Back to Europe 2005


Cologne We stopped briefly in Cologne where we visited the beautiful Cologne Cathedral.  It was started in 1248 and although it took six centuries to build due to wars and cash flow problems, they stuck with the original Gothic design.  It is now considered the finest example of Gothic architecture in the world.  It suffered some damage in WW II but remained largely intact and has been full repaired.  The artistic and spiritual focal point is a gold, church-shaped box - the Shrine of the Three Holy Magi, containing the relics of the Magi - Gasper, Melchior, and Balthazar, plus the remains of three other martyrs. 
Rhine River and the Black Forest

We enjoyed a cruise down the Rhine River where we saw the vineyards placed strategically on the hillsides to catch just the right amount of sunlight.  Ever couple of miles there was another castle (there are 277 castles on the Rhine) placed there to allow the medieval princes and dukes to collect tolls.

We spent a evening in a lovely resort hotel in Wiesbaden.  The term "bad" means spa in German so its name tells us that Wiesbaden has natural hot springs.  Our hotel had its own spa, which we enjoyed.

We drove through the Black Forest where we were able to sample genuine Black Forest Cake.  It was wonderful!  Our Rhine experience ended at the Rhine Falls which looked very similar to the Bow Falls in Banff but much bigger.  A breakwater created a sheltered area where ducks were nesting.  Swans were here and in every body of water for the rest of our trip.

Heidelberg Castle We visited the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle.  It was built in the 15th and 16th centuries and was badly damaged in a siege by Louis 14th of France in 1693.  Only the Banquet Hall and one residence wing remained. Although it was lived in for generations after that, it was never restored. The shell allows you to see how the guard towers and some of the servant areas were built and connected.

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Back to Europe 2005