Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eurotrip 2011 - Day 5 (6/21/2011) - Köln

After a quick breakfast, Steffi dropped us off at the Hagen station around 9 and we took the train to Köln (Cologne).  Köln's most famous landmark, the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) is right next to the main train station (though Galen led us on the scenic route around the station to get there). I must say that I was very impressed by the Dom - it may have overtaken La Sagrada Familia as my second favorite church that I've visited (behind St. Peter's Basilica).  After exploring the inside for a while, we did the 533-step climb up to the top of the tower.  As expected, Galen playfully ascended without breaking a sweat while I huffed and puffed my way to the top.  We happened to be by the bells at noon and got to see one of the little bells chime the time (though we wish they had set off the big ones).

After the Dom, we checked out Museum Ludwig, which has a large collection of modern art, including the largest collection of pop art outside the USA.  As usual with modern art museums, I didn't "get" most of it, but there were a couple of cool pieces, including one which was a 6-screen video installation inside a mini maze where each screen showed a different angle of the ridiculous scene being played.  After the museum, we wandered around for a bit, including a brief stop at the Rathaus (town hall), where we briefly wandered through without paying the €1 that I think we were supposed to (we really didn't see much, so I don't feel bad about it).  Next we headed to a restaurant by the river where Galen and I shared a vegetarian pizza.

After eating, we walked around some more to kill time before catching the train.  We stumbled upon a Vodaphone store, where I bought a German sim card for my phone.  From what I understood from the salesman, I would have unlimited Internet for €0.99 each day I used it as well as cheap international calls (5 cents/minute to the USA), even though I didn't plan on calling anyone.  So I put an initial balance of €25 on the card.  I was able get online while in the store, on 3G even, so I thought I was good to go. Well, it later turned out that the card didn't work quite the way I thought it did; but more on that later.

We then headed to the train station, where we found out that our train to Wuppertal (which we had coordinated with Steffi and Carina) was 25 minutes late. I called Steffi, using my new sim card, and she suggested that we take a different train if we could.  We couldn't figure out another train to take at first, but we settled on one that would get us there around 7, before the delayed train.  But since Steffi and Carina wanted to try to get seats at the concert (which they ended up not being able to), they couldn't pick us up at the station - so we took a taxi.  We met up with them at the venue, VillaMedia, to see the SOS:Stanke ohms Strom concert, which lasted until about 11:30.  They then drove us back home.


The weather that day was a little warmer than it had been, but not quite shorts weather.  However, during the day I began developing a cough.  I hope I don't get any sicker.

Some pictures from the whole trip:

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