Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Arlo and I figured out how to take the train to Köln yesterday. This is the largest city (although not the capital) in the state of Nordrhein Westfalen. I think I will be going to Köln often as it takes less than a half hour and is in the range of the monthly train pass that I purchase. The train pass is good after 2:00 on weekdays and all day on weekends.

For this first trip we focused our attention on the Köln Dom, the medieval cathedral. The cathedral was begun in the 13th century (1265 to be exact) and worked on through the mid 1500's but work stopped for 300 years. In 1842 construction resumed (using the original plans) and was completed by 1880. During the war, most of the medieval windows and other items were removed for safe keeping and so the originals are in the cathedral today.
We walked around by ourselves for about an hour before taking a tour in English. Unfortunately, you cannot enter the oldest portion of the cathedral during confession so our tour did not take us there. We did, however, see much of it on our own. I would love to take the tour through the excavation site (there was an earlier church on the site that dates back to at least 870) but the tour is only in German ... so it will have to wait (she says with great optimism).

On a lighter note, we also walked down the Rhein to the Mmmuseum. This is a chocolate museum. It was very interesting. I had no idea what the cocoa tree and its bean looked like. (This is a picture of the tree with its blossom. There were no bean pods on the trees but they are about 20 times the size of the flower.) The museum has a small, operational, chocolate factory. It shows each step, from the extraction of the cocoa powder and cocoa butter down to the wrapping of individual chocolates. And of course we got to taste the result.


Chris said...

Yes Mr. Simpson, ve understand! After all, we are from the land of chocolate!

Mmmm.... land of chocolate...

A chocolate museum sounds awesome! By the way, after you get addicted to Rittersport chocolate, which is infinitely better than what's easily available in the US. (Happily, you can find Rittersport in finer stores in the US, but it is about 50% more expensive than in Germany...)

Macht Spass!

Derek said...

Mmmmm, that mmmmuseum sounds ammmmmazing!

Welcome to blogging!

I'll be subscribing to read your stuff regularly. Woo-hoo!

Arlo said...

Cool blog! I like the color scheme. Mostly blue, what a surprise. Did you get a chance to do any knitting in the Kölner Dom?

Looking forward to more reading more posts. By the by, who's your photographer?

Love, Arlo

Eric said...

A blog, what fun--it looks promising, Kat!

I fondly remember a certain brand of chocolate from my time in Germany, name of Alprose, I think it was Swiss (Italian-Swiss?). They made a few kinds but the best were these huge bars with chocolate creme filling inside the chocolate outer layer (which had its own special yumminess too). Eating that chocolate always gave me such a special feeling (now what *did* they put in it!). If you notice it somewhere, let me know where and perhaps I will smuggle some across the border :)

Donna said...

After reading the other comments I've decided that all I want for christmas is some great German Chocolate

Anonymous said...

Oh I love Köln! When I was living in Lithuania we took a trip there. the cathedral is breathtaking! Love the pictures.