Another amazing weekend in Germany! This time with a little more company, THE MASONS!
We went to the Hannover main station friday morning and got ready to board the train. Matt had a paper to work and since his adult ticket is valid in 1st class, that was the obvious place to do it. My youth ticket however is only valid in second class so I read the signs and followed the platform down to my area. We lost each before the train even arrived. We didn't realize that we had boarded DIFFERENT TRAINS until I was 10 minutes from the heart Cologne and Matt was stuck in a different city trying to board another train since his shut down! While I was bored waiting for Matt to arrive I wandered outside and as soon as my eyes could adjust to the sunlight my jaw dropped. The Cologne Dom (or Cathedral) was breathtaking! It would stun even the most jaded of travelers with its grand and gothic massive spires:
Once we regrouped and dropped our bags at the hotel we wandered the city. We saw men in costumes, accordion players, skateboarding tricks, rollerblade groups doing insane movements, chalk artists in front of the cathedral, throngs of scary punk people (no offensive Lauren) and their dogs, a pianist with his instrument on wheels and more! The city was so alive and eclectic. After our wanderings we sat down for dinner on the Rhine River. Although it was about 40 something degrees, while in europe i can never resist a quaint table outside on the patio. (Almost freezing weather is nothing a space heater and blanket can't fix right?)
It started to get dark and we knew the Mason Family was in the same city as us so we mustered up our best set of stalking skills and tried to track them down. After much splitting up, asking 2 different hotels if they had Mason guests, circling the town and every nearby major attraction... we found them! It was so dark that it took them about 2 minutes to deduce that it was their cousins ruining the family photo they were trying to take.
Day 2: Woke up and headed to the Köln Dom to meet the gang. I just have to tell everyone that matt ate 2 Berliners (better known as jelly doughnuts in the states) for breakfast! Yuck/yum. We went and explored the MASSIVE cathedral. That pretty stone structure had everything in it- exquisite tapestries, stained glass windows, multiple organs and sets of pipes, an awesome mosaic floor,relics, bones and jewelry of their patron saints and catacombs of many other saints (some definitely over 100 years old and some just 10 years old!) It was amazing. My favorite part of the experience was getting to climb the 533 stairs to the belfry in the tallest spire. The narrow staircase had people squeezing their way both up and down, and the view of the city and river was amazing.
The Cathedral Staircase
The view from the top.
Next we walked down the river and headed over to the Lint Chocolate Factory/Museum. They had multiple exhibits but the only thing that really sticks out was the chocolate fountain. The fountain was a tower of gold coco beans with a vat of swirling chocolate beneath them. If you waited patiently behind the velvet rope (or just cut to the front everytime like we did) you are greeted by a lady in white clothes handing you wafers dripping with chocolate from the fountain. It was amazing! I dont think any of us had less than 5, and Ty probably had about ten but Colin was the obvious favorite of the chocolate lady.
Simulated Rain Forrest where they grow a coco tree.
We tried about 5!
We got some quick lunch at the station, and tried to find the 7411 Eau De Cologne museum. Yes thats right everybody, Cologne has its name because of the frenchman who came here and invented the perfume water. Interesting tidbit: his original creation was first sold as a cure-all ointment. Before we made it there however we stumbled across a random small museum that Heidi had gone to on her last visit here so we took a detour. That small historic museum was so cool! German history is so interesting, especially in this catholic town. The paintings and armor were very cool and the WWII history was sobering. We finally made it to Eau de Cologne and all put on some cologne water from the little fountain. It was fun.
We walked around the big and crowded shopping district, then ate dinner at the highly recommended XII Apostle. Each of their pizza's is named for a different apostle (the Judas pizza was the most spicy). We all had full belly's and decided to take a stroll before the premeditated sin we would commit later that night known as dessert.
We walked down to see if the puppet theatre was open- it wasn't. But the fair across the River was! So we followed the flashing lights and ventured across not knowing what we would find. We found bumper cars that went faster than any we've seen in america, a candy wagon, and the craziest ride Matt, Ty or I have ever been on! It was on the same par as X2 at Magic Mountain! The stats showed it reached a speed of about 60 miles an hour, and had a force of 4G's. At one point I swore I was about to black out! Most of the time we were just laughing and screaming uncontrollably but there was one point where everyone just got silent because the force was so great it just paralyzed you! I couldn't believe a ride like that would be at a mobile fair. This video of it/post ride interview doesn't do it justice I swear. The cage flips like crazy at the climax of the ride.
We went back with so much renewed energy and pride in our accomplishment that we ran almost the entire way across the bridge. For dessert we got amazing apple strudels. By our last bite we were just exhausted from our day. The next morning we woke up still tired and had a nice breakfast before we headed home. Another great weekend :)
For the ADD in my family and for my busy friends - here is the short version:
Trip High: Tie between the 533 stair climb to the top of the tower and the insane ride at the fair.
Trip Low: The freeeeezing wind!
Trip confession: While watching the street performers I secretly really wanted to be one.