Friends don't let friends drink starbucks
Trip Start Jun 04, 2008
11Trip End Jun 24, 2008
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Things you don't think would be weird but are: seeing little kids speaking German, hearing the TV station dub an Italian soccer player's voice in German.
FYI-graffiti comes in English more than any other language
We had the priviledge of seeing downtown Essen. You could probably fit all the malls in Wichita and Hutch in the area and still have room left over. It was better shopping than I've ever seen in the states. It seemed like every corner we turned there was another store specific to men, women, teens, etc. And even some stores with everything. I took pictures of the worldwide stores such as Burger King. I don't know what I'm going to do with all those pictures when I get home. We had to buy an adapter because my battery is low already.
Yesterday we did make the journey to Cologne. Fortunately we didn't have to venture out on our own. Priska, the 21-year old daughter of some of the people we met at the barbeque, offered to go with us. She is a student at the university and decided for some reason that on her day off it would be fun to take 4 ignorant Americans on the train to Cologne.We are forever indebted to her. We would have had some rather stupid looking moments on the train platform and wandering around looking for places to eat. Priska has never been to the States but her English is incredibly good.
Once we made it to Cologne our first stop was, of course, the Cathedral. At first we panicked because we thought it was closed for the day but they were just having a noon mass in the main part. We decided to climb the tower while we waited. 332 feet and 509 steps later we were at the top. Well, almost. The tower goes to 475 feet, but we went as tall as you can climb. It was a spectacular view all over the city. We realized the city is actally full of fairly large churches but they are all dwarfed by the Dom. After some pictures and rest we headed back down. We passed lots of boys trying to sprint up the stairs with Mom and Dad yelling from behind.
We walked along the Rhine river for a while and then realized we were starving. We agreed that Subway wouldn't work since we eat that about once a week at home. Luckily there was one of those little bakeries they really should have in the states right around the corner. 5 rolls with cheese later we headed to one of my favorite places on the trip so far.
When we told people we were going to Germany the most popular response was, "OH! Bring me back some chocolate!" Well, my favorite place happened to be the Chocolate Museum. That's right. An entire museum dedicated to that lovely, creamy, savory treat. Lindt chocolate to be precise. It had everything from the history of chocolate to the production (yum) to the sweetest gift shop ever (I know, I'm funny). Unfortunately the gift shop was ix-nayed by the adults because of a combination of price and outside temperature. I didn't see why either would be a big enough problem.
By then we had probably walked 5 miles not including the climb to the tower so we decided to return home. That is, after we walked across the large bridge across the Rhine. The train station was right on the other side of the bridge and when we arrived we (well, Priska) realized we had just missed the train that goes directly to Essen. The next one would not come for another hour. This was when Priska really proved her worth and found us another train with one change in Duisberg. It would get us home earlier than waiting another hour, which we would have done without her there. Much to our dismay the air conditioner seemed to be malfunctioning and it was hotter inside the train than it was outside.
Priska stayed over for our supper of asparagus and ham, another typical German meal. We tried to get to bed early.
Today I left at 9:15 with Amelie for school. I'm extremely jealous of her schedule. On Tuesday and Wednesday she catches the 9:30 train instead of her usual 7:30 with frequent free periods. I sat in on an English discussion of Fahrenheit 451 and presentations in Biology. I read during Bio because I couldn't understand a word they said.
We finally met some of Amelie's friends and actually everybody else is mini-golfing with them right now. I'm still tired from yesterday and I knew I had a big entry on here to finish so I volunteered to be the person without a seat in the car. I'm not sure what the plans are for the rest of the week. We have Thurs, fri, sat, and Sunday before we leave for England early monday morning