Sunday, January 26, 2014


It's around this time of year that most people have given up on their New Years Resolutions.... am I right?  I don't usually worry about New Years Resolutions because they always end up disappointing me and/or stressing me out.  And if there is anything I have learned these last few years, it's that my energy is valuable and better used towards things that do everything opposite of disappoint and stress.  
Since we moved here though, I've noticed that planning trips gave me energy, made me excited; brought my little family closer!  So that seemed like the perfect New Years Resolution for 2014... Travel!  Trip planning!  Spending time with my two most favorite people!  And I have not given up, we are just starting!

We're still new to Europe and learning all of the must-see places, still learning the different ways to travel, and the cheapest ways to get there.  We've spent the last few months staying close to the area we live &/or seeing the more popular cities/attractions, and figured we'd branch out to further places trip-by-trip.  But the more we learn, the more we realize that there is just so much to see!  It gets overwhelming.  And like I said before, this New Year's Resolution is not about stress!   But it is time to jump on the ball, if we're going to see everything we want to see, it's time to travel.  Except for the help of Rick Steves, there will be no rhyme or reason to my planning our trips, we're picking a city and.... going!

Köln (or Cologne in English) was on my list of places I'd like to see, but for one reason or another we kept finding other places to go instead.  When I got my 2014 planner I sat down and started plugging cities into all of the weekends (I stopped in April because we may go broke by then), and Köln was the first city that went into the first available weekend!

Since most of the sites we wanted to see are near the train station we opted to take the train rather than drive.  It took a little longer to get there than if we drove, but taking the train eliminated all stress about finding the city center, traffic, and parking.  We got comfortable in a private little cabin and enjoyed the scenery along the Rhein River.  No stress!

Köln is Germany's 4th largest city and was almost completely destroyed in WWII.  I was excited to see the Cathedral- this is all everyone talks about when talking about the city.  I only knew that the Cathedral is magnificent and you see it immediately when leaving the train station.  And of course since Köln is in Rick Steves 'Best of Germany 2013', I couldn't wait to see it!

My loves look so teeny in front of the Cathedral.

It is magnificent!  Grand!  Awesome!  The construction of the Gothic cathedral began in 1248 A.D, completed in 1880.  The 140 foot ceilings are meant to make you feel small- to remind you "of [your] place in the grand scheme of things."- Rick Steves p.486.  

Next, we crossed the Hohenzollern Bridge to go to the top of the Köln Triangle.  The Hohenzollern Bridge is also known as the "Lovelock Bridge" because it has become a tradition for people to lock a padlock onto the bridge and then throw the key into the water, signifying their undying love and commitment.  Eric and I are planning on doing this in Paris, but besides Paris this is the 2nd place we've seen the lovelocks: Verona, Italy, and now Köln.   

"And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." ~Colossians 3:14

I was excited to see the view of the city from 340ft above ground.  I'm not a big fan of heights but I'd never pass up a prime photo opportunity!

The sun disappears in Germany during the fall and winter.  We've only seen a few flakes of snow and it hasn't gotten below 30°, so I'm not going to complain about no sun!  But it didn't make for the best conditions for panoramic picture taking.  Oh well, we still had an amazing experience!

My handsome man can not take a bad picture!

After leaving the Köln Triangle we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the city taking pictures.  

The Fragrance Museum Farina-House.  The birthplace of Eau de Cologne.

Krombacher, a watermelon margarita, and a wildberry smoothie (alkoholfrei).

Besides the Cathedral, I had also heard that Köln has some amazing shopping, and since I have a birthday coming up I was curious.....

But then I got a closer look.....

101,350?!?!  That equals $138,616.39!!  Honestly, I didn't even go in the Rolex or Louis Vuitton store.  At the Rolex store you had to be buzzed in, and at the Louis Vuitton store there was a very fancy gentleman standing there that opened the door for you.  I felt like they would take one look at me and know that I didn't belong... and I didn't want the embarrassment of being escorted out or laughed at.  I don't know if that would really have happened, but I didn't want to find out.  Besides, $140K for a watch is absolutely disgusting to me!!!  ....But it was cool to window shop, though.

Köln was the perfect way to start my New Years Resolution, it was a fun city and the Cathedral was breathtaking!  We've got a very busy few months coming up!  Two birthday's, we're moving, and a bunch of trips are in the works, so I hope you'll stick around, I'm hoping to have lots to talk about!


  1. Beautiful photos.....thanks for sharing!

  2. Melissa, I find myself constantly checking for your updates. I love seeing the love you have for your husband and daughter and your travels through your lens.

    1. Thank you!! It is always nice to hear when someone is reading! I truly enjoy spending time with my little family and taking pictures!