Vacation--It's Thursday--wait, no, It's Friday

Trying to remember what day is what is tough!

Studying while cruising the Rhine--there's worse places to get my reading done! 

Studying while cruising the Rhine--there's worse places to get my reading done! 

Yesterday was our first full day on the cruise. We spent the morning on the river, then got into Cologne right around lunch. 

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

Turns out, it was a national holiday yesterday: Ascension Day/Men's Day. (In other words, it started out as the Catholic Ascension Day and then got taken over/secularized by Men's Day.) In either case, it meant that Cologne was filled to the brim with people--largely, groups of men of all ages--and lots of beer and music. It was fun, though it was a little hard to get around.

Street art

Street art

We took our first on-shore excursion guided tour through the city and to the Cologne Cathedral. It was gorgeous. Sad, though--it took several hundred years to get it built and by the time it was done, it was out of style. I've made quilts like that...

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Then we had a complimentary beer tasting of Kolsch beer, which is brewed in Cologne. That's not an unfamiliar beer to us in the US but I do like it--it's a nice wheat beer, and very refreshing after what turned into a pretty toasty day.  

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, and I'm very pleased with the decisions I made in terms of outfits I packed that would give me options for 50 degrees and rainy or 80 degrees and sunny. We're definitely leaning towards the 80/sunny combo package for the next several days. 

The ones who took our picture here are a couple from Manchester, England: Angela and Ralph. We spent a fair amount of time with them last evening. They were joking that after dinner they got back off the ship to spend a little more time in Cologne and meet some locals (we didn't leave port until 11p), and sat down at a table in a bar next to a group of young men.  Turns out, the young men were a soccer team from the University of Rochester--about 15 minutes from my home! Definitely a small world.