Cologne’s first impression is unbelievable ! The 800 year old Gothic cathedral stands waiting to greet you the moment you step off the train. It sits like a preening giant towering over the city and the Rhine. It is a magnificent, overwhelming structure. Once you enter the cathedral there are several chapels. In the center one you will see the Bible Window which is the oldest stained glass window in the cathedral and dates back to 1265. There is a golden shrine that houses the remains of the 3 Magi here as well. They were reportedly brought to Cologne during the first crusade.
This old Roman city is energetic and inviting with beautiful parks, relic walls and decorative gates scattered about. The only tower of the city wall,built around 50 A.D. following the elevation of Cologne to a Roman colony, is almost completely preserved. We took a gondola ride over the Rhine 300 feet above the roadways and river. The cab of our little transport swayed with the breeze. Greg is seldom affected by heights, but he did admit to an uneasy tingling in his toes. I was able to capture a photo or two from our birds eye view.
We enjoyed a traditional local meal at Fruh Bruahausen, the city’s oldest brewery and restaurant, dating back more than 600 years. The hall was populated primarily by locals which we found refreshing. Afterward, we took another leisurely stroll through the old town before returning to our hotel. We spent barely 24 hours in Cologne and left wanting more. Perhaps some day during a more extensive tour of Germany we will return.