Friday, 7 October 2011

Walking the Rhein and other things

After we climbed all those stairs and had a good look around the cathedral, Tom and I went for a walk along the river. We did a LOT of walking while we were in Cologne, at one stage in the pouring rain - we had gone to a laundromat (I might have only been gone away for 3 nights, but Tom had been travelling already for a week, and still had a 17 day tour to follow!) and were looking for an internet cafe to waste the time while our washing was being done. I suggested waiting a bit, but we pushed on and after about 10mins of walking in the pouring rain found an internet cafe... of course the deluge stopped pretty much as soon as we set foot in the place! That night we had dinner in a shady looking pub, but it was cheap enough, and the schnitzel and chips were actually really good!  

We didn't do much else in Cologne, the day after we arrived we went for another walk around Cologne and made it all the way to the zoo, then we walked back down to Cologne (actually up is probably more correct, as we were following the river upstream). That night we caught the train to Troisdorf Spich, where we were going to see Kati, who I hadn't seen in since January 2004, for her engagement party. When we got to her house there was shattered crockery all over the yard - plate, bowls, mugs, even an old sink had been smashed in the driveway.  Tom and I each got a mug to smash when we arrived, and can I say that it is an AWESOME tradition, though I don't pity the people who needed to clean up the mess!! Unfortunately I didn't get any photos from the night :( 

 Kati then took me around to say hello to her parents, grandparents and brother, who were all very happy to see me :) I didn't really get to see her as much as I would have liked, and have a good catchup as she was playing good hostess and mingling with everyone. But we were lucky that a nice couple spoke with us (in English... wouldn't have said much in German lol) and made the night really enjoyable. I also practiced drinking beer for my next trip to Oktoberfest. It was lucky that the local Cologne beer, Kolsch was quite drinkable. The Germans mix coke with their beer... but to be honest I didn't really like it. I'd take beer and lemonade any day! On the taxi ride back to the hotel I started talking to the diver (in German!) about how expensive smoking in Australia is - although I was tipsy, and I'm not sure how correct my German was, he seemed to get the idea, saying that he would have to quit if he smoked in Aus!

Soo many 'love locks'
 Aside from walking the Rhine, and around Cologne a lot, Tom and I went to the Chocolate Museum on the Saturday. This is another place I had been to on the German tour in 2003/4 but it was still interesting. We had planned to have a coffee/hot choc after going around, but completely forgot. That night we planned to go to a pub for dinner where we had had a beer at on the Thursday afternoon. We walked for ages and ages trying to find the place, and I'm sure we passed it a few times, but there were no tables out the front, and it didn't seem to be serving any food. So, we finally gave up, and had dinner at an Italian restaurant, which was quite tasty.

On Sunday morning we checked out of the Hilton, and did some more walking! We went back to the chocolate museum for our coffee and hot choc, and then for lunch found the pub - which we HAD walked passed multiple times, I think it only serves food at lunch time!? I had schnitzel again, and was a bit disappointed in it. Even though the pub was really nice, I actually preferred the schnitzel from the shady looking pub we went to on the first night. While we were eating an elderly German couple started talking to us in German... We did alright to decipher that the old man had chatted for the first time with someone from America on the internet!
Cologne Hauptbahnhof
 As we had both had enough of walking around Cologne we decided to go to the airport early. We thought we were doing really well catching the train and going in the right direction... until we got to the end of the line! Damn, we had caught the wrong train :( Never mind, it was a good thing we had decided to leave early, as we had a bit of a wait to catch the correct train, but still got to the airport in time for checkin (still early in fact). Once we had checked in and gone through security, we had Subway for dinner. It was then that I realised I had accidently left an opened bottle of water, and a toothpaste tube in my bag! And the guys at security didn't even pick it up! It's a good thing I'm not a terrorist, and wasn't planning on using that water and toothpaste to make some sort of watery toothpaste bomb or something....
Some people were protesting or something?!

Anyway, we arrived back in London, stayed at a hotel in Crawley (close to Gatwick airport) for the night, and then met up with Gillian and her sister the next day. But that is for another post, as frankly this one is long enough!! Sorry about that - thanks for reading :)
The cathedral at night