On 10. July we took a day trip to Cologne and had a great day! Our schedule was pretty full and we were able to see a lot of the city. We also had much better weather (our first 2 days in Berlin were pretty cold).
We met at the Krefeld train station at 9:15 and then took a direct train to the Cologne station. The ride only took about 45 minutes. The kids were so busy chatting and laughing with one another that they didn't even realize how much their German skills had grown over the past few weeks! Everyone was energetic and the mood was very happy in general. (Maybe just because we didn't have classes!)
When we arrived the Cologne cathedral loomed above us in its gothic glory. We had some free time to take pictures and explore a little before our city tour began. We were then split into two groups and had a tour in the cathedral and then a walking tour around the city. We learned about the history of the cathedral, the earlier Roman residents of Cologne, and the beloved Karneval celebration. The tour was very well done and very informative. Next, the kids had the option to climb up the 533 steps to the top of the cathedral. Thankfully no one had fear of small spaces, because it gets pretty tight in the tiny winding stairwell during high tourist season. But, once we got to the top, the view was immaculate! It was worth the sweat to get to the top!
The Rhein river awaited us next! We walked about 15 minutes alongside the river to our destination: The Lindt Chocolate Museum! This museum was very interactive, smelled, and TASTED great! Many of the kids said they felt like they were in a modern Willy Wonka factory! (only not as colorful) The museum overlooks the Rhein and has 3 levels of chocolate fun. The history of chocolate in cultures, chocolate advertisements through the years, and you can watch every step in the assembly line where each chocolate is wrapped by machines automatically. Lots of our kids also chose to create their own chocolate bar by mixing wild flavors and ingredients together. For example: Hot pepper, coffee, and strawberry! haha