Day four of our German adventure was an extra special day. It was Steve’s birthday!
We caught our train around 10am. We had made reservations, and it is a good thing we did. The train car was packed, and since people didn’t necessarily get in the right end of the train car it took close to 10 minutes for everyone to squeeze past one another and find their seats. There was a student girl sitting at our table who was quite friendly, at Wurtzburg another student girl joined our table. Both girls were very interested why we were in Germany on holiday instead of in America with our family. When we explained that it was too close to time to deliver the baby they agreed it was nice to be traveling instead of just staying home.
When we left Nuremberg there was very little snow left. As we got to Frankfurt the amount of snow outside got greater and greater. Frankfurt was covered (the airport had been closed the day before) and then somewhere past Frankfurt the snow just disappeared. By the time we got to Cologne it was snow-free again.
After checking in and dropping our bags at the hotel we hurried over to the TI to get information for our three night stay in Cologne. We asked if they had any information on restaurants open over Christmas, and they had an excellent printout with over one hundred restaurant listings. Only a handful were open on Christmas Eve for dinner, and a few more open for dinner on Christmas Day. Well done to the Cologne TI for having such a helpful resource.
The Roman museum that Steve wanted to see was closed on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we scurried across the street to get an hour or so there.
They had some great collections of things that had been found locally (but we would find a better museum a few days later in Trier). Koln had been an important Roman outpost and they had all sorts of Roman things found in the local area arranged by type. Not much English description so it was more of a fast look-see than much actual ‘learning.’
These glass shoes had been buried with a prominent citizen. Shoes were important to be able to ‘wear’ to cross the river into the afterlife. These glass ones weren’t exactly ‘practical’ with the neck of a bottle at the toe!
The Christmas market was just outside the museum, so we had a quick look around there. It was much smaller than the market at Nuremberg, and had a more diverse set of stands. Nuremberg’s stands were carefully restricted to traditional food and gift items, but at Cologne they also had interesting modern things. We saw a pretzel stand, and I asked for a warm one. SO YUMMY. Fresh, hot pretzel. Amazing!
For dinner we found a beer hall. The beer in Cologne is sold in tiny little .2L glasses and the waiters carry it around in little custom made trays with slots for the glasses. Wish I had taken a photo of that.
After dinner we stopped back at the market to find a ‘birthday dessert’ for Steve. Just before closing time we found a stand selling chocolate covered apples, and pears! Steve got a white chocolate covered pear – which was really excellent. Maybe I’ll make him one for his birthday next year.