Our Uniworld boat the Marie Anntoinette

Our Uniworld boat the Marie Anntoinette

Reception area

Reception area

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Fish merchants houses dating back to 1500's

Fish merchants houses dating back to 1500’s

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City hall

City hall

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An honor to King Edward of England

An honor to King Edward of England

The town hall

The town hall

Still part of the town hall

Still part of the town hall

Ruins of an ancient Jewish Synogog.

Ruins of an ancient Jewish Synogog.

Excavations

Excavations

Christmas markets abound!

Christmas markets abound!

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The cathedral nave

The cathedral nave

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Advent wreath

Advent wreath

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Ancient ruins under the cathedral

Ancient ruins under the cathedral

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Bell tower

Bell tower

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So after spending the day in the airports and 2 airplanes we were ready for another tower climb today.  We arrived after dark last night in Cologne, Germany to begin our long-awaited Christmas Market river cruise.  This is our second time on Uniworld boats and we love them.  It is a very comfortable boat and all English speaking which is a nice change for us right now.  Our shower on this boat is a better shower than our Florence apartment!  This morning we had a city tour around Cologne until about 11:00 and then went into the huge cathedral here which was built in 1248 – although the foundations date back to 1st century AD.  This was the tallest building in Europe before the Eiffel tower was built.  After going through the church, yes, we walked up the 570 steps to the top!  Cologne is one of the oldest large German cities and its name dates back to Roman times.  They are presently excavating an area that has been discovered to be a 1st century AD Jewish synogog.  In the Middle Ages Cologne was the most densely populated and one of the most prosperous towns in the German speaking region.  During the second world war 90 percent of the inner city was destroyed and is now the 4th largest German city.  After walking down from the church bell tower we went through the Christmas market located right next to the cathedral sampling the Bratwurst and struedel.  Tonight is the captains dinner and entertainment and we shove off for a new port.

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