Welcoming Joe and Kate/Visiting Cologne!

On the second to last weekend in September, Russ and I drove about 4 hours to Köln, Germany to meet up with his parents, Joe and Kate. Joe and Kate had just arrived (EARLY in the morning on Saturday) in Frankfurt and taken a train to Köln where Joe was going to be attending a conference for work. Luckily we could tie the work in with some play as well. 🙂

Meeting in Cologne, Germany

After we arrived, we had a light lunch at a bakery before resting a little bit in the hotel room. Around 6pm we went out to tour the city. The main attraction in Köln is the cathedral which is massive and imposing, or as Moo says, “Brobdingnagian,” for all the Gulliver’s Travels readers out there. Because I know that many engineers are reading this, I’ll put it in some different terms. The Cologne cathedral boasts the largest facade of any church in the world with a height to width ratio of 3.6: 1. It’s big.

The Cologne Cathedral

The Massive Cathedral

Joe and Kate in front of the cathedral

That evening we went to dinner at one of Joe’s favorite spots, “The Sion Bruhaus,” where you can order bratwurst by the meter! It was crowded (which means that it’s a good place), but we were able to be seated in a cozy corner of the restaurant. Joe, Kate, and Russ tried the famous Kölsch beer of the region. The beer is served in long, thin .2 liter glasses. The tradition goes that if your glass is empty, the waiter will bring you another beer until you place your coaster across the top of the glass to signal the end of your drinking. The waiter also kept track of our beer by marking a coaster with tally marks.

.75 meters for the boys; schnitzel for the girls! Photo credit: Joe LaBarca

After dinner we walked around Köln and got to view the cathedral lit up. We walked across the bridge that straddles The Rhine. This bridge is adorned with hundreds and hundreds of bike locks all of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of the locks are engraved with the names of newly married couples and dates, others are drawn on with markers, and others still are unmarked. They represent, though, an unbreakable bond. Though the bridge is nearly full of locks, the tradition of “love locks” is relatively new in Köln.

Locks of Love

More Locks

Cathedral at Night

Köln at Night

Russ and Lauren in Köln

Thanks for this beautiful photo, Joe.
On Sunday morning we decided to take a Rhine River tour of Köln. It was a nice, relaxing way to bask in the sunshine and sea to the shores of Köln.

Kate and Lauren enjoying the boat

Interesting Bridges

Joe Sees Köln Through a Lens

Köln from The Rhine

Kate, Russ, and I left Joe in Köln that afternoon. We were returning to Heidenheim for a week of visiting while Joe attended a conference. Overall, a great visit! More to come on our visit with The LaBarcas.
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