Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our Last Day of Our Travels...

...turned out much different than we thought it was going to be!!

We enjoyed catching up on some much needed rest that morning and then prepared to get back on the road and go to our next destination... Cologne, Germany!

 Picking up our TLF

 Shenandoah did a great job...

 ...making her bed all of her own accord!!

 Sabrina fixing breakfast

 Myself doing this blog post :)

 A Saber 
- daddy was telling us how the sabers were one of the first fighter planes

 Of course the landscape is so much fun to look at!

 As we were driving north, the weather changed from this... this as we were up in the mountains!!  It was really funny because it wasn't that far away.


Thankfully it wasn't snowing in Cologne, but it was a lot colder than the day before!! 
Unfortunately the "ignorant tourist" factor come in to play... We didn't realize (until we found ourselves caught in the midst of it!) that last weekend was "Carnival" all throughout Germany and the Netherlands.  We quickly learned that "Carnival" is like what "Mardi Gras" is in America.  We also learned later that Cologne is where one of the top 3 biggest celebrations take place!!!  No wonder it was SO crazy!!!  We couldn't believe it - had we known that, we would have made different plans. :)

 There were people dressed up and parades and marching bands EVERYWHERE.  Parking was a challenge and posed a LONG walk once we finally found a place.

 A lady came by and put a handful of candy in Shenandoah's lap.  Shenandoah doesn't really look like it in this picture, but she was quite pleased. :)

 This was our main reason for going to Cologne - The Cologne Chocolate Factory and Museum!!!

 Unfortunately, it was closed for Carnival!!! (When we had checked its hours, it's pretty much opened all the time EXCEPT for German holidays.  Of course, I already told you that we didn't known it was a holiday. :)  We were pretty disappointed, as we had all really been looking forward to going, but we're looking forward to going again in the future.  Since it's not very far from us, we should be able to make that happen.  Who wouldn't for chocolate?! :)

Note: I had planned on doing a little *fun* something on the blog (maybe you can guess?), but it required us going to the chocolate museum.  I had to make a slight change of plans and postpone the *fun* thing for a little while longer yet.  Stay tuned for the future...

 While we were trying to figure out what to do, we met to really kind people that helped us understand more about Carnival and also gave us some good information about the area.  David is a local from Cologne (but speaks great English and has done some exchange classes in the US) and Hilary is from Ohio, but is currently studying (through exchange classes) in France.  She was visiting David on her break.  We had a nice time visiting a little with them as we decided to go the same direction - to the Cologne Cathedral.

 The Rhine River is beautiful

 A marching band!

 We happened to be going the same direction, so we fell in behind it. :)

 A knight on the tower

 There were a lot of stairs

 It's hard to see, but there is a plane up in the upper right hand corner.  I thought the combination of blue sky, clouds, cathedral, and jet contrails was really pretty.

 The Cologne Cathedral
(I never expected to see so many cathedrals in my life! :)  They are all unique though.)

 Thank you to David and Hilary - they were a blessing and very pleasant to meet!!

 Walking around Cologne 
(we found the less crazy area of the city - for part of the time)

 Some of the many different people

 I should have gotten a better view of the amazing crowds of people and all of the CRAZY costumes.  The fact that I was trying to not only keep an eye on Sayer, but also keep up with the family as we wove in and out of the crowds probably came in to play as far as why I didn't though. :)  

 As we were leaving, there were storm clouds rolling in over the Rhine.  If you know me well, you know how I felt about that!! :)

Driving home...
 It's fun how there are just so many castle ruins scattered in and around the hills.  You see quite a few as you're driving

 We pulled off the road to try and find a place to eat, rounded a corner and low and behold we were confronted with another castle ruin!!

 We ate dinner in this really neat little village
We wish it would have been earlier in the day because it looked like a great place to walk around and enjoy.  Daddy took a drop point on his GPS though, so hopefully we'll find it again.  

 We ate at a nice Italian restaurant.  We were the only people there who spoke English, so we just had to look at the menu and make our best guess!  It turned out just fine, because we were able to avoid the pizza with fish (I was afraid we weren't going to make that one :)!!  Do you notice the green water bottles on the table?  It's funny, because in Germany they can't serve you plain tap water by law.  If you ask for water, you get in one way - carbonated in a bottle!!  Shenandoah is the only one who doesn't care for it.  She always asks "Is this the spicy kind?!" 

Shenandoah really liked her dinner!


Veronica said...

The first few pictures of the scenery reminded me of the Mid-West. SO flat and you can see for miles!!

The architecture over there is AMAZING!!!


Poor Shen! I don't blame her! As much as I am a water drinker, I am equally against carbonation! Ew!