I cannot express how excited I was that we were headed for Cologne when we cast off from Kinderdijk! Again, the journey is long, as I showed in the last post, but I definitely had to contain my excitement as not to look too crazy. I studied abroad in Bonn, Germany (which is a short train ride from Cologne), and I spent a notable amount of time in Cologne while I was there in 2004. Plus, the added bonus of that short train ride made it possible for me to show Henry…AFTER NINE LONG YEARS…precisely where I was living, walking, studying, and breathing while we had just started dating one month before I left for Europe. As you can see, there were many reasons I was excited to see the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe as we made a turn along the Rhine River.
The bridge you see is heavily traveled by train, and a train passes by once per minute on average. Nonetheless, we docked just past this bridge just in sight of the amazing chocolate museum that I remembered visiting so vividly from my last trip. Even with my love for chocolate, I passed over the option to visit this time since I had already been before. Mindy and Gordon went though!
What I haven’t shared yet, however, is that I was itching to get off of Tor because of my excitement for Cologne; plus, we’d been onboard since 11:15am the previous morning. By the time we docked, I was practically at the door waiting for them to tell me it was safe to walk off the ship and venture into the city. I couldn’t wait to see familiar sites!
I must give major credit to my awesome husband for a moment though. In our alone time touring, our time touring with our cruise group, and in our venture to Bonn (still to come), I was so impressed with this photo that he captured of the front of the Cologne cathedral. I just LOVE it!
Just after he snapped this photo, we ventured to the left of this photo and headed into the train station! I was DETERMINED to make it to Bonn and back within less to 2-3 hours.
It. Was. Totally. Worth. It.
This would be the house that I lived in for 6 weeks while I studied abroad. I was disappointed to see that it’s not used for the same purpose anymore, but, all the more, it was exciting to see Henry’s face as he looked at the house, the surrounding area, and visualize FINALLY where I was as I spoke to him all that time ago…when our relationship really grew. I even was able to take him to a main center of town to show him the Town Hall! Mom and Dad, just behind me was the store at which I replaced my trust “House!” (aka, my Samsonite).
What was even more exciting for Henry and I is knowing that we were traveling in region of his paternal ancestors and my maternal ancestors. This day provided us a lot of personal significance.
To add to that personal significance, our AMAZING maître d decided to have the wait staff slightly serenade us for our anniversary.
After dinner, Mindy and I had encouraged the guys to take an optional tour which included …excuse me…FOCUSED on beer! Well I certainly don’t drink beer (gluten anyone?), and Mindy’s busy growing new life , so we wanted the guys to partake and enjoy! They certainly enjoyed time with many of the other men onboard, and some other brave ladies, sampling a variety of Kolsch beers.
At the end of the night, we repeated our activities from the night prior and closed down the lounge/bar with friends/fellow travelers. This was definitely a highlight day for Henry and me!