Sunday, October 30, 2005

Road Trip

Since I am now settled in Berlin, I decided I should take a road trip. So this weekend I headed west to visit Torsten in Cologne. The first highlight of the weekend was taking the ICE high-speed train. The ride is super smooth and watching the fall-colored countryside from the window provided my latest “Germany is incredible” moment.

Once I arrived in Cologne, we dropped off my bag at Torsten’s apartment (a cool Japanese and IKEA inspired place northwest of the city center) and headed for Paeffgen, a very Colognian restaurant/pub “where the locals go.” We sat next to a “bloody” cool Australian and his German friend and discussed everything from beer to Australia as we ate. The Aussie turned out to be a bigwig for Bayer Australia and said he planned on turning in his beer coaster that indicated how many beers he had drank as his receipt for his expense account…good luck mate! For dinner I had potato pancakes and Torsten had blood sausage. I wanted to try this local delicacy but Torsten ate the last bite before I had the chance;-) A liter of Koelsch later, we changed venues and headed for The Whistle Stop café and then headed back to Torsten’s place to rest up for a day of sightseeing.

For breakfast the next morning we had “Weckmaenner,” a bread/pastry that is made around this time of year because November 11 is St. Martin’s Day, the start of the Carnival season (see picture.) The first stop of the day was the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, which is known for its collection of 13th-19th century paintings, including medieval works by Cologne masters. The variety in the collection was very impressive! After a break on the banks of the Rhine, it was off to the Chocolate Museum—from art masterpieces to edible masterpieces. The highlight was a chocolate fountain. I was just waiting for Augustus Gloop to run past me and jump in! Of course the visit would not have been complete without a trip to the gift shop where I bought an Advent calendar filled with truffles—I can’t wait for December:-) The final stop of the day was the University of Cologne, where Torsten recently received his Masters degree (Hoorah!)

The evening found us at Cubana, a Cuban cocktail bar near the university. Between Sex on the Beach and Coconut Dreams we discussed everything from olive oil to politics;-) (GWB makes discussing politics in Europe very interesting these days!)

After brunch on Sunday morning (a German institution,) it was off to the cathedral, Germany’s most popular tourist site. The sun streaming through the stained glass produced spectacular rainbows on the stone columns lining the center aisle! We squeezed in another quick exhibit and church and then it was time to hop the train back to Berlin.

A great city + an equally wonderful host= another fun weekend in Germany!


At 9:58 PM, Anonymous DK said...

You know, that reminds me of the Simpsons episode (Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk) where the Germans take over the power plant, and they interiew Homer, and tell him they are from Germany, the land of chocolate... and then Homer fantasizes that everything in Germany is made of chocolate and proceeds to eat bits of everything like the store, the lampost, and the chocolate dog...

Mmmmm... Germany.... the land of chocolate....

Homer: (in the land of chocolate) Wow! Chocolate, half price!... (his dream finishes) la la lalala la...
Horst: Mr. Simpson.....Mr. Simpson
Homer: Huh? oh, sorry, we were talking about chocolate?
Fritz: Zat vas ten minutes ago!

And of course, remember Uter, the German foreign exchange student who loves chocolate? "Do not make me run... I am full of chocolate!"

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous The Exit said...

And who is Torsten?

At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Erin, who is Torsten? :) Jennie came to visit me this weekend and of course we discussed you in great detail :) Miss you lots! Let me know the dates that you'll be in town when you know. Erica and Jennie mentioned wanting to come up to Philly at that time so they can visit both of us at the same time.

Take care,

p.s. I LOVE the high speed German trains too!!!

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