Wednesday, March 21, 2012


we decided, on a whim, to spend the night in Cologne- or Köln in German.

I found an apartment at the last minute on Priceline, packed us up, picked everyone up and hit the road.

I didn't have a firm idea on what the plans were once we got there, but that was okay.

it was a 2.5 hour drive, we ran into one stau (traffic jam), ventured off of the autobahn, and made our way to where we would stay.

the apartment was nice. it was at the top of a building, and the owner came out when we got there to let us in. not the typical "priceline" experience.

we went up a flight of stairs, then opened a door to a private spiral staircase that led to our space. it was very clean, very minimal, and quite spacious.
the kids loved it. we ate a quick dinner and tucked everyone into bed so we could start early.
our morning was a bit slower than anticipated, but we pick our battles.

we parked and walked to the Schokoladen Museum (which also happens to be a Lindt factory)~
there is something very european about this photo...

here is the museum, it sits right on the Rhine.
the building itself is such a neat design.

we enjoyed the tour, but enjoyed all of the sampling and the souvenir shop the best. they have a chocolate fountain where a worker will sit and dip wafers and then hand them out to all of the passersby. we passersby-ed more than once.

the Lindt selection was bounteous and the scent unmistakable.

after our chocolate fix we had to check this Noah's Ark thing. if you look closely at these pics you can see a goat munching on a palm tree, which seemed very ironic to me.

so the Ark was pricey and not really something that we came for, it landed on the "maybe next time" list. ryli was tearfully disappointed. ahhhh....
(i love the shingles and the lines)
we found the car and headed to the Dom Cathedral.
we parked close, realized it was lunchtime, and noticed an all too familiar was a Hard Rock Cafe. we thought a little american flavor might liven up the brood, but to no avail. not one of the brood actually wanted to eat what he or she ordered, except Shane. he's my best eater.
so the american experience was great for 1/3 of us, and we had to locate a bakery for the other 2/3's.
a side note: those are m&m's on the cupcake, but here they're called smarties.
we strolled down Hohe Straße, which led us to the cathedral. (ß = ss, and strasse means street)
words cannot describe this place. it's the tallest cathedral in Germany, and houses the ashes of the three wise men. construction started in 1248 and wasn't completed until 1880.
i love how black the stone is. it really perfects Gothic style.
more candles lit for our angels who have passed and our afflicted loved ones.

we toured, then wandered back outside because 1/6 of us kept screaming. i won't name names.
outside we found interesting archway that dates back to 50 B.C., so. cool.
even cooler was watching my 1 year old crawl through it, oblivious. 
we also saw some random disney characters and some kind of roman gladiator, all entertaining for a fee. (and a small boy peeing right there in the middle of it all, assisted by his mother.)

the one thing i really wanted was to find the authentic #4711 perfume. i found it, and i like. it's a light citrusy/floral scent.
this was our last stop on the way out of town. we walked to the parking garage. here, you have to pay before you get to your car, then you have 10 minutes to load up and get your car out of the garage.

we didn't make it.

it takes us 10 minutes just to get everyone and everything loaded in, not to mention the time it takes to get the van out a European parking garage. it's never pretty.

so after a little assistance, and a long line of cars behind us, we paid 2 more euro and the foolish american family with the huge car was on the road again.

we made one pit stop on the way home. gas stations and rest stops are a whole other post. they are always interesting experiences....


Liz said...

stupid americans with their big cars! it made me giggle.
that cathedral is AMAZING!

Jeanie Whitelaw said...

Just amazing photos. Thanks, Kris. It means a lot to get to see these. Funny that you got one of Theo in the kitchen... is there a pattern here?