Köln Waterfront Church

Köln (Cologne) is located in the largest city in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Köln survived the largest bombardment of any city in Europe by the Royal Air Force In World War Two. It was nearly destroyed in the process but has been thoughtfully reconstructed. This waterfront church is a example of the reconstructed city.

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Köln Waterfront Church

Cathedral Garden Köln

We toured Köln with Claudia, a truly awful guide. Most of the guides we had on our Viking River Tour were exceptional but not Claudia. She was so awful we eventually turned off our headsets and strolled behind her. We got tired of hearing her psycho babble about World War 2 and how awful the Americans were. Köln was the most bombed city in Germany and the destruction was truly awful but we wanted to learn about the culture of the city, not a faux history lesson on the war. Once she pointed to a picture of Eisenhower and refereed to him as General MacArthur, her knowledge was not only prejudicial but inaccurate.

However she did point out one thing we might not have noticed on our own. This is the beautiful terrace garden and sculpture along the back of the Cologne Cathedral. Pretty on a gray rainy day but probably wonderful in the Spring and Summer.

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Cathedral Garden Köln

Cathedral Garden Köln

Rhine River at Köln

Köln (Cologne) is located in the largest city in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The river is very wide here compared to further downstream and flows at a steady current. Köln survived the largest bombardment of any city in Europe by the Royal Air Force In World War Two. It was nearly destroyed in the process but has been thoughtfully reconstructed. Köln was not far from Maastricht in Belgium and considered by the Allied forces to be the gateway to Germany strategically.

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Köln Waterfront

A Railroad Tunnel

It was a beautiful day to be on a river cruise. We were sailing though the Rhine Gorge when I took this image. I thought it was another castle along the Middle Rhine which is a UNESCO site for over thirty castles that line this part of the river. I was later corrected and found out it was nothing more than a railroad tunnel. Ah Germany, yes a railroad tunnel. You can see the opening behind the tress.

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Railroad Tunnel

Railroad Tunnel

Saint Goar Germany

Along the Rhine River in Germany there is a stretch of the middle Rhine known as The Rhine River Gorge. It is a popular name for the Middle Rhine Valley, a 65 km section of the River Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen in Germany. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in June 2002 for along this stretch the river is lined with over thirty castles, the most notable being Marksburg Castle which has never even been partially destroyed.

The stretch also has lovely little villages and towns like Saint Goar. This view was taken from a Viking river cruise ship.

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Saint Goar

Saint Goar

Skiing the Rhine River

Part of our excursion was on a river boat cruise ship, The Viking Hiln. Al the Viking ships have weird Nordic names. The ship, service and food were exquisite and a tip of the hat to Camelia for running the best bar on the river and Sharon our great program director. Part of the joy of the ship was enjoying views from our veranda as we cruised the river.

It was a cold day but it didn’t stop this brave guy from challenging the river. This was taken from our veranda between Heidelberg and Basel.

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Skiing the Rhine

Skiing the Rhine

Strasbourg France

I have always kinda had a secret love affair with France. As a history student I always respected the role they played in securing our freedom from Britain. Yet Americans seem to love Britain and hate France. Go figure! I mean one of the symbols of our freedom was a gift from France.

Personally I married a French Teacher and 45 years later she still makes me melt when she speaks French to me. We have been to France together a couple of times but on this years junket through Europe we would only be in France for one day.

That day would be in Strasbourg which is a place we always wanted to visit. It is interesting because it is on the border between France and Germany and sovereignty has flipped back and forth many times over the centuries. It is a beautiful city and sits on an island between tributaries of the Rhine river.

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Strasbourg France

Strasbourg France