Cologne photos

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Coming from the autobahn, this is the bridge that will take you to Cologne. The city is split in half by the Rhine

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The old city of Cologne

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Heumarkt, the biggest square which features the statue of Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia, on horseback

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The fishmarkt houses, dating back to the medieval ages but have been reconstructed after the heavy bombardment in WWII.
The Romanesque church of Gross St. Martin is seen in the background

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The steps leading to the Cathedral. The plastic sculpture of Adonis (?) is out of place though

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The fishmarkt square facing the Rhine river is a great place to cuddle

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A Rhine ferry

A thing called Germanophilia

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 map of Germany
(courtesy of petsgoeurope.com)

 It took me a while to develop a liking of Germany. The country is fantastic but let’s face it, their notorious “country-invading” history has somewhat restrained me from developing an all-out enthusiasm for the Fatherland.

Lately, however, thanks to our stubborn desire to keep getting out of Brussels every weekend (it being the epitome of depression, hubby says), we always find ourselves driving past the border, towards the Rheinland, as if some magnetic force is attracting the steering wheel to swerve in there.

In fairness, we have always been fascinated about German architecture, culture and history. Never mind the language! It sounds quite aggressive, i know, but we cannot do anything much about it. On the contrary, it is extremely advisable to learn few basic words so we don’t end up eating horse sausages or a plate of sour cabbages!

Blame it on Stolberg! one medieval castle and a staggeringly beautiful village really started it all…. this fondness of Germany… this thing called Germanophilia which is slowly creeping up on me!

And so, last weekend, we drove to Cologne and Bonn, the two big cities, after Aachen, closest to Belgium. The two are just ten minutes driving distance between each other. Up until now, despite the aches and stiffness caused by excessive walking, we still cannot believe that we finally made it there!

But even before that Cologne-Bonn weekend, while surfing the net, I stumbled upon a site which opened up to an even more awesome trip that involves the Rhein river itself. It’s an excursion that we simply have to do….. The amazing Rhein with its medieval castles!

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 map of the Rhein with its castles

We almost took that trip last weekend, but we thought, two days is simply too short to absorb it all. We needed to take our time, deeply immerse ourselves into the staggering beauty of this part of the Rheinland…. one castle at a time. This will be another holiday of a lifetime. And how best to prepare ourselves than to, first, get a flavor of it, from where it is supposed to start… from Cologne and Bonn… the gateway cities to this strip of the Rhine.

I am now preparing for a big itinerary of this absolutely romantic trip which will be incorporated into our driving journey back to France in less than two weeks! I can’t wait!
 

Grand-Port-Philipp, Gravelines, France

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Colosse nu assis (Colossus seated nude)…by Rembrandt Bugatti
Displayed at the museum grounds of Gravelines
Rembrandt Bugatti is the brother of Ettore Bugatti, the Italian automobile manufacturer. Bugatti, the sculptor, committed suicide later.

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The church of Grand-Port-Philippe

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A café-bar seat.  I love the burnt-wood effect!

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A typical French town hall (Mairie) with the famous motto of the Republic – Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood