We locked our bags in the train station luggage lockers and walked outside.
The Cologne Cathedral loomed in front of us like a giant!!
It was amazing!
My pictures won't do justice to the way it felt to see it in person, but you can look at the size of the people near it to get and idea of just how immense it is.
It was very busy outside the station and Cathedral - -a lot of activity that might be fairly typical, but I would also contribute the excitement to the upcoming Football World Cup finals.
Germany would be playing Argentina the next day.
(Scaffolding! Its such an eye sore. We saw it several times on our trip. It's obviously necessary to keep these ancient structures secure and intact for the future, but it sure makes for an ugly photograph!)
We took a quick walk inside the Cathedral before we went on the tower climb.
Very beautiful and tall and crowded!
The tower of the Cathedral has 533 steps to climb.
Up a tiny narrow circular staircase.
People coming down as you are going up!
Sweaty stinky people...probably us too!
It was all you could do to just look at the steps in front of you as you made your way to the top...sometimes literally hugging the inner wall for support as the railing was on the side for those descending.
Once you step into a landing area you think "Ah...I'm done!"
But then you see this...
...and realize you must carry on!
Getting to the top was worth it of course.
It was a hazy day, but you could see so far around the city.
We ate some dinner and I had a local beer brewed in Cologne (a theme you may see as we travel) called Kölsch.
Then we took a quick train to our next room just outside the city.
Once we were off the train, we asked a woman walking her dog if she could direct us to the street we needed to find.
"Sprechen Sie Englisch?"
She did, a very little bit, and was able to get us headed in the right direction.
I say "headed" in the right direction because we found, on our trip, that frequently people would get their lefts and rights mixed up in English.
A seemingly small thing except not really!
We weren't sure at times if this was a funny joke to play on Americans or really just a language barrier.
Note to self: Next time I travel, learn the words for left and right!
We eventually found our way and after a good nights sleep (our jet lag was starting to fade a bit), we left our very nice host (Martina) and head back into the city for a one hour Rhine River tour on a boat and a little more sightseeing.
Our boat - the Loreley.
The Hohenzollernbrüke (Hohenzollern bridge) that crosses the Rhine.
After the boat tour, we walked through the old part of the city behind the Cathedral.
Donald had recommended that we try the ice cream and so, of course, we did!
I loved this building.
Der Löwenbräu means "The Lion's Brew".
And apparently they serve German and Italian food.
Before we head back to the station to catch a train to our next destination, we took a walk to the Hohenzollern bridge for a closer look.
While we were on our boat tour, we could see that there were padlocks on the bridge fences.
This seems a very popular thing to do on European bridges.
And now we were out of time in Cologne.
Time to catch another train!
Nächste Halt: Eisenach, Germany