Sorry it's been so long, since the last update, but we have had difficulties finding computers and finding the time to get down to this.
We left Katrina in Denmark on April 28, and headed south into Germany. As soon as we hit Germany, we saw hills! We hadn't seen hills since we flew out of Vancouver so it was great to see them rather than a flat expanse such as Saskatchewan. That's right, I went there! We passed through Felnsburg, which is where they built the new Vancouver ferries so that was kind of cool.
We arrived in Hamburg, and it was raining. The first rain of the trip! We took the Metro to our hostel called the Wira Hostel. The directions were something like this "Exit the Konigstrasse metro and it is 30 meters from the Shell gas station". Logically, we exited the gas station and walked 30 meters passed the Shell gas station. Easier directions would have been "Exit the Konigstrasse Metro station and look across the street"! It was an odd hostel to say the least. We're pretty sure that we disturbed the worker there (25 or so) from some stoned fantasy when we arrived because he wasn't all that coordinated. The room was quite nice, but the kitchen rules were weird. We were told that we needed to pay 100 Euros for a deposit and give him our passports in order to use it. Apparently, he had told everyone else differing stories about the kitchen so we bonded with our roomies over that with a night out on the town.
We caught the train from Hamburg to Lubeck and were quite impressed with the city. The city was once the "Queen of the Hanseatic" Trading League and it has many gorgeous churches and old buildings in it dating from the 16th century. The gate house is really cool because it's massive, and it sags in the middle because it is built on pylons.
We met up with Peter's friend Paula the next day. She is from Germany and worked with him at TRB back in the day. Paula played tour guide in the city and we walked...and walked...and walked from site to site. The coolest thing was probably the Strand Pauli. It's a bar, which is on the Elbe River (overlooking the massive port), that has lounge chairs and sofas. It sounds great so far right, but wait, there's more. The ground, was sand. The whole place was like a beach bar. Peter even got sunburned there, accidentally of course, but it made it feel even more authentic.
We took the train to Cologne next. One exits the train station, and then the largest cathedral in Germany appears. It's incredible! We checked it out late, but you couldn't really go inside because it was reserved for worshippers. We caught the train to Aachen, which used to be Charlemagne (the first Holy Roman Emperor's) capital. His church is 1200 years old, and it still has the original tiles on the mosaics. There's even a 900 year old chandelier that is still used above the pews. The rest of the town had a carnival going on in it. Angela Merkl, the German Chancellor, was accepting an award from the EU, so there was a huge party. There were little carnival rides for kids, any type of roasted meat you could possibly want from the food vendors, and beer vendors everywhere. We soaked in the atmosphere for a while, and then headed back to the train station to get back to Cologne.
Things that we have learned continued:
-Lonely Planet still lies, but when they say the sites in Hamburg are too spread out to walk between, take there word for it.
-German words are easy to figure out if you stare at them for long enough (think Magic Eye 3D puzzle).
-Half day trips on whims are great ideas because you see so many incredible sites that you weren't expecting.
-The word "goal" is pretty universal when watching footy matches.
-Chinese business men should not stay in hostels in Cologne for three reasons: they snore like they have a sock jammed up their noses, the take phone calls at 3am...in a room full of sleeping people, and the wrustle through their bags at 530 am, just because they can!
- German Riot Police are scary, unless their chicks..d'i mean female police officers, then their hot....d'i mean great (kif s input)
More from the Benelux to follow.
Peter and Kif
More to come from the Benelux,
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