The Dom Cathedral

After ordering another coffee because mine got cold when I fell asleep at Starbucks, we walked to the Dom Cathedral. It loomed in front of us, darkened from bomb explosions during World War II (1). As we entered the Cathedral, our eyes adjusted to the dim surroundings. Light from outside trickled in through the massive stained glass, illuminating the wooden pews around us.

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A feeling of solemnity came over me as I made my way to a seat in one of the old, wooden pews. It slowly creaked as I sat down. Only a select few respectful whispers punctuated the otherwise quiet Cathedral.

“Where do you want to go from here?” Kurt asked me.

“Do you know of any nearby sites?” I asked. “We didn’t bring umbrellas, so I don’t want to get caught in the rain when it’s already chilly outside.”

The gentle cadence of rain had started again. We could hear it falling from inside the Cathedral. We both looked at each other.

“Do you want to go back to Amsterdam?” Kurt asked. “I’m sure it’s still as dry there as when we left this morning.”

I paused to consider our options.

“Let’s go back,” I said. We had just experienced the whole reason I wanted to come here in the first place: The Dom Cathedral and German food. And although I didn’t get to try potato pancakes on this trip to Köln, it’s definitely at the top of my list for our return trip!

Source:

(1) https://www.koelner-dom.de/geschichte/a-brief-history-of-cologne-cathedral/?L=1

 

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German Breakfast

The October rain began to fall as we quickly made our way across the square toward a sea of red umbrellas. Red letters hung above the entrance, proudly announcing the name of our warm, dry refuge.

“Welcome to Früh,” said a man as he came from around the corner. He took two menus from the podium and led us to a wooden table, saying he would return in a moment for our order.

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A booth at Früh awaits customers. Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

The restaurant had opened for the day less than an hour before we arrived, so only one other patron sat nearby, drinking beer in silence.

I watched him momentarily, reasoning with myself that I wanted to participate in local traditions, especially on my birthday. When our waiter returned, I ordered a glass of Riesling. Kurt looked mildly surprised, but kept with tradition and ordered a beer. Soon our server returned, drinks in hand.

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Riesling and beer: breakfast of champions! Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

“Do you know what you would like to order?” He asked us. We each ordered three fried eggs with toast. He thanked us and disappeared around the corner.

I looked at my drink with mixed feelings of intrigue, excitement and hesitation. Kurt toasted to my birthday and took a sip of his beer. I raised the glass of cool, light golden wine to my lips and took a sip. It tasted so light and refreshing, I had to take another sip. By the time the server had returned with our food, I ordered a second glass of Riesling.

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Breakfast at Früh. Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

Steam rose from the plate of fried eggs topped with parsley. A smaller dish sat to the side, holding three slices of toast and a large pad of butter. Everything looked perfect.

The eggs glistened on my plate under the lights. The yolks actually looked orange and not yellow as they do in Tucson (plus, they tasted so much better than eggs in Tucson). Never before had I considered parsley as something to sprinkle over eggs, but I loved it as soon as I tried it. The warm toast complemented the perfectly fried eggs.

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Fried eggs in all their splendid glory. Köln, Germany, Oct. 2016

During the course of our breakfast, I ordered a third glass of wine, feeling as though I could totally handle it. However, instead of going straight to the Cathedral, we made a detour to Starbucks for coffee where, according to Kurt, I fell asleep for more than an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Train to Köln

The conductor’s whistle split the chilled, early morning air like the first rays of dawn as we ran down the platform toward our train, tickets in one hand and coffee in the other. It had taken longer than expected to find the correct train, but finally we jumped aboard right as the doors whooshed shut behind us. We found two seats by the window and prepared ourselves for the two and a half hour journey to Köln, otherwise known as Cologne, Germany. The train lurched forward down the darkened track, carrying us into the unknown.

“Happy birthday,” Kurt said to me with a smile. We had caught the very first train of the day with the intention of spending the entirety of it in Germany. I tapped my foot in anticipation as time slowly passed. We discussed our plans for the day, dreaming of all the possibilities ahead of us.

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Riders on the Train. Germany, October 2016

Pale sunshine flickered just beyond the horizon, illuminating the countryside as we approached our destination. Finally, the train began to slow its pace, eventually easing itself into the station and letting out a sigh as it came to a halt. 

We excitedly stepped from the train, the cold October wind and gunmetal sky forewarning us of a nearby storm.

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Arriving at the Köln train station. October 2016

 

“I hope we can find the Dom Cathedral,” I said, studying our map to determine the best exit from the station. 

“Let’s just start walking,” Kurt replied, heading for a random exit. 

No sooner had we left the station than the massive, gothic structure of the Dom Cathedral filled our entire field of vision, looming ahead and beckoning for us to come closer. “And I worried we wouldn’t find it!” I said, laughing as we walked forward. 

We approached the bottom of the stairs that led up to the entryway of the massive structure.

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We climbed upward, entering not the Cathedral once we reached the top, but its gift shop. After looking at and purchasing a few souvenirs, we decided to get breakfast before exploring the Cathedral at a restaurant recommended to us by the gift shop cashier.