Our alarm went off at 6:45 Easter morning. We were pleased to see that not only it was a beautiful day outside, but we woke up refeshed and ready to head to Köln (Cologne) after breakfast. We were in the breakfast room by 7:01, showered, packed and checked out before 8, and on the train just after 9, putting us in Köln right around 10:20. First thing we did was head to the hostel to throw our stuff down in their storage room as we couldn’t check in until after 1pm.
Let me take a moment to to just say that the hostel we stayed in was pretty awesome and in a really great location just across the river from the Dom (cathedral) and other site — we HIGHLY reccomend staying there if you ever go, and if we ever go back its where we plan on staying.
Anyway, after leaving our stuff at the hostel we excitedly dashed outside in the direction of the Rhine and towards the Dom — I’m pretty sure that we both skipped across the bridge! When we got right up close to the Dom (fyi – I have a hard time thinking “cathedral” anymore, so just roll with it.) both of our heads snapped back and we stared UP for a long time. Then we wandered around one side of it, ooo’ing and awe’ing and finally making it inside. We arrived just after communion for the 10am Mass with the Cardinal, so we got to hear some pretty awesome music, as you can see with two of the videos I posted yesterday. Again, I would say that our heads were pointed up at least 80% of the time. I mean, how could they NOT be? Welps, then the 10am Mass ended, I got all silly excited over seeing the Cardinal. No shame in being a silly Catholic kid here 😉 We ended up just staying put for the 12pm Mass since the Dom was so crowded. Mass was nice — not nearly as packed as the previous one. I was a little irked by some college kids from the east coast sitting behind us — mainly because I kept hearing the f-word uttered IN CHURCH and because one guy asked the others if they thought that communion would help soak up some of the beer from last night… ugh… /headdesk!
We got out of the Dom at about 1:30 and decided to head back to the hostel to eat what we had in our bags for lunch. Also, I had a certian chocolate bunny that had been looking at me funny all day and needed to have his butt, eats and face eaten off. So we ate, rested, changed and reapplied deoderant before taking off to explore more of the city.
We started out by heading towards another bridge and ended up walking to check out the menu for the Hard Rock Cafe (didn’t end up eating there though), found the rathaus and a very cool archeological dig, wandered up and down the houses along the Rhine, and ended up eating traditional German fare for an early dinner. I go to try german style white asparagus, known here by and large as “spargel” and its a BIG deal here. We also got a couple of BIG beers to enjoy before, during and after dinner. One of the things that JP and I truly love about eating out in Germany is that no matter what or how much you order you are NOT rushed to hurry up, pay and get out. It is SO nice! You can actually enjoy your beer instead of gulping it down.
After dinner we went back to the Dom for Easter vespers, which was really nice 🙂 Then we headed back to the hostel (again) to rest up so we could check out the easter carnival that we had noticed earlier in the day. When we headed out again off to the carnival!
So as it turns out, getting from point a to point b turned out to be just a tad more difficult than we first thought it would be. It was about as long of a walk as anticipated, BUT there were not one but THREE major roads with no crosswalks — we had to either go over or under — and we had to cross a set of tram tracks. And let me tell you, this gal gets a little nervous and deer in the headlights when she sees a white light coming towards her, even if the signal is green and telling her to go. Thankfully, JP was had my hand and was able to nudge (read pull like heck) me out of harms way, and helped me to avoid roadkill syndrom. Go team!
In comparrison, the carnival was really really small compared to the seasonal shin-dig that goes on in Hamburg, but you could totally see that people were enjoying it. There was one small mishap where I asked JP what something meant in German, and I totally missed the ending letters – in my defence, reading airbrush after darks isn’t easy – and got made fun of until we left the grounds 😛 There was also an ever so tempting gummi bear and other gummi goodie bar in one stand that was tempting, but no so much that I had to get some — I think our huge dinner earlier in the day had something to do with that.
After walking through the entire carnival and not feeling inclined to do anything, no, wait, thats a lie, I wanted to do the ferris wheel, well until I saw that they wanted FIVE EUROS per person, and the thing wasn’t even that tall! so pass… back to what I was saying, we walked over to a lookout point on the Rhine to look over at the other side where the Dom was, and watched it light up. That was really cool!! We then walked along the Rhine hoping to find a bench to hang out on for a while, but ended up on a low wall and sat out looking over at the Dom-side of the river until we were both cold and decided we needed to sleep.
Monday morning was an early wake up, but totally felt like a Monday in so many ways. We got up, threw on some clothes and went down to have breakfast, came back, showered, did out thang and packed up. We headed to the Dom (again!) to sort of say good bye and say we’ll be back as soon as we can. JP asked one of the guards where the relics of the Magi were located, so we got to see them from afar — we couldn’t get up close as daily Mass was just beginning.
We then bade Köln goodbye and headed to our almost 7 hour trip home — at one point we had a 45 minute ‘layover’ and I got to try a pudding pretzel! (will find a picture later… or if you can’t wait, google it for yourself. we didn’t get a picture of it because in my excitement about getting to try it I took a HUGE bite.)
So thats was our Easter trip in a nutshell… well, sort of… anyway, more traveling posts coming soon since we’re heading to Berlin on Saturday!!!