We toured Cologne this morning, one of the oldest cities in Germany which traces its history back to Roman times. Much of the city was bombed out during World War II. Although the Gothic cathedral sustained some damage, it remained standing. The stained glass windows from various centuries had been removed for safekeeping during the war and now tell a story of survival. The most recent addition is a modern stained glass by Gerhardt Richter that looks like colorful confetti.

We did see the town hall, a Roman sewer, excavations in the Jewish quarter and a few other sites, but the walking tour was mainly around the outside of the cathedral. Once the tour ended, we were able to go into the cathedral on our own. There is no charge but we had to show proof of vaccination and photo ID.

We made our way back to the ship in time for lunch. But for dinner, we had a different plan — Viking’s Kolsch pub crawl in Cologne. Our guide Rocco made sure everyone had a wonderful time. We started at Peter’s Brauhaus for our first taste of Kolsch with a five-course meal. It was delicious, and they even brought a vegetarian version for my husband.

After dinner, we visited two more brew houses. Rocco pointed out that these restaurants don’t have piped-in music. They don’t have TV. Rarely do you see anyone on a cell phone. It’s just a place to eat, drink beer, tell jokes and have conversation.

Yes, you could go to Peter’s on your own for dinner. You could visit other brew houses. But Rocco gave us a glimpse into German beer culture, and we wouldn’t have had the same experience outside of this excursion.

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