Today was spent walking through the town of Cologne, Germany while on a cruise down the Rhine River. It is a beautiful city that has history dating back to the Roman Empire still standing in the town to this day. I saw cathedrals, medieval history, culture and people of all sorts. I am not sure what I expected of my first trip to Germany, but this was not it. It was friendly smiling faces, warm and welcoming biergartens, exciting holiday markets getting the finishing touches before they open. The building had character and I wanted to peek inside to each, just to get a better view of what life was really like in this city on this unexpectedly warm day in November.
I saw so many restaurants I wanted to try of exciting regional specialties (and was sad I forgot to order cabbage for lunch!). There were so many shops I wanted to step into, but couldn’t because many still close in respect of Sunday (which I also admire). There was a small elderly woman who stopped at a corner cafe to talk to guests at one table, only to realize she knew guests at all three tables out front and joined in talking with all of them as they sipped afternoon espresso. I wanted get her warm eyes to come over and join us our table as well. There was a moment when we were even allowed tourists to enter one of the beautiful old cathedrals as service was taking place. It was a peculiar moment to participate in, in which you are unsure if you are an unwelcomed interloper on this moment of calm self-reflection, or welcomed with open arms to join in the religion without fear of intrusion.
Now I sit sailing along the peaceful Rhine river making way towards Braubach excited to see my first castle tomorrow and in hopes to find a small spot for a leisurely light breakfast.
I didn’t make it to dessert at lunch in town, but I saw a delicious apple pie on the menu. It seemed perfect for fall and given the location, I bet it would have been amazing. I wanted a warm slice so bad. My stomach just couldn’t take it. But it got me craving the season, the warmth, the homemade treats. This apple tart with brown butter and custard is the perfect slice to tie my memories together in a way I can share with my friends.