It was museum day in Koln (Cologne) today. Both the Romisch-Germanisches (Roman-German) Museum and Das Schokoladen (The Chocolate) Museum held delightful surprises.
One thinks of Italy when the Roman Empire is mentioned, but Koln was the Capitol of the Northern Part of the Empire and a very important Roman outpost. Not only did a major road connect the city to Rome, but trade from the area was important to the Roman economy. Therefore, Roman artifacts abound in the city and the museum is a repository of many of the precious items uncovered over the years. In my opinion, the museum is as good in historical documentation as any in Italy that I have seen. This is the first museum in which I have seen the incense altars at which all Romans were required to throw increase to honor Roman religious deities. This the Christians refused to do, and thus they were persecuted.
Das Schokoladen Museum was a totally different kind of experience. The striking architecture of the building as it sat on a small island on the River Rhine was a dramatic introduction to the history of chocolate that lay within the walls. The European taste for chocolate caused the need for chocolate production and transportation to explode. The museum tracked that history from its beginning in the new world until today. A chocolate factory lay within the walls as well, and one could observe up front and personal the production of a bar of chocolate. We could buy different varieties of chocolate in a large visitor shop, and our friend Rhonda loaded up. She said it was for friends back home, but I have already observed her husband Allen sneaking some. If any of you reading this blog were thinking Rhonda was buying some for you, my guess is you shouldn’t hold your breath! WEG