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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Trip to Cologne and Labor Day Weekend

For Labor Day Weekend, we couldn't take a trip, since Steve had to work on Saturday. We could, however, go see him play, that is, work. He was performing with the Wings of Dixie at Kaiserslautern's Lautern Fest.

The fest mainly involved having all the shops open on Saturday afternoon. The boys and I browsed and bought some candy while Steve was setting up. Then we got to listen to the outdoor performance on a lovely sunny and breezy day. Our favorite piece was "When the Saints Go Marching In," since that's the only one where Steve has a solo, and he stands on his chair.

On Sunday, we took a trip out to Cologne. It's two hours away, on the Rhine River. We spent the afternoon at the Chocolate Museum, which is right on the river. It was lots of fun! The first floor shows how cacao is grown, complete with a greenhouse of live plants.

Next, we learned how chocolate is made, complete with a mini-factory, so you could watch the process in all its stages. Fascinating! They won Timothy's heart by giving out samples, and not keeping track of who had already gotten one!

Another section had Mayan relics, including chocolate drinking vessels. This progressed to Chocolate Sets from when chocolate made its way to Europe. (Some looked just like the one on the cover of Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.)

My favorite part was the little theater with old chocolate commercials. Best of all was the one from 1926 BRAGGING about how many calories are in a bar of chocolate! They showed two guys skiing. One had milk and bread and other things we think of as healthy these days. The other had a bar of chocolate. The milk guy got exhausted, but the chocolate guy was warm and energetic and kept going and going! How times have changed!

Oh, though the commercials were in German, they were easy to understand. In the rest of the museum, almost everything had captions in both German and English, so it's an American-friendly place.

After the Chocolate Museum, it was an easy walk along the river to Cologne's beautiful Gothic Cathedral. Then we had dinner at a little place in the pedestrian zone and headed home. It made for a great day out.

On Labor Day, we were ready to relax before school started, but we did spend a couple of hours in the afternoon at Monte Mare, the new pool behind Moebel Martin. We slid on the giant slides and swam in the wave pool, and Steve dove off the high dive in the Olympic pool. It was not very crowded, and we had lots of fun and got some good exercise. We may make it a new tradition for Monday holidays. There aren't too many fun places to go on Martin Luther King Day, but this indoor pool could be fun.

I've included some pictures below. We had a great weekend, and then were ready to tackle school! Okay, Mom was more ready than the kids were, but I think they had a good first week.

1 comment:

Marcy said...

Hi Sondy! I identified with your time at the Chocolate Museum because one of my favorite things about my time in Oaxaca, Mexico was FRESH chocalate! You could go to a store, order some, and watch them make it. There weren't many stages to the process because it's very simple, "whole-grain chocolate," as my hostess liked to call it. Yum, yum.