Thursday, January 15, 2009

Germany Trip: Cologne

I don't really have an order to my posts about Germany. It's just kinda what I feel like writing about at the time and it happens to be Cologne, or Koln, right now :-) Mom and Dad took us to Cologne on Sunday. We weren't sure what we would be able to do, since many places are closed on Sundays there, but we actually did quite well!

When we first got to Cologne and parked, we went by the Dom, which is a huge Cathedral. It was magnificent! They had services going on at the time, though, so we walked over and checked out the Christmas Market first, then went back to see the Dom. The inside was as magnificent as the outside! There were paintings, sculpted pillars, huge stained glass windows, beautiful tile work-it was a lot to take in at once! The Dom also had several crypts, including the crypt that contained the remains of the Three Magi. Most of the crypts were quite plain and you could walk right up to them, but the one with the Three Magi really stood out. It was in a glass box and surrounded by an elaborate fence, so you couldn't get anywhere near it, and the crypt itself was made of gold.

Seeing the crypt of the Three magi was one of the main things my parents wanted us to experience while in the Dom, the other was climbing the spiral stairs of the bell tower. Before my sister and I even went up, my parents took our backpacks. They had done it before, knew how rough it was going to be, and they weren't doing it again. Even though my mom had described it to me before, I wasn't prepared for what it was really like. Katie and I started climbing the 509 narrow spiral steps fairly well staying to the wide part of the steps. It wasn't until I realized that people came back down the same way that we were going up that it started to get scary. We ended up having to move to the inside of the steps, climbing with nothing to hold onto and only the ball of our foot on a step as we turned sideways for people to pass. I started dreading hearing footsteps from above and the more I climbed in circles, desperately trying to catch my breath, I began to get light headed and nauseous. I kept thinking that we must almost be to the top and Katie asked if I had been counting steps. We did finally make it. Maybe it was the lightheadedness, or something about being that out of shape, or the grins people gave us when they saw our relief at the top, but we just laughed! I'm glad we did it, though. The view was beautiful, even through the dreariness and raindrops, plus we can say "We did it!"

After making the great decent back down the bell tower of the Dom, we took off, through the rain, to find the Lego store, but being Sunday, it was closed. Luckily, we were going to Munich and they had a Lego store there. So we found the car and headed to the Chocolate Museum. Even with the help of 2 different navigation systems, we could not find the Chocolate Museum. The navigation systems kept taking us to what we thought was the wrong spot, but it turns out they were taking us to an underground parking area that we needed to go to in order to go to the museum. We did find it after a nice long walk, though. There was a Medieval Christmas Market in front of the museum that we went through first, then headed into the Chocolate Museum's shop. We decided against going through the museum due to time and the fact that we wouldn't be able to understand any of it anyway being that it was all in German. I did a lot of my shopping for family and friends there. Who doesn't love chocolate, right?

That was my experience in Cologne and it was definitely a memorable one! Check out the slide show to see some pics!

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