We took the tram back to Amsterdam CS this morning. Knowing where we were going, it wasn't nearly the "death march" that we took yesterday. Had allowed plenty of time to get up, have breakfast, have a last "look around", and get going - left CS at 11:06 and arrived in Cologne at 13:42. On the way out of Amsterdam, we passed by the Amsterdam Arena, home to AFC AJAX, 4 time European champion soccer team, unfortunately we didn't realize what it was before we had almost "gone by". I mention this for Tine Willems (one of the students we met in Brugge). She's a big AJAX fan and wished she could have come with us to Amsterdam because they were in the playoff's again while we were there.
Took advantage of the dining car today and had lunch while we traveled - "neat" and comfortable. Going to include both of our "Cologne days" on one page. We didn't have any special side trips planned for this stop.
We decided, after our "death march" experience (searching for the hotel in Amsterdam), that it would be worth our while to take taxis from the train station to where we were staying in a new town. (Unless we could determine - without a doubt - that the hotel was within easy walking distance.) Our travel lesson number 2, after allowing 2-3 days minimum for a stop-over, is pack even lighter! We each had a rolling duffel bag and a "small" carry-on bag. In addition, Lin had a small camera bag/purse and I had a small back pack. We could probably have done without the carry-on bag and packed along about 1/2 of the what we brought in the roll along duffels and still allowed space for items picked up during the trip. The small back pack was a big plus for "day-tripping".
Crossed the Rhine River on the Hohenzollern Brucke, with Cologne's city landmark (The Cathedral of Cologne) on the left as we were pulling into the station. Went thru the routine of currency exchange and getting a map, then got taxis to our hotel (The Leonet - 33 Rubensstrasse). Cologne also has what appears to be an extensive street car / metro system, although we did not take advantage of it - we walked. The hotel was about 1800 meters (as the crow flies) from the HBf. Tried to pay attention and get oriented on the way in the taxi.
Got checked in and walked back thru Neu-Markt, toward the Hbf & Rhine, and thru Cologne's pedestrian zone / shopping streets. The "pedestrian zones" have had the streets closed to traffic (at least during the day and evening) and have anything you could possibly want from big department stores to small shops. From what we saw of Cologne (which was limited to about a 2Km radius from the Hbf, West? of the Rhine, in the city center) compared to all the cities we visited, we would have to label Cologne the "shoppers city". We had a nice walk in the afternoon and ate at "The Chicago Meatpackers" just past Neu-Markt on the way back to the hotel.
A light rain fell most of the day today, the only day of our trip that was hampered by weather! We didn't let this slow us down, just stopped to get some umbrella's and we were away again. Walked back down to the Rhine at Deutzer Brucke, down the river walk under the Hohenzollern Brucke to Maximinen Strasse, thru the Hbf and to the DOM (Cathedral of Cologne).
Spent a good part of the afternoon in The Cathedral. It's not to hard to believe that it was "under construction" for over 600 years, the stained glass works and crypts are magnificent. What is hard to believe is that it has been "reconstructed" since the WWII bombing of Cologne. Being next to the Hbf and railroad bridge, it suffered some major damage. On the way back toward the ZeppelinstraBe and Neu-Market area, we passed by the Minoriten Kirche which remains a bombed out shell (reminder) with the exception of a small chapel which has been built inside the original walls.
Off to Munich (Munchen) in the morning.
---- PHOTO ALBUM - DAY 7 (5 Photos - 209Kb)
---- PHOTO ALBUM - DAY 8 (6 Photos - 254Kb)
BACK TO DIARY INDEX | HOME
This page created with Netscape Navigator Gold
This page has been visited times since adding a counter 1 July 97.