Cologne is one of the best cities in Germany

“Cologne is one of the best cities in Germany, seated upon the river Rhine; the streets are large, the houses high, the churches and monasteries great and numerous. The town-hall is a stately building; over the portal are written several Latin inscriptions, expressing the occasion of the building of this city by Agrippa, cousin to Augustus Caesar, scilicet, to hinder the incursions of the Suevi into the lower parts of Germany.
In the lower rooms are kept the courts of guards; in the first story the senate doth assemble; the second story contained a great number of Roman arms, distributed into several chambers; as also the third, scilicet, bucklers, some of which are whale-bone; cross-bows, and a great number of bolts. Amongst others there was one of those machines used by the Romans for a battery, called Ballista (…)
From the top of this house is an easy and pleasant prospect of the whole town, it being higher than any steeple there.
The cathedral is a fair church, but imperfect, neither the steeple nor body of the church being brought to their first intended height.
There they show several reliques; among others the bones of eleven thousand virgins of this country, who, for the more easy practice of their Christian religion, followed a king of England`s daughter to Cologne, and were all there martyrized with their leader, by a king of the Hunns.
The tombs of the three kings that came to worship our Saviour, first buried at Milan, and afterwards translated hither upon a certain day, which they observe as the greatest festival of the whole year. Their bodies, dried like mummy, are that day exposed to public view, the tomb being uncovered. One of them (they tell you) is much blacker than the rest, which they take to be the King of Aethopia. All the pilgrims (whose devotions lead them thither), that day, are treated and waited on at meat by the senators barefooted.
Near to this tomb lies a vast stone, which they tell you the devil threw in at the top of the church to destroy it, which heaven miraculously diverted; showing a round place in the repair of the roof, where it should enter. (…)
The next church of note is that of the Jesuits, built after the modern use: in the middle alley, going up to the choir, stand fourteen excellent statues, our Saviour`s with six of the apostles on one hand, our Lady`s with the other six, on the other side. (…)”
Der Zufall wollte, daß wir heute mit einem Kölner Stadtführer verabredet waren. Weil wir nichts von Reresbys Kölner “Jesuitenkirche” wußten, fragten wir bei derart passender Gelegenheit, ob es eine solche noch gäbe und er führte uns kurzerhand zu St. Mariä Himmelfahrt. Da wachen sie nach wie vor, die “fourteen excellent statues”. Gemeinsam klapperten wir weitere Innenstadtkirchen ab, erfuhren wo Karl Marx seine Schokolade trank, wie Georg Weerth in der Rheinischen Zeitung den Wortlaut offizieller Verlautbarungen im Feuilleton abdruckte und somit zur Satire umwertete und schlenderten durch längst verschwundene Gassen. Doch weiter im Reresby:
“The greatest part of the inhabitants of this city are Romanists, none being allowed the public practice of their religion but those; nor, by a late law, can any marry and settle amongst them, that is a protestant; which severity, with others in that kind, gives it the name of Roma Germanica.
The women here follow much the mode of Brabant, wearing upon their foreheads a round peak like unto a saucer, of black velvet; from the middle rises a black stalk of the size and length of a man`s finger, tufted with silk at the end; from the back of their heads there falls a black veil down to their heels, like widows. (…)
Here was born Bruno, the founder of that strict order of the Chartric, by the rules of which establishment the monks are never allowed to eat flesh, or to speak one to another, except at certain times, and those but few.”

(aus: The Memoirs and Travels of Sir John Reresby)

some laden mules falling down not long before we passed, were broken in several pieces

“(…) Three hours further we came to Weizen on horseback, and in the afternoon embarked upon another lake of the same name with the town, which at night brought us to Wallenstaff. From Wallenstaff we had very ill way (amongst hills covered with snow) to the town where we dined, called Regats; and in two hours from thence we passed the famous river of Reines, where it was not above half a yard deep nor eight yards over, within a mile of its first spring.
This river separates Switzerland from Roethia, or the country of the Grisons, which lies much among the Alps.
Roetia is a commonwealth of itself, governed much after the same manner as that of Switzerland, being with it joined in a perpetual league and friendship since the year 1489. The first canton is called Liga Grisa, or the Upper League; the second, Liga cas di Dio, or that of the House of God; the third, Liga delle Diex Communitate, or that of the Ten Communities; of which it consists.
In three hours after we had passed the Reine we arrived at Chur, the first town of this country, and indeed the only walled town of all the cantons, the rest being sufficiently fortified by nature amongst those craggy hills where they lie scattered. (…)
They hold that the first person that converted that country from paganism to christianity was one Lucius, an Englishman, in commemoration of whom there is a chapel, long since built on the side of the hill, where once a year they go in procession to pay their devotions.
From Chur we had ten hours to Borgon, where we rather chose to lie upon benches than in nasty beds. Here they began to speak a corrupt Italian mixed with Dutch. It stands at the foot of one of the highest Alps, called Albula. We were a great part of the next morning climbing of it; when we arrived at the top we happily found not much snow, and better weather, but the descent very dangerous and slippery, having lately thawed and frozen the night before, so that the passage was a continual ice, steep withal, and not a yard broad in some places. On the left hand of the way was the rise of the hill, on the right a steep descent, and so armed with the points of rocks, that some laden mules falling down not long before we passed, were broken in several pieces ere they came to the buttom. Here Mr. Berry, of our company, not willing to light as the rest did, fell down, horse and all; where he had certainly perished, had he not miraculously stopped upon a great stone ere he fell two yards, which saved them both from much harm. In seven hours we passed this hill, and about two in the afternoon came to Lepante, where we refreshed ourselves, and in three hours more came save to our lodging at Pontrazin, a very mean one, seated at the foot of the mountain Bellina. (…)”

(aus: The Memoirs and Travels of Sir John Reresby)

a word or two of the Suiss

“(…) But here a word or two of the Suiss. That they came originally from the Gauls, was the opinion in Caesar`s time, for he says, that they exceed the rest of the Gauls in deeds of arms. Suetonius also calls them Gens Gallica turbidi ingenii, an unquiet or troublesome sort of French, which two characters of stout and boisterous may not unfitly be applied to them at this day. Besides this, they are believed very faithful and trusty, which reputation (with that of their courage) prefers them before others to the service of the Pope, the King of France, and many other princes, as guards to their persons, and soldiers in their wars. But this fidelity is no longer binding than they are well paid, believing it no defamation of a true mercenary to mutiny for his pay, which gave rise to the proverb, point d`argent, point de Swisse; no pay, no Swiss.
They are of little stature, spread and strong, fair, hardy and inured to labour from their infancy; they never change their mode, which is great trunk breeches, slashed and laced with silk lace, the lining of some coloured stuff appearing underneath; they have doublets with long skirts and bonnets, for in towns the hats are forbidden.
What gentlemen may except from democrazy sufficiently appears in this, where there is none left that dare pretend to a better quality, one than another. A person of quality I met with at Chur, of that country, assured me, that though his ancestors had been barons, and himself seised of a good estate, as also of a castle which had formerly the privilege of a county palatine, he was forced to comply and associate himself with the meanest peasants, to avoid the jealousy and prejudice of his neighbours. The best man in town is commonly mine host, and should a traveller think himself imposed upon, or notoriously cheated in his reckoning, as strangers commonly are there, and go to complain to the chief magistrate, he would find his host the first man on the bench. They drink excessively, and the greatest affront you can do them is not to pledge them. Their festivals last hole days, none rising except it be for evacuation, till they be taken up. They lie between two feather beds, and use no hearths, but stoves. Their women are esteemed chaste, the coldness of the country rather inclining them to good fellowship than venery, which may be some reason why their country is most clear of the French pox, though others impute it to some occult quality in the air. (…)”

(aus: The Memoirs and Travels of Sir John Reresby)

the best river, next the Danube, in Europe

“(…) I left Francfort the 10th of October, 1657, intending to pass down the river Rhine, into Holland, and so again into France. Some German gentlemen and myself took a boat at Francfort, which carried us six miles that afternoon, to Mentz, the usual residence of the elector of that name, were he hath a great castle adjoining to the church, esteemed to have the largest and best painted windows of any in Germany.
Here the river Maine runs into the Rhine, the best river, next the Danube, in Europe, of whose head or fountain I have formerly made mention, having passed near unto it, as I entered into Rhaetia. The stream of this river is so violent, that it is only navigable downwards, which made our journey expeditious and pleasant.
The 11th, we refreshed ourselves at a place called Baccaract (quasi Bacchi Ara) from an altar anciently erected to Bacchus, (whose ruins are yet apparent) which makes it of a long standing, and anciently famous for the best wine, growing upon the banks of that river, which reputation it still preserves; this is within the palatinate.
Some few leagues further, we passed by an ancient tower, built almost in the middle of the river, called Ratts` Tower, near unto Bingen, which the people tell you is so called, upon this occasion: – in the pear 968, Hatto, second duke of Franconia, afterwards chosen Archbishop of Mentz, in a time of great famine and scarcity, summoned together a great number of poor people, with promise of relief, but instead thereof, put them all into a barn, and set it on fire, saying, they were the rats which devoured the food of the land; whereupon the vengeance of Heaven pursued him with so great an army of those animals, that they fell upon him in the closest rooms, finding passage through the chimneys and the least crannies, till at last, flying to this tower, which he caused to be made for his security, they followed him one night through the water in great droves, and devoured him.
That night we lodged at St. Verre, and the next day, being the 13th of October, we dined at Coblentz, a large town, situated where the river Mose falls into the Rhine. Here the Mose is very large, having over it a stately bridge of fourteen large arches; at one end of this bridge stands the town, at the other a fort belonging to the Elector of Treves, called Hermersten, with a freestone palace after the modern mode, adjoining thereto.
Thereabout, the country was in their vintage, to the prejudice of a gentleman of our company, who surfeited with eating those delicious grapes growing upon the banks of this river. That night we lodged at an obscur village called Hamestean.
The next morning we passed by a great town called Bon, belonging to the Elector of Cologne, where he then was, and that night we reached Cologne. (…)”

(aus: The Memoirs and Travels of Sir John Reresby)