October 22 - Day 32
22.10.2011 - 22.10.2011 12 °C
Oct 22 Cologne - Day 32
Was still quite dark when we woke at 7 am to the sights of Cologne, one of Germany's big cities. Unlike the other cities we have visited they have not historically restored all the buildings bombed during WW II. The magnificent Cathedral survived almost intact and has been a work in progress forever. Germans joke about the fact that when the cathedral is completed the world will have ended. It is a magnificent building with incredibly fine and intricate outside structures that are like lace on a large scale. Most of the surface is black from either soot or algae. The building is so huge that it is impossible to photograph it in one shot. Inside it is a typical gothic structure with many crypts, mosaic floor tiles, silver and gold icons and huge stained glass windows. It is "ABC" but it is very special in the world of cathedrals. Being surrounded by a mix of modern architecture doesn't detract but may even enhance the "special" feel.
This is of course the home of Eau de Cologne (water o Cologne) and 4711. The original house/factory still exists.
The boat was docked next to the older centre of the city so we did our own walk without a guide. The wind was freezing and so dressed in everything warm that we have. We spent time at the cathedral and then wandered along the big shopping precinct with pedestrian access only. Saw all the shops found in any city. Lots of winter gear in the shops and prices about the same as at home. Maybe a better selection of quality leather and shoes could be cheaper than at home for the better brands. Neither of us tempted to shop as we are still suffering from the European cold and coughing and spluttering. City had a younger feel to it - again probably a function of the 44000 university students or maybe the 100 female to 95 males gender balance Returned to the ship with a nice apple strudel and had coffee.
Sailed for Amsterdam after lunch. Tomorrow is our last full day on the water before flying to Dubai on Monday. Will be interesting to see how we cope with the heat of Dubai after the last few days of very low temperatures.
Just sitting in the lounge of the boat watching the barges go past and seeing the big industrial areas along the Rhine. Still lots of human activity as well as locals make maximum use of the available sunlight. Sailing, kayaking, fishing, walking the dog, riding etc.
Tonight is gala night onboard. We get to put on whatever glad rags we have for dinner with Captain Tomas and then the crew put on a performance "that will blow your socks off" or so we have been told. It will be nice to see someone other than our Cruise Director Werney perform!!
It has been an amazing journey, 'bugs and all' but it reinforces in our minds that Australia is a lucky country and it will be good to be at home even if we are going to find it difficult to cook and clean for ourselves!