Our cruise didn’t actually conclude in Cologne, but it was the last city we visited on our journey before cruising to Bonn for disembarkation. We had one last day in Germany, so like most of our “port” days, the morning was spent on a walking tour, and we enjoyed the afternoon on our own.
Cologne was different than many of the towns and cities we visited in that it (mostly) had a modern feel and look to it. Being that 90% of the city was destroyed during World War II, there wasn’t much left standing in Germany’s most-destroyed city. Cologne Cathedral did survive the bombing, though, and it is now the most-visited German landmark with an average of 20,000 visitors entering its doors each day!
Although construction of Cologne Cathedral began in 1248, work was halted in 1473 leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the early 1800’s, and it was finally completed in 1880. As it stands now, it is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires.
The city of Cologne is so proud of those tall spires that building restrictions require other buildings in the city center to be shorter in height than those spires. As a result, the cathedral can be seen from all around the city.
Like all old cathedrals in Europe, it is constantly undergoing renovation; so, there is a permanent workshop on site and 65 full-time employees doing the work. I’m quite sure their jobs are very secure…
Speaking of “65,” the cathedral still has 65% of its original stained glass windows, and they are absolutely stunning when the sun shines through!
Beyond the cathedral, Cologne is a TV and media hub for Germany as well as an important cultural center. It is also home to one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe.
On a personal note, one of my favorite things about Cologne is the Lindt Chocolate Museum. When my mom and I visited Cologne on our 2011 river cruise, we spent a very rainy afternoon there, and it was fabulous! It was a gorgeous day during this visit, so Bruce and I opted for just a quick look in the café and gift shop.
The remainder of our afternoon was spent walking and taking in the sights.
We were a bit sad it was our last day of the cruise! Our day in Cologne ended with enjoying the sunset on deck and sharing a last evening with our new shipboard friends, Margaret and Bill.
My next and final cruise post will be about life aboard our ship, River Voyager. Stay tuned!