Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany (or Koln).  The fourth largest city in Germany.  Situated between the Rhine River with a big art scene and plenty of museums.  We went to three of them in one day.  Also, the Dom in Cologne is beautiful.   A shining example of Gothic architecture; Rayonnant to be exact (French Gothic architecture).  You had to break your neck just to look all the way to the top of the cathedral.  Everything in Cologne is within walking distance and unless you are in a hurry a taxi is not needed.

Detail of a skull I found in the Cathedral.

My eyes are closed in this picture but I really loved this door.

One of the best museums to visit while you are in Cologne is The Ludwig Museum.  They have everything from Pop Art to Cubism to Graphic Art.  Opened in 1976.  There are four floors.  I suggest you start at the top.

Not entirely sure if I was suppose to be taking these pictures.  We also met a pretty pesky security guard who yelled at my husband for pointing at a picture from about a foot away.

I really thought this lady was real!

After The Ludwig Museum we hoofed it towards the Rhine River where The Chocolate Museum was.   The museum floats over the Rhine.  This was probably the one out of three museums that we could have done without.  Maybe it's because I grew up an hour away from Hershey, PA, but I was pretty much over this museum and I had seen it all before.  It was pretty boring.  I will say, Lindt chocolates are a hell of a lot better than Hershey's.  And like the Hershey tour they give you a sample.

This is a bad picture because of the glass but I wanted to show it because they are making the little round Lindt chocolates that we all know and love.

Hot cherry chocolate and a complimentary Lindt chocolate in the cafe at the Chocolate Museum.  It was the best part of the tour!

Of course I had a little bit of time to go shopping.  Cologne has a big alley way in the City Center with shops like H&M.  They have a lot of other American stores and also surprisingly a lot of Canadian stores like Lush and Bench (products.)  Then there are the little vendors in between.  I bought some Lush products and two beautiful scarves, although I didn't need them that day as it was 70 degrees in Cologne in the middle of October.  I should also mention that I saw five French Bulldogs!  Always makes my day.

The last place we went to was the National Socialism Documentation Center.  The actual museum used to be the Gestapo Prison where Russian, Dutch, Polish, German, and many other detainees were interrogated by the Nazi's.  These prisoners were tortured and held against their will for weeks, even months.  I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to be disrespectful, but you are able to walk down to the tiny and I mean tiny cells that are in the basement where detainees were overcrowded.  You can read actual inscriptions on the walls from the prisoners.  Both German and English translations are available.  Well worth the visit.  Chilling.

Schmidmuhlen, Germany

Finally got a chance to walk around a town called Schmidmuhlen.  It is very quiet but actually has some cute little restaurants and shops.  It has a grocery store called the Netto, a bakery, cafe, butcher, shoe store, drug store, florist, photography store, salon, a few banks, several guest houses with delicious restaurants, an auto dealership, a beautiful church and cemetery and town hall.  There is also a small river? that runs through the town where the fish restaurant catches their fish.  I should also mention that there is one American bar not too far down the road.

 These are pictures of the Upper Castle which has been restored and now serves as the Town Hall and there is also a museum inside.

The Erasmus Grasser Fountain.

The restaurant that serves fish caught out back.

 Schmidmuhlen's cemetery.  It is very well kept and visitors go there everyday, planting new flowers and visiting the deceased.