Last weekend we spent a fun weekend in Köln, meeting up with friends we met on a cruise of the Mediterranean last year and meeting one of my cousins and his family for the first time.
|Our opera-loving friends, Jürgen & Det|
Our friends, Det and Jürgen, introduced us to opera when we first met them and they invited us to join them for a performance of The Damnation of Faust at the Köln opera house. While not technically an opera, more of a choral performance with orchestra, this work by Berlioz was very enjoyable. The soprano and baritone were excellent and it was a great evening of music. But the most important thing was being able to see our friends again and to have tea and coffee in their beautiful home. The two also encouraged us to keep up our blog. I didn’t know we had any readers, but now I’m inspired.
The other highlight was finally meeting my cousin, Thorsten zur Jacobsmühlen, his wife Jozefina, and their two daughters, Sophie and Isabella. We connected via Facebook and while we aren’t exactly sure how we’re related, our best guess is that our great-grandfathers were brothers. We plan on meeting his sister later next year who is the chief researcher of the family tree. Apparently, we have records tracing our family back to 1530. For second-generation Americans, like Tanya and me, it really gives us a sense of history and connectedness to Germany, or as my grandparents called it, “the old country”.
And, of course, no visit to any German city at this time of year would be complete without spending some time at the Weinachtsmarkt. Köln has five of them and we successfully toured three. Glühwein anyone?