Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Nordrheing Westfalen, Germany

Jul 26, 2014 - Cologne (Koln), Germany (Cruise Day 3)

7/26/14, Saturday Home to one of the most iconic cathedrals in Europe, Cologne (English) or Koln (German) is a beautiful city. The Germans call the cathedral a "Dom". The twin towers, filigreed detail, beautiful carved stone and the sheer size of it are ultra-impressive. Inside, it continues to astound, with soaring massive stone columns supporting a gorgeous roof high above (141 feet high). The Dom was started in 1248, consecrated in 1322, and worked on and added to until completion of the twin spires in 1880. The gold Shrine of the Three...

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Trip Journal

2014 European Trip

Jul 3, 2014 - Irrland

Wow! Today was a full day for the Verbanszky family. Our host family had quite a collection of brochures of things to do around the area. I spent quite some time going through them and picking out the ones I felt would be fun or different for us to do. One of the brochures that stuck out to me was of an Bauernhof-Erlebnissoase called Irrland near the German village of Kevelaer-Twisteden. Irrland is a hybrid of amusement park without mechanical rides and lines and a giant playground geared up to 12 year olds. The best part of it is: it only...

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Jul 2, 2014 - 27 June Cologne

27 June 2014 We dock In Cologne early morning, we do not go on the scheduled excursion, as we have a very busy day tomorrow and we must pack ahead for Sunday departure, so instead we do our own thing and have a walk around town. You do not learn as much when you do not gave a guide, but we can still enjoy the atmosphere and admire the architecture. Cologne boasts over a dozen Romanesque churches including the Dom, the famous Cologne Cathedral the construction of which commenced in 1248. The origins of Cologne are as far back as 50BC when...

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Jun 27, 2014 - Memory Lane

This day was quite a trip down Memory Lane. It has been over 30 years since I have been to this part of the world. It is amazing that so many places did not change as much as I expected, triggering more memories from my childhood. I will spare you the details of all of them, and only highlight a few. After breakfast—again a delightful spread by Christine—the Verbanszkys headed out to explore parts of Bonn and surroundings to see where I spent the first 8 years of my life. We were without accompaniment today since Sigfried had to go to...

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Jun 26, 2014 - Rhein River and World Cup Fever

Izabella woke me with an excited exclamation of “Daddy!” at 6:20 in the morning. Considering how late I went to bed last night, I was surprised that I wasn't as groggy as expected. The house was free of creaks and footsteps, so I assumed all were still asleep. Thus, I attempted to entertain Izzy as not to disturb the other sleepers. Shortly thereafter, though, I heard the sound of the shower and Zenny's coos of glee in the bathroom notifying me that Stephanie and Zenobia are ready for action—or at least Zenny was. Izzy popped out of bed...

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Jun 25, 2014 - Return to Paul's Birthplace

Loud thunder jumped me out of bed late in the night. Or it felt like it was late when in reality it was only a little after 8 pm as a short thunderstorm rolled through town. Jet lag can be difficult and having incurred a sleep debt prior to our departure did not help much either. The girls were also tossing and turning and encouragement of sleep had to occur multiple times through the night. Stephanie became a human pacifier for Zenobia to help her be more comfortable through this adjustment. Morning, however, appeared out of nowhere and...

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Jun 13, 2014 - Aachen

Where has the week gone? So much has been packed into my trip so far. Each day has been a feast of experiences and sights. I'll back up to Monday, visiting Aachen and Maastricht with Rob and Tina. Aachen is a gem of a town and I highly recommend it to anyone who is wondering where to go next in their travels. Formerly known as Aix la Chapell, Aachen is the sight of the coronation of Karl der Grosse, aka Charleroi or - more familiarly to me - Charlemagne. For his coronation he commissioned a chapel to be built, which from the outside looks...

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Jun 8, 2014 - Willkommen ins Deutschland

After a wonderful day on Friday exploring Vaxholm, I officially eat my words that it is a small place. It's definitely a Nordic seaside tourist and cottage town with many charming shops and bakeries, and we spent a good part of the day hoofing it around town and then enjoying coffee and pastries. Friday evening was spent packing up and enjoying the midnight (almost) sun. The weather was definitely cool but by Saturday morning the overcast sky was replaced by brilliant sunshine and the water was glassy calm. We ate breakfast on the dock...

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Jun 1, 2014 - Cologne

We arrive in Cologne in the morning for a walking tour of the city. Clearly the biggest attraction is the Dom, the Cologne Cathedral. Supposedly it is Germany' most visited landmark. It was built on the site of a 4th century Roman Temple, with construction beginning in 1248 and not finished until 630 years later. at the time of its completion it was the world's largest building. Now it is the largest Gothic Cathedral in Northern Europe. Too big to be photographed in a single picture and the plaza is too small to get pictures from a...

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May 18, 2014 - Day 7 - Cologne, Germany

After breakfast, we reached Cologne and watched the docking. It is a very long ship to maneuver. We left the ship for the guided tour of the town. Our guide was excellent, both John and I figuring she was a spinster school teacher - very knowledgeable and very opinionated. The main focus of the tour, of course, was the Cathedral. Construction began in 1248 and was finally completed in 1880. Like the windmill site at Kinderdijk, the Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1935 the Gestapo set up headquarters in Cologne and...

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May 8, 2014 - Cologne

Thursday May 8 -- Cologne Our morning was very leisurely as we were not due to dock in Cologne until after 10:00, so we had plenty of time for breakfast and to watch the scenery along the river. We have seen many, many barges going both ways along the Rhine. Sometimes there have been two or three rafted together. It is a busy river. Our Rhine River guide books have a kilometre by kilometre key, and the river itself has kilometre markers on the shoreline. As a result, we (usually) know exactly where we are and what is coming next. At...

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May 2, 2014 - Cologne

Cologne today and tonight. Big old church, smaller old churches, shopping, more food, wine, beer, and a "pub crawl" that was more of a jog ( 4 brewpubs in 75 minutes); one beer each. The camera I used today can not work well for this blog. Good pictures you will have to see later. There are 24 brewpubs in town so we went to 1/6 of them. Tomorrow is windmill tour after a long stretch of river.

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