Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012- Köln, Germany

Hope everyone had a spectacular Saturday! I know I did! Here are my adventures in Köln, Germany!

We left for the train station at 8:30 Saturday morning. Johannah (one of our colleagues) picked Viola and I up at home. The train station in OstBevern is HUGE (sarcasm). Viola had warned me just how big it was before I got there! HA! It was actually very small, which I don't mind at all because it is easier to locate where you are supposed to go. We met another colleague, Lena, on the train! Then, we headed for Münster where we would met the other teachers, Hannah, and Jenni (she is who collaborated with Dr. Carter and arranged our trip to OstBevern) who were also going to Köln. After we met everyone at the station we boarded our next train! We were Köln bound! Here are some pictures from the first true train ride for me and Hannah.
Hannah and Jenni

Viola and I

About two hours later we arrived! We got off the train and there was a down pour! I am a brainiac and wore Toms, which are about the worst shoes I could have worn for a rainy day like this! I tried to look at the bright side and think "at least I have shoes", right?! We started to walk towards the Dom: Köln Cathedral! This place is one of the most visited places in Germany! This is why:

Beautiful! I love churches that have the Gothic style. They are absolutely breath taking! You can see also the bridge to the right in the picture. The name of this bridge is the Hohenzollernbrücke Bridge. People know this bridge as the "lock bridge".
Hannah and I with our Red Towel in front of the Dom :) 

People call this bridge the "lock bridge" because  couples get locks with a key and bring them here. They "lock their love" together on the gates. Once they lock it, they throw the key off the bridge into the Rhein River. So sweet! There are thousands and thousands of locks here! See for yourself :) 

The Rhein River--I bet there are a lot of keys down there! :)

We walked across the bridge and then went straight to the Dom. It was even more beautiful up close! The detail and architecture was amazing. Here are some pictures inside and outside of the Dom:

All the little sculptures tell a story!

People pay one euro (or so) to purchase a candle. They light the candle, say a prayer for a loved one or friend, and leave them here. The cathedral was lit up with candles. It was gorgeous!

The front of the cathedral

After, we walked outside to take pictures in front of the Dom. Little did we know we would have some live entertainment with some pretty good looking fellas! Here in Germany bachelor/bachelorette parties are called Stagg Parties. The difference is, here in Germany they take it to a whole new level! Men sometimes dress in women's clothing and wear make up and wigs and others simply wear a poster around their neck with songs to sing. Whether it be singing, dancing, or selling flowers, they try to earn money to pay for their parties drinks for the evening! Pretty interesting! We have seen them all over but this was our first personal encounter! Hannah gave 50 cents to the guy to have him sing to us "Quit Playing Games With my Heart" by the Backstreet Boys! HILARIOUS! Of course we all joined in and belted, for who doesn't love some BSB?! :) He was also selling photographs of himself for 50 cents so of course we had to help the poor guy out. Plus who wouldn't want this in a frame?!

 Here he and his crew are about to sing to us!

Köln is such a beautiful city! We saw an underground house from the Romans. It is one of the oldest towns in Europe! Pretty neat we were able to experience this! We also had lunch at a true Köln, German restaurant! I wish I could remember the name of my meal but here it is: LECKER!!

During lunch one of our hilarious colleagues, Christian, kept talking about the Köln vs. Stuttgart fußball game! We didn't actually think he was going to it! However, he was serious! Well, of course Hannah and I wanted to experience a soccer game. We hopped on the closest train and headed across town to Rheinenergie-Stadion. 

Unfortunately when we arrived the game was sold out. Christian however was determined to get us in the game. We followed him to the gate entrance. He spoke to the security people in German of course and I was trying to make out what he was saying. I'm pretty sure I heard, "These girls came all the way from America. They are from Kentucky and came to see this game! Won't you let us in?" They simply shook their heads and said no. So, if that wasn't enough we walked to the opposite side of the stadium to the other entrance and tried there. Again, no. We didn't get to go inside the game but the crowd roaring and the loud noise was still very exciting! Maybe we'll get to go to another game!

We got back on the train and went back. We met up with Viola and Christian's wife. We were now heading to the Chocolate Museum! LECKER!! On the way, we decided to do some geocaching. For those of you who don't know what that is you HAVE to look it up! Just google it! Basically people all over the world hide things and you use a GPS to locate the hidden items. Most people leave a paper where you write your name stating that you have been there. You can get on the website and log all the caches you have found and see all the people that have also found it. You can even hide your own! It is SOOOO much fun, like a treasure hunt! I am going to make this a hobby when I get home! The Chocolate Museum was so interesting! I learned so much about chocolate that I didn't know! You would be surprised how much it takes to make a little bar of chocolate. Here are some pictures from the museum:

Of course we had to visit the gift shop at the end. Now, I know you can buy Lindor in Kentucky but this packaging was written in German! Maybe I can do a Math lesson on it using the nutrition label! Who knows?! I did get some chocolates for a teacher from my old school in Kentucky! :) As we were leaving the museum, we hadn't gotten very far when I reached into my pocket for my camera. I kept it there all day long because every time I turn, I snap a photo! However, this time is wasn't there. Now, this wasn't just any camera. This was my mom's very expensive, very nice camera! I immediately went in to panic mode and went straight back to the museum. We got the door right as they were closing and locking the doors. After basically begging the man to let me in the gift shop to look around it was no where. I went to the restroom where I had last been before leaving... not there. I was devastated! I would've been alright had it been my camera! The fact that it was mom's was killing me! I was crying my eyes out and so angry at myself for losing it. It was not like me at all! I retraced my steps trying to remember the last picture I took. I remembered putting my camera in my jacket like usual. Except this time I wasn't wearing my jacket I was carrying it! It was no where. We got the information and planned on emailing and calling the next morning in hopes my camera would be found. We got back on the train and headed for Münster. Finally two hours later, we arrived. We went to the bathroom once we got off the train (which we had to pay 50 cents for!) I've never had to pay to use the bathroom! Interesting! While I was in the bathroom, I had an itch on my left shoulder. I scratched and then did a double, triple, quadruple, take and felt something hard! I looked down and there was a pocket (which I was not aware of) I quickly unzipped it, hands shaking and all, and there it was! MY MOM'S CAMERA!!! Praise the lord!! I screamed so loud and started kicking and jumping and acting a fool. Viola opened her bathroom stall and there I stood with my camera to show her! We hugged a big hug and cheered! For my camera had actually been in my pocket the whole time. Just one I was unaware of! Whoops!!! :) I'm just glad I didn't lose it after all!

We got home fairly late and I went straight to bed. I had felt like I was getting a cold and wet feet all day sure didn't help! The day in Köln was a wonderful!!
I will leave you with some more pictures of the beautiful city-- Köln

Till' Next Time! :)

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