinks are 2 for 1.  No complaints there!

The river is wider than the man-made canal leading from Amsterdam to the Rhine, but not as wide as I had expected.  Riverbanks on both sides are lush and green.  There are intermittent industrial areas.  Occasionally, you can see a small village with lovely homes.  Once per hour or so, you can see trailer parks/campgrounds with older, small campers.  Apparently, Germans rent a camping space by the year along this part of the Rhine and leave a camper parked for weekend visits.  Interesting!

The main attraction in Cologne is Kölner Dom.  The Cologne Cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe.  Building commenced in 1248.  Although the cathedral was hit by 14 aerial bombs during World War II, it remained standing.  The incredibly tall building was perfect for allied aircraft to use as a landmark from which to calculate bearings to other bomb targets in Germany and Southern Europe so the cathedral was left intact for future missions.  Think of the stone masons and other workers who toiled over the centuries to construct this magnificent edifice.  Never would they have imagined that their efforts would aid a future generation defeat a horrific enemy.

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