Touring Cologne – Brewpubs and Market Squares in Altstadt

August 12, 2014 by tigermucha

I have been telling you about my Viking River Cruise along the Rhine and when I last left you, we had just docked in Cologne on Easter morning.  With each stop on our cruise, we had multiple options of things to do when we arrived.  Almost all stops included guided tours, which I recommend if you want to get a high level overview of the destination from an expert guide.  Many stops also included additional free time to explore the city on your own and the concierge can make recommendations or even reservations for you if needed.  After disembarking, we headed out to explore the Altstadt, or Old Town.

Brewpubs-and-Restaurants-Along-the-Rhine-in-Cologne

Our ship was docked within a short walk of the Old Fish Market, which is full of amazing old buildings that today house many fine Brewpubs and Restaurants.  And there is a lovely park that lines the area between the river and features several outdoor eating areas.

Park in the Fish Market

One thing our guide told us about this area and Cologne in general was how much damage they received during World War II.  This area is one of the few that was not heavily damaged and has an amazing amount of 14th and 17th century architecture still mostly intact.  During the war, about 95% of the city was destroyed.  Throughout our tour we were amazed at the rebuilding efforts that were completed.

Brewpubs-in-Cologne-along-the-Rhine

Because it was Easter morning, many of the Restaurants were closed or not very busy yet, along with many of the shops.  The Restaurants would be open and much busier later in the day, but the shops would be closed to observe the Holiday.

Der-Lowenbrau-Cologne-Germany

Of course, can you guess which famous beer this pub serves?

Ice-Cream-Shop-Cologne

And here is a cute little ice cream shop.

Park-View-of-Brewpubs-and-Great-St-Martins-Church-Cologne

Many families and groups of people were enjoying the park, all throughout the day.  It really was a beautiful spring day and a beautiful place to spend Easter Sunday.

Restaurants-Along-the-Rhine-Cologne

A different view of the Brewpubs and Restaurants.

Rhine-Hotel-St-Martin

Here is the Hotel Rhein. And, if you notice, towering above this section of the city is the Great St. Martin Church, which is a Romanesque Catholic Church with foundations dating back to 960 AD.

Rhein-Hotel-Cologne

Here you see it behind the Hotel Rhein.

Great-St-Martin-Church-Tower-in-Cologne

It looks imposing above these buildings, but is not the main attraction when it comes to churches in Cologne. It unfortunately only gets second billing.

Great-St-Martin-Church-Tower-Cologne

The tower was erected between 1150 and 1250.  And to the right is one of the spires of the Dom, the main attraction here in Cologne.

Top-of-the-Tower-Cologne

It is just beautiful.  Most of this has been rebuilt since World War II.

Tower-and-Flag-Cologne-Germany

I am not sure what this little tower belonged to, but it had some interesting stained glass in the top.  See the pretzel on the left?

Tower-and-Spire-View-Cologne

It may have been associated with the Great St. Martin Church.  Maybe when you visit you can find out and let me know.  There are so many things to see in Cologne and one day does not provide enough time to see but a small portion of this wonderful city.

Tower-Near-Great-St-Martin-Church-Cologne

Maybe there is a restaurant associated with the tower.  See the umbrellas on the roof top?  Oh well.  We were early into our tour and figured we might come back this way to explore later.

Tower-of-Great-St-Martin-Church-Cologne

We never were able to make it back to tour Great St. Martin Church.

Fishmarket-Townhouses-3-Cologne

And here are the real gems of the Old Fish Market Square.  These old townhouses were some of the oldest in the city.

Fishmarket-Townhouses-2-Cologne

The one in the center dates to 1685, as noted by the numbers on it’s front.

Colorful-Old-Townhouses-Cologne

They are colorful.

Fishmarket-Townhouses-Cologne

People were starting to show up for drinks and meals.

Cobblestone streets in Fishmarket Square

Oh, and in case you are wondering, you must wear comfortable shoes when touring.  Just look at all of these cobblestones.

Narrow Cobblestone Streets in Altstadt, Cologne

They are everywhere in Altstadt.  On every street, down every alley.

Cobblestone streets of Cologne

Even with good walking shoes, these cobblestones could be tricky.  They were uneven and the gaps between them would be murder on heels.  High heels, that is. And believe it or not, we did see many a lady wearing high heels trying to navigate these bumpy streets.  Some were successful and many were not.

Outdoor dining in Cologne

After our tour ended, we did stop back by the Brewpubs to get a drink.  One thing our tour guide let us know, thankfully, was that here when ordering a beer, if your glass is empty and you don’t want any more to drink, you must cover your glass with your coaster.  Otherwise they will continue to fill your glass.  Good to know.  That could add up quickly!

Enjoying a rest break in Cologne with Betsy

Here I am with Betsy resting as they have a beer.  We did lots of walking and it was always nice to take a break and sit down for a bit.

GIR-Keller-Cologne

I don’t want you to think we only toured the Old Fish Market.  We hit a lot of the Altstadt.  I am just trying to show you our tour in sections, since again, I took over 5,000 pictures.  After we finished touring the Old Fish Market, we headed to Alter Markt, which is near Cologne’s City Hall, or Rathaus.

alstadt-hotel-cololgne

Our walk from one place to the next took us through wonderful little sections of the city.  The little alleys were picturesque.

Cologne-Alley

Even the graffiti was artful and colorful.  I love the many different, bright colors of this alley.  There are many more things to show you on our tour through Cologne.  Until then….

This is not a sponsored post.  This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Humor Me – Monday Texting Humor

August 11, 2014 by tigermucha

Ok, so you know those “Back In My Day” stories that our parents tell us about how we have things so much easier and we take too much for granted?  Well, how many of you remember this from when texting was still in it’s infancy?

Texting Humor

I found this on Pinterest and pinned to my Humor Me Board.  I love it when those someecards hit the nail on the head! The kids today have it so easy!

Happy Monday!

 

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52 Lists – Favorite Kids Books

August 10, 2014 by tigermucha

52 Lists in 52 Weeks on threelittlekittens.com/blog

Here are some of my favorite books from my childhood:

  • Peter Rabbit and all of those other little “green” covered books by Beatrix Potter
  • Little Golden Books
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Nancy Drew
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Madeline
  • Berenstain Bears Books
  • Babar
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Blubber
  • Curious George
  • Heidi
  • The Stolen Talisman

Click here to see a list of all of my lists.

 

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Exploring the Garden on a Rainy Day

August 9, 2014 by tigermucha

It started raining yesterday.  We knew it was coming, they told us to expect a rainy weekend.  And they were right.  It rained all night and all day today.  But, this morning, we had a visitor exploring the garden in the rain.

Our deer and fawn

Camouflaged in the lower left corner is our fawn.  In the upper right corner is it’s Mama.

Our deer and fawn

This morning Keith watched both of them jump into the fenced part of the garden before he left to get groceries.

Our deer

It was raining, not hard, but steady, and they were getting their fill in the overgrown garden.

Our fawn

When I got up, Mama had already jumped the fence and the fawn was still inside, munching away.

Our deer and fawn

She remained close to keep an eye on her little one.

Our deer and fawn

The fawn was very busy eating.

Our fawn

It made the rounds of the enclosed space.

Our fawn

Moving from one corner to the next.

Our deer

And Mama would follow it.

Our deer

Always paying attention to any sound she heard.

Our deer

I watched them for over an hour at least.

Our deer and fawn

Here her baby comes to meet her at the fence.

Our deer and fawn

She ensures he is safe.

Our deer and fawn

And she knew I was snapping pictures of her from up the hill in our sitting room while they foraged in the rain.

Our deer and fawn

And she knew when Keith came home from grocery shopping.  But it had been quite a while that the baby had been in the garden and me being the silly worrier that I am, I made Keith go down and open up the gate so that the fawn could get out, just in case.

Keith to the rescue

And even though he was super quiet they both got spooked, but he opened the gate enough for baby to come out.  Mama was still watching carefully from the other side of the garden.

Our fawn

After a while, our spooked little fella timidly came across the garden and exited through the gate.

Our fawn

And the next thing we knew, he was coming up the hill by the wood pile.

Our fawn

At this point I headed outside to the carport to continue taking pictures in the rain.

Our fawn

And he looked right at us several times.

Our fawn

And he chowed down on the weeds along the path by the firewood.

Our fawn

He was soaking wet, but didn’t seem to care, he was filling up his belly.

Our fawn

I love the pattern in his coat from his spots.

Our fawn

Every so often he would shake himself off like a dog and continue on munching away.

Our fawn

We have had fawns in the past in our yard, but this is the first time we have been able to watch one so closely that was active.  Usually they are just babies lying in the underbrush and then Mama takes them away somewhere else.

Our fawn

But we had several hours with this little guy this morning.

Our fawn

And after coming up by the wood pile, he proceeded to the wisteria arbor.  And yes, Mama was still below in the garden, paying close attention.

Our fawn

There he munched on the violets.

Our fawn

Violets are a favorite.

Our fawn

You can see how close he is to entering our upper back yard.

Our fawn

Still soaked but enjoying the violets.

Our fawn

And some dandelions.

Our fawn

Munch, Munch, Munch….

Our fawn

And he always kept an eye on us, just like his Mama.

Our fawn

He looks like he is talking, but he was just munching.

Our fawn

And then he went through the arbor and started munching on our toad lilies.  Thank goodness we have a ton of those!

Our fawn

We still could not believe how long we were able to enjoy watching this little fella.

Our fawn

A Mama and baby living in our back yard here in town.  It still amazes me.

Our fawn

And then, he was off.

Our fawn

He quickly headed for the hydrangeas.

Our fawn

And then disappeared.  And so did Mama, at least for the rest of the day.  And it continued to rain all day.  Had it been sunny and nice, Keith and I may have been out away from home and missed this entire event.

Thank goodness for rainy day explorers!

 

 

 

 

 

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Arriving in Cologne

August 7, 2014 by tigermucha

On Easter Sunday, my friends June, Betsy and Jerry and I arrived in Cologne, Germany on our Viking Longship Ingvi.  We had already spent time in Amsterdam and Kinderdijk, Holland and had cruised the previous afternoon and night to Cologne.

Easter Baskets on each table with delicious chocolate bunnies for each guest on our Viking River Cruise

When we arrived at breakfast on our ship, we were greeted with Easter Baskets full of real, decorated Easter Eggs and delicious chocolate Easter bunnies, one for each guest on board.  The staff was wonderfully cheery and everyone wished us a happy holiday.  Breakfast was again delicious and fresh and afterward we headed up to one of the decks to view the city as we approached.

Akzo Nobel Cologne, Germany

As we neared the heart of the city we did come across large sections of industrial areas.  It appeared that there were miles and miles of large sites lining the Rhine River.  Before we left, our neighbor John told me that I might find his parent company while there and if I did to snap a picture.  He works for AkzoNobel, which is headquartered in Amsterdam.

Akzo Nobel Cologne, Germany

We never saw it while we were in Amsterdam, but guess what we passed while we were standing on deck?  Yup, a huge complex of AkzoNobel buildings.

Akzo Nobel Cologne, Germany

Of course I snapped a couple of pictures on my phone and sent to him.

Our longship, the Viking Ingvi docking in Cologne, Germany

Not long after that we docked in Cologne.  The view on the opposite shore of where we were docked was much more modern.  Cologne is split by the Rhine and the oldest part of the city, Altstadt, is immediately accessible as you leave the ship.

Ferris Wheel on the Rhine River in Cologne

There is an amusement park along the other side of the river with a huge Ferris Wheel.

Ferris Wheel on the Rhine in Cologne

The water in the river that morning was sparkling.

Barge on the Rhine in Cologne

Here is another view of the more modern side.  The river was always busy, with barges, other pleasure ships and even small boats, like the one here.

Deutz section of Cologne

This more modern side is still part of the Innenstadt and is known as Deutz.  It is part of the central city district and is an important business center.  I liked how June captured this old church amid the modern buildings.

Kranhaus Buildings in Cologne

Speaking of modern, look at the Kranhaus Buildings in the distance, behind our ship.  They are in a section of Cologne known as Rheinauhafen, an urban regeneration project in Cologne.

Kranhaus Buildings

In front of the Kranhaus Buildings is the Schokoladen Museum, the Chocolate Museum.  The three Kranhaus Buildings symbolize the areas historic ties to shipping, in the fact that they resemble cranes once used in the marina.  The Chocolate Museum is a flagship for Lindt and the chocolates were delicious.  Yes, we did visit in the afternoon, after touring all day, and it was a fun treat that I will tell you about later.

Next, we were off to meet our tour guide and head into the heart of Altstadt.

 

This is not a sponsored post.  This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises.

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Mushroom Fascination

August 6, 2014 by tigermucha

Mushrooms have always fascinated me.  I love to look, but not touch or taste.

Mushroom Trio

I get excited when I find them popping up in our yard.  Like this little trio that I spotted behind the deck last week.  They often just spring up in the mulch, seemingly overnight.  I think they are great to photograph, you can see some I have captured here.  They have cool shapes and textures.

Mushroom Trio Metamorphosis

And they sometimes go through a metamorphosis and change shape or color, like my trio.  A few days after I snapped that first photo with my phone, they looked like this.

Toadstool

Here is another little toadstool under the wisteria arbor.  Reminds me of a bell.  Almost looks like a marshmallow that’s been roasted on a campfire.

Mushroom in the garden

Something took a nibble out of this one.  Kind of looks like a shingled roof on a little cottage.

Mushroom top

And from the top, it looks very different.  Another magical thing about mushrooms.  They can take on a different appearance, depending on how you look at them.  I have always thought they were magical.

Mushroom under azalea bush

They really add a fun element to the garden.  Here is one that I found under one of our azalea bushes out front.

View from above

I like the little scalloped edges.

Is it a potato or a mushroom?

And these are always interesting.  They look like rotten potatoes growing in the mulch.

It's fungus among us

It’ just a Fungus Among Us!

Finishing Up Our Time in The Netherlands

August 5, 2014 by tigermucha

Last week I shared some photos my friend June took while we were all enjoying our Viking River Cruise in Europe earlier this Spring.  I want to share some more of hers from Holland and life on board our ship before I catch back up to our day in Cologne, Germany.

Windmills of Kinderdijk

I told you we visited the Windmills of Kinderdijk.

June by the canal in Kinderdijk

Here is June by the canal, with the wonderful Windmills behind her.

Betsy and Jerry at the Pumping Station

I told you how we toured the old pumping station.  Here are Betsy and Jerry outside the modern pumping station.

Old Door in the Pumping Station

And here is our guide leading us through the old pumping station.  The guides with Viking were all superb.  For each excursion, the passengers are divided into groups and each group has their own expert guide.  Our guide on this tour even had her grandson with her, he was the most polite young boy, and he helped her throughout the entire tour.  He was interested in learning just like we were and it was refreshing to see a young boy that was not connected to an electronics device or bored with what was going on.

Our guide explaining the workshop for the windmills

And these guides were extremely knowledgeable.  Her family actually had worked in windmills as millers, so she really was able to give us first hand information, like here where she was explaining the tools used to create the necessary parts, the types of wood used, etc.  It was all very fascinating.

Interior of workshop at Kinderdijk

These windmills were a true miracle invention for the Dutch.  And the ones included in the Unesco World Heritage Site here at Kinderdijk still are maintained using the old methods.

Windmill at Kinderdijk

They are an amazing site to see.

Kinderdijk Windmills

And here is the Museum Windmill that we visited.  You can just see a group coming across on the left from the bridge across the canal.

Small area of a bedroom on one of the upper floors in the Museum Windmill in Kinderdijk

June took some pictures of the inside living quarters of the Museum Windmill, like this area in a bedroom chamber on one of the upper levels of the windmill.  Remember I told you everything was tight?

Bed in the wall in the Museum Windmill at Kinderdijk

The beds were all inside the walls of the windmill.  They had curtains and doors to close them off and some were placed in a position where a window was so that they could look out below.  They were very sparse.  Being the windmill was round, there was not any room in the middle, that is where the central post for the pump and the stairs, or should I call them ladders, between levels were located.

Here I am climbing up a level in the Museum Windmill at Kinderdijk

Here you can see me coming up the stairs on one side.  They are not much more than a ladder.  Going down, you had to go down facing them because there just was not a way to go down forward without falling.

Tight quarters in the Musuem Windmill in Kinderdijk

Here you can see Jerry following me up and people waiting below.  Very tight quarters.  I cannot imagine actually living and working here.  All that climbing.  I guess you would not need to go to a gym, but if you broke a leg or something, oh man.

View from an upper window in the Museum Windmill in Kinderdijk

But each window on the upper floors did provide a wonderful view.

View from the main floor of the Museum Windmill in Kinderdijk

The ground floor had those big windows I showed you, and they let in a lot of light.  The rooms on the ground floor were a little more spacious because the base of the windmill was considerably wider, but they were still tiny compared to what we are accustomed to today.

Tail Pole of Museum Windmill at Kinderdijk

I told you that the caps of the windmills rotate so that they can take advantage of the wind direction if it changes.  Here is a close up shot of part of the tail pole that is used to turn the cap.  You can see members of the tour group behind it and it gives you an idea of how large just that part of the tail pole is.

Farm life in Kinderdijk

The land surrounding the windmills is beautiful, with fields, flowers and barns.

June at Kinderdijk

We really did enjoy visiting Kinderdijk.

Cruising the Rhine on the Viking Ingvi

And we were anxious to get to Cologne, but to get there we had to spend an afternoon and evening cruising the Rhine.  I told you that we had our safety drill that day and afterwards we spent time on the upper decks and in the lounge watching the scenic landscapes along the Rhine.

Wheelhouse of the Viking Ingvi

And they also had a tour of the Wheelhouse, which is the command center of the ship.

Command Center of the ship

The Rhine is an old river and has been used to move goods and people from country to country for centuries.  And, it has a lot of bridges that cross it, many of which are old and low.  So, to ensure their longships can navigate not only the rivers, but the bridges, they build a unique feature on the Wheelhouse that allows it to lower when the ship comes to a bridge that is too low to navigate any other way.

The Wheelhouse can be lowerd to pass under bridges along the Rhine

Underneath you can see the mechanism that lowers the wheelhouse when needed to cross under those super low bridges.  It was an interesting tour to see how it worked and where the captain worked.  I missed it and I am glad that June took pictures and shared with me.  I was homesick and Face Timing Keith when the tour happened, which by the way is another great thing about the longships.  They are equipped with DSL free Wi-Fi, so I was able to Face Time Keith daily when I was onboard and did not have to worry about any overseas internet or data charges.  We all took advantage of using it, either for Face Timing someone at home or emailing back and forth.

One of the many bridges we crossed under along the Rhine

Oh, and here is one of the many bridges that we crossed under along the Rhine.

Bridge as art

I love this shot June got of the bridge.  It looks like a piece of art.  Beautiful.

Countryside along the Rhine

Here is one of the many barges that we passed along our journey.  And a nice beach in a little town along the way.

Beach along the Rhine

This part of the Rhine was very scenic.  Lots of beaches, lots of people out fishing or camping and lots of pretty little towns and villages along the way.

The lounge on the Ingvi

Oh, and these last few pictures were taken while June was in the lounge.  The lounge has windows on both sides and super comfortable seating areas which are perfect for taking pictures or reading or intimate conversations.  To the back of this shot is the Aquavit lounge and terrace, where we spent a lot of time when we were on board.

Scenic landscapes along the Rhine

I really do like how they decorate their water towers.  At first we were getting really excited every time we saw one because we thought they were towers on castles.  You can see why we were deceived….they kind of really do look like they should be part of a castle.

Bicyclists along the Rhine

June even managed to find a group of cyclists while we were on board.  At least we didn’t have to worry about them running over us now.

This is not a sponsored post.  This is my experience from my trip with Viking River Cruises.

 

 

 

 

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This Year’s Fawn

August 4, 2014 by tigermucha

Look who showed up yesterday?

This year's fawn shows up in our garden

This year’s fawn!  Last year I showed you our baby after it was born.  But this year, we wondered if we had any fawns.  That is until yesterday.

Cute fawn in our garden

This little fella was walking around the lower part of our garden.  Very cautiously it would nibble on a few leaves here and there.  It mostly just seemed to be investigating.

Our fawn investigating the garden

And as quickly as our fawn showed up, it disappeared into the bushes.  And about an hour later, momma showed up in the same area, munching on the leaves where baby had been before.  Thank goodness for telephoto lenses!

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52 Lists – Favorite 80′s Bands

August 3, 2014 by tigermucha

52 Lists in 52 Weeks on threelittlekittens.com/blog

Oh man, this is gonna be a LONG list…I grew up in the 80′s and music was such a big part of that time in my life….and these are just bands, not individual artists.  Here goes, in no particular order:

  • A Flock of Seagulls
  • A Ha
  • Air Supply
  • Animotion
  • Bananarama
  • Bangles
  • Berlin
  • Go-Go’s
  • Wham
  • Big Country
  • Bon Jovi
  • Boston
  • B-52′s
  • Buggles – and yes, only that one song! Video Killed the Radio Star – back when MTV played videos
  • Cheap Trick
  • Chicago
  • Commodores
  • Culture Club
  • The Clash
  • The Cure
  • Van Halen
  • Dead or Alive
  • Def Leppard
  • Depeche Mode
  • Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Dire Straits
  • Duran Duran
  • Eagles
  • Earth Wind & Fire
  • Eurythmics
  • Foreigner
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Journey
  • Styx
  • Huey Lewis and the News
  • Genesis
  • Guns N Roses
  • Aerosmith
  • Human League
  • J Geils Band
  • Kajagoogoo
  • Katrina & the Waves
  • KC & the Sunshine Band
  • Kool & the Gang
  • Queen
  • The Kinks
  • Little River Band
  • REO Speedwagon
  • Modern English
  • Pink Floyd
  • Pretenders
  • The Police
  • U2
  • REM
  • Roxette
  • Scorpions
  • Simple Minds
  • Soft Cell
  • Spandau Ballet
  • Stray Cats
  • Supertramp
  • Survivor
  • Blondie
  • Talking Heads
  • Tears for Fears
  • Thompson Twins
  • Til Tuesday
  • Toto
  • Twisted Sister
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  • Wang Chung
  • ZZ Top
  • Metallica
  • AC/DC
  • Motley Crue
  • Poison
  • Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
  • Prince & the Revolution
  • The Cars
  • Kansas

Man, this list brings back lots of memories.  I think I need to add some of these to my Pandora stations.  I am sure there are others, but this is all that came to mind when searching the internet.

Click here to see a list of all of my lists.

 

July – Project Life 365

August 2, 2014 by tigermucha

And yes, here is another month complete, thanks to my iPhone and a few cool apps.

July Project Life 365 on threelittlekittens.com/blog

I am so happy that I am keeping up with my One Little Word challenge this year.  Opportunity has been a good choice and I am still taking advantage of the opportunities presented to me so far this year.  And I am really happy that I have successfully documented over half of the year through pictures that tell the story of this year.

I think part of what has made this challenge easy is my iPhone and the abundance of cool apps for editing pictures. I have several that are on my go to list. And I am anxiously awaiting the release of Becky Higgins Project Life app. It looks to be amazing. I cannot wait!

Until next month….

 

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