Day #12 - Cologne, Germany

This morning we said goodbye, sadly, to Kerstin, Stefan and Kjell as we readied ourselves for the final leg of our long journey through Europe. We hope to come back again in September to visit when we do our next European Vacation. The boys had a last play with the local kids while we packed up the car...then it was time for some group photos before heading off for last sight seeing together before we left.

First stop for Matt and Stefan was the Hűtt Brewery to do a quick tour of the brewery and buy Matt some German supplies (a proper hűtt beer glass and 6 bottles of beer to go with it). Then it was on the VW Factory. Though the museum part of the factory was closed we managed to get an idea of the sheer enormity of this amazing factory....it's the size of a small suburb...WOW!!! Stefan gets to drive a car around the factory to get from one place to the next (that's how big it is). We drooled over a few new model VW's and then headed back out to the car park for our final farewell. From here the four of us continued, on our own, towards England again. Next stop...Cologne!

Cologne what a place! Not far from Bonn and home to the largest and most visited Cathedral in all of Germany, Cologne (Kőln) is a sight to be seen. The Kőlner Dom (cathedral) is unmissable. Blackened with age (aside from one small portion that has been cleaned), this gargoyle-festooned Gothic cathedral ages back to 1248 and was fully completed in 1880. Just over 60 years after it's final completion it managed to escape WWII's heavy night-bombing still largely intact. It has a footpring of 12,479 sq metres and the twin spires soar to 157m. Inside, under dim lighting, is a moody atmosphere in which you find yourself looking at an ancient alter, behind which lays the 'Shrine of the Three Magi' (c1150-1210). This shrine is said to contain the bones of the Three Wise Men, brought to Germany from Milan in the 12th century. It is guarded with gates but a clear view is still possible from these...amazing!

Once we finished admiring the cathedral we headed back to the car to take a driving tour around Cologne (Kőln). We had hope to find the historic Roman Gateway (a remaining gateway from the Roman Empire). We were not to be dissapointed. We drove right past it and gazed in amazement at the old brickwork that still holds the gateway in place.

Our next planned stop along the way to Calais is Brussells (Belgium). As we drive out of Cologne, along the highway towards Brussells we are once more astonished by the amount of massive wind turbines that seem to be everywhere throughout the European countryside. They are literally everwhere you go...every green hill seems to be topped with these spinning power making contraptions...where is this spectacular technology in countries that have even more space, we wonder? We are hoping to drive through Holland (now called the Netherlands), but maybe that won't be necessary...have already seen loads of windmills....lol.

After a few hours it was time to stop for ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner and sleep in the car....oh, can't wait to be back home in our comfy beds!

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