I’d reasoned that Cologne, the city, must have some European-esque twist to its pronunciation to keep from sounding like perfume. That’s what I get for thinking. Cologne, the perfume, is named after Cologne, the city, because the fragrance was born here. The original scent reminded its discoverer “of an Italian spring morning, of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain.” I’m taking his word for it since my allergies are cranky about that sort of thing. The most famous Eau de Cologne is 4711, named for the shop’s specific location at Glockengasse No. 4711. Visitors still buy the scent at that address—complete with turrets and glockenspiel—some 300 years later.
Our first stop on this first tour of our trip, set the bar at ULITMATE. In a continent of
magnificent edifices, Cologne’s cathedral attracts more visitors than any landmark in Germany. A pair of soaring, filigreed spires heighten its façade to the largest on any church in the world. As we walked up the hill toward it, a flock of heart-shaped balloons flew up to announce another wedding. Aside from the holy spectacle, I was amazed by the tenacity of this work. After the first stone was laid in 1248, construction continued off and on through 632 years of wars, plagues, depressions, and political reverses. Yet that Herculean effort dwarfs when you consider the labor and resources required to
maintain this intricate building packed with priceless treasure. Even the 14 bombs the Allies hit it with during World War II couldn’t stifle the relentless will that keeps those spires soaring.
Back at the River Navigator our Welcome Aboard festivities continue with lots of free drinks, gala dinners and an unexpectedly humorous instrumental ensemble in the lounge. During one number the violinist ascended the shrieky limits of her instrument for bird call solo. The other two musicians lost patience and put their instruments together to shoot the bird. Our dinners are long and social which is often hard for me, but everyone is friendly, and conversing with all these veteran travelers is a joy. My only challenge so far is finding time for everything I want to do.
For a unique collection of photos stylized by Dirk VandenBerg (who also took this cruise) please click this link. http://www.dirksphotoart.com/