Take the Kids to Cologne/Koln, Germany

The Magnificent Kolner Dom.One of the recent articles at the UK’s Guardian Online made me nostalgic for a visit to the pleasant German city of Cologne/Koln (sorry, there should be an umlaut, or two dots, above the “o” in Koln but I’m not HTML-savvy enough to do it.)

However you spell it, we always enjoyed the chance to travel there as a family.

You’ll be seeing a lot of media travel articles about Germany in the next few weeks, since we’re getting in the fevered grip of World Cup 2006 this summer and they are the host country.

Stollwerck's Chocolate Soccer Ball-Making Machine (Scarborough photo)For kids, the highlight of a Cologne visit may be the Stollwerck chocolate factory.

The factory has a walk-through assembly line; we must have stood mesmerized for 10 minutes in front of the machine making hollow chocolate soccer balls (of course, they’re “footballs” in Europe.) There is also an exhibit about the making of chocolate, a cafe and naturally, a gift shop.

Stollwerck is an open and sunny place, right on the banks of the Rhine and within easy walking distance of the fabulous Kolner Dom cathedral.

The Dom is an awe-inspiring church, perhaps even more impressive than Notre Dame, if I may say so.

The dizzying height of the spires will give your neck a pretty good crick.

Making Chocolate-Dipped Biscuits/Cookies at Stollwerck (Scarborough photo)

There are Rhine (Rhein) River day cruises leaving from Koln as well.

Many of them run all the way down to the pretty, half-timbered town of Bacharach and the rock at Lorelei/Loreley, where legend says that sailors are so enamored with mysterious voices and singing that they run aground.

Consider a visit to this lovely city, whether you’re a World Cup fan or your kids are just hooligans. 🙂