A and I took a trip a couple of weekends ago by car to Cologne. We rented a POS Chevy Automatic. I don’t know how to drive a manual so the car rental agencies decided to punish us with the worst American car ever made just so we could be tortured driving on the limitless Autobahn not even a remote contender with the Audis, Beemers, and Mercedes that whizzed past us while laughing.
The purpose of the trip was for A to get LASIK eye surgery. The price was much cheaper at the clinic he found in Cologne, as compared to anywhere in Berlin or elsewhere in Germany. So we took the 5 hour drive (in the sun, the rain, and the fog) to get him to better vision.
Cologne is the 4th largest city in Germany, which A aptly compared to Boston, and it has typically German, small, intricate cobble stoned streets winding throughout the city. It’s actually a very nice city, and has largest Cathedral in Germany, (and it’s spires are only second in height to the cathedral in Ulm.)
We did not have the chance to climb up the 502 steps to the top, (despite Aleks’ protests that we should,) but walking around inside was, in my opinion, equally as impressive. The floors were beautifully mosaiced and the stained glass windows were unique from what you typically see in a church.
The only downside to Cologne was walking around near the Cathedral, (i.e. touristy area) at night and seeing the drunk 60 year adults stumbling around the plaza laughing and tumbling to the ground. I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on them, since they were having fun, but it was so disruptive and juvenile…and distrubing! We had much better luck wandering around the Belgian Quarter where “the young people” go drinking the local beer on an outdoor patio amongst hundreds of people who manage to keep it together.
We had our fun, for our short 2 night stay and headed out back to Berlin, in the pouring rain and scattered sunshine on Sunday. What was meant to take 5 hours (though I suppose this would only be the case in “summer” sunshine and driving at least 200 KPH (kilometers per hour) ended up taking closer to 7+ (see above for rain and scattered sunshine.) We even managed to get in a quick break at Burger King (crazy how German rest stops sometimes resemble American ones…only they have more sausage and gummy bears available!) We also had the opportunity to see the best roadside sign I’ve ever read (if only I was quick enough with the camera!) “Gutes essen, Gute fahrt.” Maybe with Big Whoppers on the menu, they are on to something!
Then we topped of our trip home with none other than A DOUBLE RAINBOW!!! WHAT DID IT MEAN?!
Probably that we would arrive back to Berlin safe and sound. And so we did.