Away we go on the Rhine
But not for a few hours as we first have a half day trip to Zaanse Schans leaving from Amsterdam. The idea is that the boat then sails without us and picks us up along the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal which runs for about 70 km before joining the River Rhine at a place called Tiel, 50 km or so from the Netherlands/German border.
Zaanse Schans is an open air museum that has been built up over the years to show traditional Dutch skills and culture. Clog making, cheese and other handicrafts are all on display as are working windmills. All quite interesting. The cheeses were rather good. Allthego was keen to bring some back but Homealone prevailed and we settled for some mustards and a special waffle syrup. The day was quite overcast so we didn’t see the windmills set among the green pastures and blue skies. Some suggested what we experienced was the more usual weather!
Back on board the boat we set off for Cologne cruising through the Dutch countryside and onto the Rhine. Much of this section of the Rhine is done overnight and we arrive in Cologne the next morning. We have a 2 hour guided walk around the city, 90 % of which was flattened by allied bombing in WW2. The Cathedral is enormous a stands out as the landmark site in the town. Underneath the streets though are other stories. A result of the post WW2 building programs has been the uncovering of Roman and Jewish ruins dating back to the 300-400s. So a programme of digging has been going on for some time.
The big attraction though is the Cathedral. It’s main claim to fame is that it holds a big be jeweled and gold-plated box containing relics (bones) of the 3 Wise men (Kings). These were brought here in 1164 and since then the place has been a place of pilgrimage for many. Once a year the box is opened and you can get to see the relics, big crowds are present. Well whatever your views are about relics like this the box is pretty spectacular with all its engravings and symbolic representations. Allthego is not so sure about the bones so wouldn’t rush here for the opening day.
We moved on from Cologne in the early afternoon for Andernach. We are to have dinner and a musical recital in a castle.