Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Europe Part 4: Köln

We spent our last few days in Cologne, Germany.  Our first day there was wet and cold, but Jesse and I braved the elements and walked across the Hohenzollern Bridge where they put up tons of love locks.  Once we crossed the bridge to the opposite bank, we had a great view of the city's iconic Dom Cathedral.   

We also explored the inside of the cathedral, which has impressive, grand Gothic architecture.  It also (supposedly) has the skulls and bones of the three magi, which are kept in an ornate, gold and jeweled box.  There are numerous other pieces of significant art and stained glass.   

After our tour, Jesse sneaked in what he considers an obligatory McDonald's stop.   

Wesley was so excited about taking a boat ride.  We booked a one-hour sightseeing cruise on the Rhine and enjoyed some luxe seating on the upper deck.  It was a great way to see the city, although Wesley would have preferred it if we went super-fast!

We walked around the cute city acting like dorky tourists . . .

and Wesley got attacked by the kissy monster more than once.

We finished the day with a Cologne must -- dinner (sausage, meat, and potatoes) and Kölsh beer at a Brauhaus.  

The following day, we took another fun mode of transportation -- the Schoko-Express (a really cute little touristy train).    

We took the train up to the cathedral area, where we we showed our true colors by having breakfast at Starbucks (do you see how huge those mugs are?!?)  After breakfast, we went to the museum Ludwig, where we saw (but could not photograph) a variety of contemporary art, including Picasso, Warhol, and some really out there stuff (which was fun for entirely different reasons).

After the museum Ludwig, we took the Schoko-Express down to the chocolate museum, which houses a collection much more up Wesley's alley.  We saw cool chocolate sculptures, read interesting facts about chocolate, saw actual Lindt chocolate being made, and received a free piece of Lindt chocolate and a wafer dipped in a chocolate fountain (yum!)  Those treats weren't enough, so Jesse and I scored a nice box of handpicked German chocolates from their extensive chocolate shop. 

That evening, we had another highlight: attending the Germany v. Ireland World Cup qualifying game, where we cheered Germany on to victory!  

The game definitely had good atmosphere, with tons of cheering, singing, and clapping.  Here is a video of the kickoff.  

Germany scored the first goal of the game at the first half, and we had the perfect vantage-point.

Ireland put up a decent defense, and kept the score 1-0 at the half.

It was a little cold and rainy, but our seats were covered and the excitement plus layers kept us pretty warm.

In the second half, Germany scored two more times to tremendous applause.

Germany's decisive win secured its spot in the World Cup!

We are so blessed to have had such an amazing trip!

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