COLOGNE, GERMANY – 2016 CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND CATHEDRAL

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December 17, 2016

The final stop for the river cruise was Cologne, Germany.   Founded in the 1st century AD as a Roman Colony, Cologne has a vast history.   I , of course, was there to see the Christmas Markets and to visit it’s huge Cathedral.

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As you can see, the Christmas Markets were  so crowded, it was difficult to navigate  through the crowds.

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Though I still managed  to enjoy  some Christmas baubles.

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I would love to see  the  giant cow who wears this.

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It took  almost 700 years to complete the building of  the  Cologne Cathedral , 1248 – 1880.  It is massive in size and quite dirty.

 

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The gold sarcophagus is believed to hold the remains of the Magi, the 3 kings that visited Jesus after his birth,  making  the Cathedral a major pilgrimage destination. The remains were given to Cologne  from Milan, Italy in 1164.  The shrine to hold them was built by artisans from 1190-1220.

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Close up of the sarcophagus ( borrowed from the Internet).

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This Madonna  shrine shows many of the  pilgrimage offerings left behind.  There was also 2 large framed cases full of more  relics hanging beside the Madonna.

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The Cathedral is also filled with  enormous and spectacular stained glass windows.

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Least we not forget  – the aftermath of WWII.

 

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

Thanks for traveling alone the Rhine River with me!

RUDESHEIM, GERMANY – 2016 CHRISTMAS MARKETS

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Dec. 17, 2016

Rudesheim, Germany  was another enchanting  town along the Rhine, guaranteed to steal your heart.  Existing back  as early as 1074 , in 1818  officially became a town and known for its wine making.   It was delight to walk the hilly, windy  streets  that weave through the town and see…..

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epic aristocratic homes, such as this one built in 1542,  now the home of Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum

( the topic of my following blog)…..

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the  half-timbered buildings…

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with the old time guild signs hanging from many…

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and, of course, the Christmas Markets..

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with their Kohler “kiss” candies….

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their decorations and…..

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Christmasy trinkets.

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Rudesheim’s  Markets even had a large  train and town  set to bring alive that  kid in your heart   so many of us had forgotten about.

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Lastly , lit up like a fairy tale against the dark night sky  is  the  65 foot Eagle Tower from the  15th century town’s fortification .

Rudesheim was such a captivating town,  it left me wanting  to explore it’s many more sights, but alas, time  ran out and it will have to be saved for another time.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN COLMAR, FRANCE / ALSACE REGION

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December 12, 2016,  Second Stop

Second stop of the day after Riquewihr, Germany  was Colmar, France in the Alsace Region.   Colmar is another picturesque  town full  of 15th and 16th century half-timbered buildings.

The Christmas tree is believed to have originated  in   Alsace in the 16th century when it was part of Germany.  The Christmas Tree  custom spread to other countries by way of marriage.   The Christmas decorations were everywhere!!

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These buildings were in  an area called  Petite Venice in Colmar.

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Birds of the day…

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

BADEN-BADEN, GERMANY – CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2016

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December  14, 2016

Baden-Baden, Germany is the stop of the day as the river  boat navigates along the Rhine.  A picturesque  city that borders the Black Forest and is well known  for the  mineral water spas and the upscale casino.

As usual, I enjoyed the beautiful  buildings, the Christmas decorations and Christmas Markets such as……

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Beautiful  buildings…..

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Beautiful decorations…

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Just a reminder that this is Germany……

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Plus this endearing  little  couple who were quietly  enjoying the afternoon.

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The Loewenstein  Restaurant  had lavish decorations starring their logo “Lion” but also includes  Santa  with his sleigh and reindeer ……

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Christmas Market Huts lined the paths of a  beautifully maintained park lawn with  city buildings and the hills  of the  Black Forest  as their backdrop.

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This market hut wins for the most numerous items in their decoration and this is only half of it.

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Plus an Angel’s Himmelspost an d Christ Kind, which translation  I pieced together means a sky-post for the German Santa.

 

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There were  also a colorful  “stained glass’ displays  made by school children at the Markets

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One a side note – I  couldn’t resist trying this cute gingerbread martini with dinner.  While it tasted pretty darn good,  it was also a bit strong so I sipped it very slowly.  Then I noticed….

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the gingerbread man was not too  fairing well .  I  decided that was a prediction of things to come.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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