We chose Cologne because Scott is there this week for a trade show and we've decided that we need to take every opportunity to explore this side of the world while we can.
So Cologne it was!
Cologne is located in the NW part of Germany along the Rhine River. It is a fairly modern city in terms of architecture because it received extensive bomb damage during WWII. Today, it is a hub for German Media production as well as a hub for regional tourism. Cologne is famous for it's Gothic Cathedral (purposely not bombed) and we were lucky enough to stay right across the river from this beautiful sight.
Cologne is also one of the oldest cities in Europe. The Romans founded the city in 38 BC. Christopher studied Roman history this year in school so we were all looking forward to checking out the old stuff at the Roman Museum.
I'd researched a few things to do and see but mainly we wanted to just hang out and explore the city at our pace. And so we did. Our hotel was right next to a pedestrian and train bridge heading straight into the old part of town. So anytime we wanted to explore, we could walk across the bridge and end up right in the middle of everything. We walked and walked the streets watching people and enjoying the warm weather. There were always street performers out and about, rollerbladers practicing their sport (moving their legs in ways that didn't seem possible- Scott and I could have watched them for hours), tons of people on bikes, tons of people in the outdoor beer gardens singing and having a jolly good time, and tons of families in the parks.
We explored the Dom Cathedral, the Roman Museum, the Lego Store!, the Chocolate Factory and museum (Hershey, this one put you to shame!), the zoo, and the gondola over the river. We sampled the pretzels, sausage and beer. And our hotel had a great pool, so we ended up there every afternoon.
It was a great trip. Just enough tourist stuff, just enough local stuff and just enough relaxing! And more sunshine than my family could soak up! Boy do we miss the SUN!
One funny story and then I'll give you the pics. While on the gondola, we crossed through a park which also had a Thermal (spa/pool club). We were all admiring the lazy river pool and Christopher said, "Oh I wish we could go there." Then Ethan quickly responded, "Oh no, no you don't. Look down!" We'd crossed from the lazy river family friendly pool to the nudist section/pool. Oh my, that'll wake you up! Giggles all around from my three boys! and their parents too!