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Published: December 26th 2006
"Tanking up" with gas
My weak attempt at an artsy photo
After only 7 hours of sleep, I woke up and got ready before Wiebke came by to pick me up in her cute little red VW. She had a bit of a time finding my house, but with the help of Janne, she made it. We were off to a new city!!
The drive took about 2 hours and the landscape wasn't so amazing but we had fun listening to music and talking. Wiebke had a lot of German music that I had never heard of, but I liked it a lot.
We stopped once to get some more gas and a snack and that's when I fell upon a Corny bar. I thought this was hilarious because I really like corny jokes and I think my friends as well as my sister, Alaya, think that I'm corny. I had to get it even though I didn't know what waited for me underneath the silver wrapper. Turns out, it was just a granola bar with chocolate on one side. Still, it tasted good and gave me a little burst of energy for the rest of the car ride.
One the road were also a lot of Dutch people.
A Corny bar...
...for a corny girl. Okay, I like simple jokes. The bar was also simple: granola covered in chocolate. yum!
You can tell where the cars are from because next to their license plate is another little plate with the stars from the European Union along with the country's initials - pretty much like license plates in the states or Canada. Wiebke told me the Dutch like to go on road trips and it's kind of a stereotype to see the Dutch go in motorhomes and drive caravan-style with a bunch of friends through Germany. I wouldn't blame them though since The Netherlands is sooo tiny compared to Germany.
We finally arrived in Cologne and man, what a massive city! We didn't know exactly where to go, so it took us a bit before we finally found a parking garage. The city streets were undergoing construction (what else is new in ANY city?) and so the signs were all messed up and very confusing. So confusing that we sort of drove off the road for a second and onto the sidewalk, thinking this was the way to the parking lot. "I don't.....think...that's the way, Wiebke..." We finally found a parking lot and I noticed something so awesome - there were parking spaces reserved for female drivers! The spaces were
Reserved for Women
Smart Germans! The parking garage had spaces just for women nice and close to the booth and well lit.
closest to the office where you had to pay and also to the entrance/exit of the garage. I think this is so cool and makes it less scary for a single female girl to go and park in a dimly lit garage. It's such a smart idea, but of course there would be an uproar about discrimination in the states. Pewny and petit men would also argue that they're afraid or something.
Walking about 5 minutes put us in the middle of all the excitement - the christmas market and the Dom church. I can't remember what we did first, but I think we tried out a few different kinds of German food before climbing the Dom church. The Cathedral was gigantic and another gothic catholic church. Before talking about the church: food and drink. I had glühwein (mulled wine) and got another cute mug! Wiebke and I decided to split everything, that way we could taste more. I tried something called Kasspetzle (I think that's how it's spelled) and still to this day, I don't know exactly what it is. It was made by cooking it in this giant iron frying pan. I know it has cheese in
Cologne Christmas market
Very good smells in the air
it but it also tasted like a combination of pasta, rice, and potato? It was great and the man also sprinkled some parsley on the top. After that we split a serving of potato pancakes (the Germans call it something else) with applesauce. They were a bit greasy, but it was the first day of Chanukah! Lastly, before going to the cathedral, we split this German spiced cake that was made out of several thin layers of dough. It wasn't flaky like a croissant but instead was soft and circular. They supposedly lay the thin layers around a thick wooden pole. I tasted cinnamon and nutmeg but there were some other spices as well. The top layer of the cake is lightly covered with a sugar frosting. It was super sweet, so a half circle split between the two of us was plenty.
Next, the Dom. Absolutely massive - and thanks to a bit of wikipedia reading, I found out that it's the second largest gothic church in the world and has the largest church facade in the world to this day! Okay, last piece of research: it took more than 600 years to complete. Crazy, huh? Inside was
It was SO massive, I couldn't fit it all in my picture!
gorgeous, and it looked like most of the churches/cathedrals I've been in. We also climbed up 509 steps to the top of the church. It was quite the workout and it was harder than climbing the Dom church in Utrecht because the way up was also the way down. This meant that as I was climbing up, people would be brushing past me on the way down which was a little scary since they took the outer side with the handrail which made me have to climb up skinny steps without a handrail. We made it to the top huffing and puffing (like everyone else!). One thing that was disappointing was the amoung of graffiti all over the walls of the church. It made me upset because I don't see the point of writing your name, location, date, and some stupid message on a church
wall. I just find it rude and a form of vandalism.
Anyway, the view from the top was amazing and Cologne is really a beautiful city with a great mixture of old and new buildings. After having enough at the top, we spiraled down to the bottom. From there we walked around the church
Wiebke and me
Look at us, we're in Cologne!
to another entrance which brought us to another area of the church where treasures were on display. I couldn't really be bothered to find out exactly the history behind these treasures, but they were really beautiful. I've never seen so much gold and precious jems before!
Wiebke and I walked through the gallery rooms. I really wanted to take a picture and I didn't see any sign that said I couldn't take a photo. As I pulled out my camera and turned it on, these two crabby looking Germany women looked at me and said something to me. To me it sounded like "kldkjdeighdkekkghk!!" But Wiebke luckily was there and she told me that they said something like "I don't think it's a good idea for you to take a picture here. Look at all those cameras everywhere, you will get in trouble". First off, I think they should mind their own business and second, I'm not afraid of those cameras. It's not like I was doing any harm to the pieces. If they survived hundreds of years as well as WWII, they could survive one camera flash. I waited until they left and then took a picture. And
no, 10 men dressed completely in black didn't bust out of hidden doors and swarm around me.
We had enough of the church and the galleries, so we decided to go around the city to look at shops. This whole day was pretty tiring and as we continued to walk, a Starbucks came into view. My first european starbucks! Now, I'm not a fan of this company since I slaved for them this past summer, but Wiebke had never been there before and so we decided to go in for a coffee and rest our tired out legs. We both got a drip coffee in gigantic ceramic starbucks mugs and sat on the comfy couches for about an hour. Wiebke was charged more for her coffee than I was for some reason so we both thought it was only acceptable for her to take the ceramic mug with her as a souvenir.
The streets were so crowded, so shopping wasn't as inviting as it was an operation just to enter the store and move around. We went into a shoe store and about 99% of the shoes were so grotesque looking. I don't know who designed the shoes,
Big bell in Cathedral
Maybe Quasimodo's cousin lived here?
but they should be fired from their jobs. I saw some cute shoes but they were "Seattle style" as Wiebke called it. I need to get away from always dressing like a Seattlelite with sporty clothes, fleece jackets, jeans, running shoes, and a ski jacket. It's time to look a bit more fashionable and not like I just returned from a daily hike through the mountains. Wiebke tried on probably the second ugliest pair of boots in the store - the ugliest were green and blue with sequins all over the boots in no particular pattern. But Wiebke's were pretty bad too; grey dead-skin looking color almost up to her knee. I didn't know what to say so I told her that it looked like something died on her foot. We laughed the rest of the time about that.
The day definitely drained us both and we headed back to the car. Once again, we listened to some great German music and Wiebke translated the song lyrics for me. The drive was supposed to take 2 hours, but of course it took longer. Thanks to a stupid German female police who told us the wrong directions back to Enschede.
Winding our way to the top
This is a peek at the city through a whole in the tower
Before we knew it, we had gone too far west to Arnhem in The Netherlands which was far south of Enschede. Stupid lady. I think Wiebke was angrier at her than I was, but she was pretty rude and when we rolled down the window to ask her directions, she walked up to the car and immediately bore lasers through my eyes and Wiebke's as if we were criminals or something. God help her if Wiebke ever meets up with her again. haha.
Well, 100 kilometers out of the way was at first aggravating, but then at least we had eachother's company. It was a great trip even with the detour but it was sure nice to finally lay my head down on my pillow and lull off to sleep.
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