Singing Sea Shanties

Early birds can pick-up a fresh pastry from the Patio, but most guests choose the regular restaurant hours and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast provided by our wonderful ship’s galley and waiting staff. A restful morning follows, sailing towards Cologne. We arrive ahead of schedule and tie up near the Cologne Chocolate Museum, which could prove tempting. We are quayside against a vertical wall, which makes our docking quite tricky. Captain Hendrik and his crew make it look easy.

After lunch we are invited to a lecture about the Roman Empire along the Rhine and Moselle rivers, presented by Mr Marcus Pohl. Very well presented to an attentive audience!

This afternoon we all set out on an escorted tour of Cologne with a visit to Cologne Castle included. Germany’s fourth largest city was founded by the Romans in 38 BC. The Gothic cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage landmark and you can see why. By gross volume, it is the 20th largest cathedral in the world, and slightly larger than St Pauls in London. Following the historical and cultural part of the tour, we decide to top off the day with a visit to Peters Brauhaus for some local beer! Kolsch beer, a fairly strong lager beer, is the local speciality. It is served in slim glasses, but you get a couple …. or more if you’re lucky, The beerhouse waitress foolishly left Richard looking after a full tray of glasses, and she nearly lost the lot.

Instead of beers, some guests visited the Lindt-sponsored chocolate factory, either to do the tour or just to visit the shop. The tour was OK but clients reported there were not sufficient free samples. The shop was OK but clients discovered they bought too much chocolate.

Back onboard River Queen, we enjoyed another wonderful dinner, before heading to the lounge to be entertained by the local, Cologne Shanty Choir. Founded in 1985 from members of the local Marine Fellowship Association, the choir has made a name for itself for its lively presentation of authentic sea sings and shanties, performing on TV and radio, and at more than 50 concerts a year, raising funds for a German-built Windjammer called Gorch Foch 1, which Is being restored at Stralsund on the Baltic Sea. Tonight’s entertainment came with a Furlongs Management endorsement and the lounge was packed to the rafters. The choir sang, there were solos, a musical interlude by a very talented button-box accordionist, and even audience participation! It was a great night, and the choir men enjoyed themselves too. So much so, that Richard had quite a job getting them to disembark before our ship sailed for Koblenz! A night to remember.