Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Koln, Germany: Another Trip Around the Sun

Since it's still my birthday month, I am surely entitled to recap on MY very special day and the good time that I had in Koln (Cologne), Germany.

Being another year older and another year wiser, I woke happy and a bit hung over.  The celebrating had started hours earlier.   Thanks wardrobe team and Absolute Grapevine!!!

After reaching Koln and exiting the bus curbside, I asked myself, "how could I be so lucky?"  It happened to be a day off for me in Germany, and practically within reach was the stunning sight of Koln's landmark gothic cathedral.  Lucky me!  It was a dreamlike moment.  Our hotel, Le Dom, was literally, a stones throw away from the church.  Facing west, I had a front row view of the square and the evening sunset.  This is what I woke to every morning and said goodnight to each night.  It felt special,...and who doesn't want to feel special on her birthday.

Today's plan is to be pampered AND serviced,...and I say,....."Why not!"  I freshened up and pulled myself together, before heading out with the girls to Sukon day spa for Thai massage treatments.  It is within walking distance from the hotel.  I can't think of a more perfect way to start the day.  We got the works, head-to-toe body and foot massages.  After a couple of hours of professional prodding and kneading and twisting and tweaking, we left there feeling relaxed and better than when we arrived.  I'd highly recommend Sukon.  The spa was clean, aromatic and tranquil.  Secretly, I think it's becoming my birthday ritual to treat myself, or be treated, to a day of R&R.  I don't think there's a better gift than the gift of peace of mind, body and soul.

Following the spa we walked back to the hotel and met up with friends at the hotel bar,... where else.  

We got a jump start on drinks before strolling through Old Town to find a meal.  We settled on the Argentinian Steakhouse, Poncho's.  The place was packed.  Always a good sign.....  We waited briefly to be accommodated, managing to fill the time at the beer bar next door until our table was called.  Once seated we dined on lots of fine cuts of beef, potatoes, Malbec wine and sangria.  The restaurant was energetic and our waiter lively.  I thought that it was the perfect setting for our celebratory evening.

We stuffed our bellies and drank well before making our way back to Le Dom.  It had been a wonderful evening, and I am thankful for wonderful friends.  I might add that my day ended as beautifully as it began.  Literally, moments after entering my room to receive the spectacular nighttime view of the cathedral just steps away, the church bells sounded to the stroke of midnight.  It was that Cinderella movie moment without all the fuss.  There was no glass slipper, no pumpkin, and there was no prince.....   It was just me and MY church bells.  Yep.  For me, the sound of church bells ringing is special because they're synonymous with Europe.  I rarely, if ever hear church bells in America.  The sound evokes warm thoughts and good memories, and for that, I couldn't ask for a better ending to an already perfect day.  Goodnight Koln!!!  Sweet dreams and farewell.....

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