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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas cruise on the Danube River - Dec 29th/2014....

Today, I slept in late and skipped breakfast.  It was very cold, especially standing outside while the ship was moving, so I did not take any photos during the cruising between Koblenz and Cologne.  However, I did take a few photos of Cologne Cathedral when we approached the docks.

Before lunch was our second Fruhschoppen - the centerpiece was a whole suckling pig which they carved at a table in the lounge.

It was a dark, cold wintery day as we pulled into Cologne for our Walking Tour and Cathedral Visit.  Cologne is located on both sides of the Rhine River, and was founded and established in the first century AD as a Roman military headquarters.

Besides its medieval economic and political significance, Cologne was an important center of pilgrimage when the Cathedral acquired in 1164 the relics of the Three Wise Men, which are an important theme of the Cathedral’s art to this day. 

The most important site covered in the walking tour was, of course, the Cologne Cathedral.  I have been here on two previous occasions and I have felt overwhelmed both times.  It is unusually complex in terms of its elaborate decoration, its splendor and its size. 

The tour of the Cathedral’s interior was the best one I have had compared to the previous two tours.  The tour guide covered some of the most important treasures contained within the Cathedral.  The most celebrated work of art is the Shrine of the Three Kings, which is a huge Romanesque reliquary made by Nikolaus von Verdun between 1190 and 1220.  It is traditionally believed to hold the remains of the Three Wise Men.

The entire Cathedral is one of the most significant architectural and engineering accomplishments in European history.

Since some passengers were scheduled to depart on Dec 31st, supper was a farewell to them - this was one of the very best suppers on the cruise.  The amuse bouche was smoked salmon mousse on pumpernickel, then the butter fish and scallops; and for the soup, the cream of potato.  For the main course, the grilled sea bass and rock lobster - I always have a hard time passing on lobster.  I selected their white wine.  For the dessert, they offered a buffet with a wide selection of items; it was similar to the dessert buffet which they had on the very first night of the cruise. 

After dinner, there was a string quartet playing various classical music selections.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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