2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

European River Cruise - Cologne, Germany

We were already docked in Cologne when we woke up on September 12th.  Saw these interesting buildings across the river. 
Looking out the back of the ship we could see Cologne Cathedral.  I think the whiter church in front of it is Mt Martin Church.

Mail delivery bicycle in Cologne

We took buses into town and our first stop was the Cathedral. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1996, the Cathedral is Germany's most visited landmark.  Although it has the second-tallest spires of any church in Europe, it is the tallest twin-spired church at 515 ft tall and has the largest façade of any church in the world.   Construction began in 1248 but stopped in 1473 before the church was completed.   Work didn't resume until the 19th century and it was completed to the original plan in 1880.

Dedicated to St. Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cologne Cathedral was originally built to house the relics of the three Magi, which were given to the Archbishop of Cologne in 1164.

This was in front of the church
Roman north gate.

Details from the front of the cathedral

Full-scale model of finial.  Now go back to the picture of the cathedral to see how small these look from the ground.

Lots of different gargoyles

Inside the Cathedral

I sure wished the photos could have done justice to the windows.

Notice how this window is cut in half? 

You can always click to enlarge the photo to see the details better.

Some of the organ pipes.

Despite suffering fourteen hits by aerial bombs during World War II, the Cathedral was the only thing in the city not flattened.  A stained glass window was broken and was replaced on August 25, 2007 with this one that is composed of 11,500 identically sized pieces of colored glass. 

Side of cathedral

We looked down into the area where workers created replacements for some of the stonework on the church.
Looking through the window of the Roman-Germanic Museum, we could see some old Roman flooring mosaic.  Cologne is built on the old Roman settlement of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.  The museum is on the original site of a Roman town villa. 

This wall and fountain depict the story of the Heinzelmannchen, or Elves of Cologne.  As the legend goes that there once was  race of creatures called Heinzelmannchen who, every night, finished up all the work the humans had left undone during the day.  Well of course the humans noticed that that work always got done whether they did it or not so they got lazy. 

Well the tailor's wife just couldn't stand not knowing how the work got done so she covered the floor in peas (must have been uncooked).  When the elves came, they slipped on the peas, fell down the stairs and woke up the gal.

Well this angered the elves so they ran away and never returned to do any of the work again.

This is a monument to Josef Richard Frings, a German Cardinal of the Catholic Church.  He was the Archbishop of Cologne from 1942 to 1969.   Because of his resistance to Nazism, he was elevated to Cardinal in 1946 by Pope Pius XII.

The Women's Fountain . The Frauenbrunnen is located in the inner courtyard of the Farina House. The circular fountain; which was designed by Anneliese Langenbach, depicts women of different eras and nationalities. The legend of St Ursula states that she was a princess on a trip with 11,000 virginal handmaidens to join her future husband. After setting out for Cologne, which was being besieged by Huns, all the virgins were beheaded in a massacre. The Huns' leader shot (with a bow and arrow) Ursula dead, in about 383.

The town hall in Cologne is famous for its loggia, the Renaissance façade. Erected between 1569 and 1573, it served to replace the run-down mediaeval entrance hall in front of the main hall. 

The parapet on the upper floor is decorated with a sculpture depicting the tale of the struggle between the mayor Gryn and the lion, symbolizing the power of the council. The legend tells of the fight between citizens and the church for leadership over the city.

The old Town Hall Tower was erected by the Cologne guilds between 1407 and 1414 as a symbol of their leadership over the city following their victory over the nobility in 1396 when they introduced a charter defining the new constitution of the city. With five floors and a total height of 200', the town hall tower became the first secular "high-rise building" in Cologne.  The late Gothic style tower with three tetragonal lower floors and two octagonal upper floors boasts an impressive 130 stone statues.
On the other side of the tower is the famous "Platzjabbeck", a wooden grotesque face sculpture which opens its mouth and sticks out its tongue when the tower clock strikes the hour.

In the Old Market Square behind the tower (Alter Markt) is this medieval measuring device  

Then we were mooned by the Kallendresser (approximate translation - gutter shitter), a sculpture of a man with his trousers down at the top of the facade of house no. 24.  Created in 1956, the bronze sculpture is a modern adaptation of a relief that, before the war, adorned a neighboring house #40. The origin of the sculpture is unclear but it is just across the plaza from city hall.

In the center of the Alter Markt stands a fountain with a statue of Jan von Werth, a general in the Thirty Years War.  The statue was erected in 1884. 

  Reliefs depict the story of Jan von Werth and Griet, whom Jan had fallen in love with. Griet rejected Jan - a simple farmboy - since he wasn't wealthy. Dejected, Jan joined the army. Years later he married a noble lady. When Jan triumphantly arrived back in Cologne at the head of his cavalry he saw Griet, who was full of regret, still unmarried since no rich man had proposed to her. Old and wrinkled she muttered the words 'Oh, Jan, if only I had known'.

Of course the fate of all statues is to be a roost for pigeons.

Tünnes and Schäl are characters from the Cologne puppet theater.  Tünnes is good natured and has a rural, farmer-type of common sense and cleverness.  Schäl is skinnier than Tünnes and wears a tailcoat.  Christoph Winters, the founder of the first Cologne Hänneschen puppet theater, introduced Tünnes to the ensemble in 1803. Schäl was introduced in 1847 in a competing theater run by Franz Millewitsch.  Millewitsch placed the sly figure of Schäl with the good-natured Tünnes, clearly a nudge against his clever competitor Winters.
The two characters are embedded in the culture and humor of the city, apparently personifying many traits of people from Cologne, and there are many jokes referencing the figures.  These figures stand across from the Romanesque church Groß St. Martin.

Seems like it's good luck to touch the noses of the statues so you can see they are shinier than the rest of the figures.

We went to this bar to sample the Kolsch.

Kölsch is a clear, top-fermented beer brewed in Cologne.  There is a strict definition of what is or isn't Kolsch.

Next to the bar is a store much more to my liking.  It's a chocolate store.  Just amazing at all the pretty chocolates they make.

I purchased a couple of the mint chocolates(green and brown).

Back at the ship we had to descend the gangway to get to the upper skydeck. 

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