The train ride from Luxembourg to Koblenz is beautiful; a major part of which is spent traveling down the Rhine Valley. It takes about three hours, with one quick change in Trier.
Out of the train station I quickly found the internet and a hostel, and went to the information center to get more directions and so on, only to find that Sunday is really frustrating for traveling, as even this was closed.
I traipsed into the nearest swanky looking hotel and asked the bemused concierge for bus directions. After explaining just how far away the hostel is, I wasn’t particularly pleased – it was a decent bus ride, the buses were infrequent, and I looked at my list of things to do here and they weren’t particular exciting. I decided that part of what would be an eight hour train ride to Berlin the next day could be knocked off faster now, and using the flexibility of the Interrail I hopped on the next train to Cologne. Until it was canceled, but I totally hopped on the train after that.
I’ve been to Cologne twice before, but never stayed over – between connecting flights (Cairo to London, and Miami to London). So it was with some nostalgia when we pulled into Cologne Hauptbahnhof and the familiar sight of the Dom came into view. The Cologne Dom was untouched during the war, despite the area around it being absolutely flattened, which is fortunate with it being one of the tallest churches in the world. I also have memories of being there in early 2008, with a fever, climbing all 509 stairs to the top. I decided againdst that this time, and just headed to an internet cafe to find a hostel. Having used internet cafes every time I’ve been here, for some reason I can never find them again, and always have to ask for directions. This time was no different and I circled several blocks with my packs before eventually finding one, booking a hostel and headed straight there – Station Hostel, conveniently just around the corner.
I was put on the top floor, and there was no elevator – but I was enjoying the rough introduction to the trip as I’d get fitter faster this way – all a good thing, as my pack was noticeably heavy – something I certainly didn’t remember from the end of my South America trip. I decided on a quietish night, trying a BBQ schntzel at a restaurant nearby – which was delicious, until I and the guy at the table nearby noticed a small mouse running around the tables. Good times. Did some internet stuff, had a drink and turned in.
Next – the anticipation of Berlin is finally realised…
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