Published: March 22nd 2012March 22nd 2012
...and the misadventures continue! Yesterday was a giant misadventure - I was planning to visit the windmills at Kinderdijk park (one of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites). There are a few different ways to get there, and I picked the one that sounded the easiest - train from Nijmegen to Utrecht, then bus from Utrecht to Kinderdijk. After waiting for the bus at Utrecht for 1.5 hours, I finally admitted defeat and went back to Nijmegen.
Today was much better! Sarah joined my adventure to Cologne (aka Köln in German), and we only had one misadventure all day. To get to/from Cologne, we had to transfer trains 2x (once in Venlo [Netherlands] and once in Dusseldorf [Germany]). Unfortunately, we didn't realize our train was at the first transfer...until it left without us. But, in our defense, the train tracks here are complicated! Along track one, there may be different segments of the track (identified in letters), and certain trains only stop at certain letters (complicated, right?!). So, in Venlo we were waiting under the sign for our train to Dusseldorf, but we didn't realize it was actually further down the track. Anyway, moving on...
After we finally made it to
Cologne, we were STARVING! We ended up in an outdoor Cafe (it was BEAUTIFUL outside today), eating pizza and garlic bread....very traditional German fare, obviously (haha!). I'm including a picture of the drinks that we had with lunch - I had a little itty bottle of Coke, and Sarah had a gigantic glass of beer. The crazy thing was that the beer was less expensive than the Coke! There were a few things at lunch that made us smile, including a clown at the next table over chain smoking and drinking a beer, and a ton of men in business suits eating gelato from an ice cream cones.
The focal point of Cologne is a Cathedral (Dom), in the center of town. We were able to climb (the 533 steps) to the top of the belfrey. I think after this trip, I will always associate the word "Dom" with "way more stairs than any sane person should climb at once!" The last 100 or so stairs were a bit scary - they were more open metal stairs, held up by scaffolding - but the view from the top was amazing. We went inside the church, which was also a
After that, we just walked around Cologne for a few hours, shopping, eating gelato, and people watching. We both like wandering aimlessly through new cities, trying to get a sense of the city. We did make it to the river front and saw the bridge and older buildings. On the railing of the bridge, there are thousands of padlocks that people have engraved with their names and anniversary dates. Apparently there's a relatively new (2006ish or so?) tradition that couples place the padlock, then throw the key into the river. Either way, pretty interesting to see all of the locks.
And now - 2.5 hours, 2 train transfers, and a 2 mile walk later - we are home, enjoying toasted nutella and banana sandwiches for dinner, and getting ready for bed. I can't believe tomorrow is already my last day here.
There are more photos below