Following our 3 days in Amsterdam, we took a train to the next destination in our summer holiday,
Koln, the third largest city in Germany, has an old, beautiful, twin spired Cathedral in the city centre. We stayed at the Renaissance Koln Hotel steps away from a nice shopping and restaurant district. Like Amsterdam, our plan was to stay in Koln for 3 days as well before heading off to Euro-Disney outside Paris.
It was a little harder communicating, as English is not spoken as universally as it is in Amsterdam. But through a lot of finger pointing and mastering some of the more important local words, like BIER (for Beer) we were able to get by. And as we quickly found, no one cooks as well as the Germans. Down the street from the hotel was a sausage shop that was frequented often during this short visit.
The first full day we spent at the Koln City Zoo. Bit of an adventure taking the train from our hotel to the zoo, though. So we find the underground subway and go down the stairs to await the train. Recapping, we had seven in total, what with Kathy, the boys and Pop. Well, as we are awaiting the next train towards the zoo, Brettie wanders off and looks at a wall mounted red light with a lever that seemingly whispered to him, "Pull Me, Pull Me!"
Well, Stonewall (Brett) obliges and pulls the firealarm, setting off a deafening alarm, emergency lights, and a stampede of Germans - no Americans - headed upstairs for the safety of the street. We calmly stay put, hoping the damn train arrives quickly so as to extricate us from this mess.
Unbelievably, a train rounds the corner, we scamper aboard and with the ticket taker, pretend to be looking for the source of the alarm.
Once at the zoo, the highlight of that day was a nice children's park found smack in the middle of the zoo. There the ever friendly Grandpa, in his attempt to talk to the 40th non English speaking German of the day, sat squarely in the biggest load of birdshit I'd ever seen. It was so large that the local man Pop was trying to talk with kept pointing at Pop's trousers saying "Schietz, Schietz!"
Later, however, his blessed Stonewall cut loose with a massive sneeze and a forgetful Grandpa swiftly plucked this soiled hanky from his pocket to deal with the crisis. I almost had to tackle him to wrestle that vermin infested hanky from his hand before he applied it to the angelic face of our little, innocent, Stonewall.
The next day we took a train ride from Koln to Koblenz so that we could take a Rhein River cruise from Koblenz back to Koln. We had a delicious lunch that day in an outdoor Koblenz Beer Garden at the famous 'German Corner' where the Mosel River and the Rhein River meet. The merging of these 2 rivers is overseen by a massive statue of German Emperor Wilhelm I, pictured right, who reunified Germany after 3 wars in the 1800's.
Although it was beautiful, the weather was the worst of the trip. However there was no mistaking the beauty of all the castles we passed in the Rhein River Valley. All in all a great day, our best in Germany.
On the cruise, the boys played cards, did puzzles and bugged the locals, while dad, me and Kathy watched the countryside slip by to the music of American Show tunes.
At the front to the boat, Bradley did an impression from the movie Titanic with his arms outstretched, flying like Kate & Leo did in the movie.
Kathy, after more than a few cold ones, sang "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie, as I was busy videoing this magic moment. I was certain that this snippet would be the video highlight of the trip if not the summer.
In one of the few moments in my life I literally regret, I later accidentally recorded over this magical moment, leaving it only to our memory to recall. That is why you see no video from this segment of our trip. What an idiot.
We had just a great time in this corner of Germany and would love to come back another time. Our 3 days whisked by and it was back to the Train station to head to Euro-Disney!