So, I have the unfortunate privilege to write our first disappointing blog entry. We left Berlin to go to Cologne as a stop on our way to Hilden where our next couch surfing place was. I have been looking forward to Cologne for a long time because it is home to Europe's largest Gothic cathedral and a chocolate museum. So we thought it would be a great place to spend a few hours before we headed off again. Well, first of all, the weather in Germany had been unusually bad as of lately. It has been chilly and raining/drizzling everyday for about 5 days. Probably because Calgary has had such amazing weather, so it has to balance out somehow! So when we got into Cologne it was pretty miserable. Windy, raining, cold...fun times. Secondly, Germany has this terrible idea of planning major construction on major attractions all at the same time. (Remember Neuschwanstein?) Well, guess what was staring at us from our train window? You guessed it
. Major scaffolding on Europe's biggest Gothic cathedral. Argh. I found out later that, apparently, it is always under construction with restoration and cleaning. It is a big joke in Cologne that when they finally finish all the construction on the Cathedral that will be the sign of the end of the world. They just don't tell the tourists this on any sightseeing website. Ok, so I finally got over my major disappointment about the cathedral because we still had the chocolate museum! So off we went from the train station (after a very frustrating experience with storing our luggage, which I do not want to go into detail about. Haha.) towards the Rhine River where we would follow along to the museum. I had been dreaming about chocolate all day, and I had read on the website that they give you free samples throughout your journey through the museum! When we walked into the museum, we saw this huge chocolate store and a chocolate cafe by the entrance. When we got our tickets (which were pretty expensive, but I thought it would totally be worth it) the lady gave us each a teeny, tiny piece of chocolate, that was very delicious but left us craving more. We walked into the museum, and I must say, we were quite disappointed with what we saw. You could tell the exhibits were old, and they were very boring. It went through every process of how the cacao bean is harvested and what-not, but it was really only text. Not a lot of hands on exhibits, which is what we like and what I had expected. Then we went through a room to where they make the chocolate molds and package them. It was pretty neat and when you walked in, you got this big whiff of fresh chocolatey goodness! Then we saw this huge line up which was our cue that the free samples were here. There was this massive chocolate fountain with a woman standing next to it, dipping wafers into the fountain
. So we stood in line until we got our teeny, tiny wafer only half dipped in chocolate. It was very good, but we were definitely hoping for more. We went upstairs to a room where they can make you your own custom made chocolate bar. This was a really neat idea, but you have to wait 40 minutes after your order and it was really expensive, so we decided it just wasn't worth it. The rest of the museum was about the history of chocolate being sold to the public and also the history and importance of chocolate in the Mayan culture. Maybe we were just so museumed out from Berlin, but we were so not excited about this museum anymore. But before we left, we noticed that the chocolate fountain had rotated ladies, so we stood back in line for another wafer. All in all, the museum wasn't terrible, but it definitely did not live up to my expectations. I learned later that it used to be much, much better years back, with real cacao plants and lots more samples, but people kept stealing the plants, and much more tourists visit the museum now so they cut back on samples.
After the museum, we left to go back to the train station to catch our train out, but we stopped at the cathedral first. I must say, even with all the scaffolding, it still is magnificent. It is so tall it makes you dizzy, and inside is jaw dropping.
So, maybe Cologne wasn't all that disappointing, but it definitely was a bit bitter sweet.
Hello friends! Hope you are all well! We are beginning to miss you all very much!