Day 1 – Cologne
Thankfully we had stayed at the Radisson at Stansted, this meant we could drag ourselves out of bed and simply stroll to the departures in only a few minutes.
We flew with German Wings on a brand new plane and bang on time. It was the perfect start.
Upon Arriving at Cologne/Bonn airport we made our way to the train station and went to buy our ticket. Now, in the UK it couldn’t really be much easier to get a ticket for the train, well Germany have decided that actually buying a ticket should be as awkward as possible. First of all the only card you can pay with is the Germany Issued EIC card – Not Mastercard, or Visa – No, EIC. And of course the machines don’t give change, that would just be too straight forward.
Anyway after messing about and the kids being amazed at my German Skills we set off into Cologne. Now I love Cologne, Italy not included its one of my favourite European cities, not only because a German Architects way of modernizing a dull 1970’s concrete building is simply to stick a KFC sign up but because you get a real sense of being in a European city. Lets be honest, most European cities lack character and identity, well not Cologne. If nothing else it is built around The Dom a huge twin spire cathedral. It really does have to be seen to be appreciated.
Of course the kids and I decided it would be a great idea to walk up the metre wide spiral staircase to the top – Now, whether we thought it was a good idea half way up is another story altogether. However, after breaking through the wall of lactic acid, sweat and ridding myself of the 6 pints I had last night we made it. And it is high – Very high. But we did it : )
Next was a 5pm 3hr train ride to Bremen. I have to say, had I realized I was paying 60 Euro to go back in time and ride on an antique train from the 1920’s I wouldn’t have felt so ripped off. Still, it’s the same old Germany – Its old, knackered and pre war machinery/building – Attach a modern sign to it and pass it off as the here and now and no one will notice! Hmmmm.
The kids are really tired after what has been a very long day, obviously it is going to take a few days to get into the swing of things, but once we get to China and the pace slows right down I think we’ll be more than prepared. In terms of how they are coping and having stressed the importance of hydration to both kids Charlie is no problem, but I have found that after only one day I am constantly having to remind Abi to drink and to get her to finish her food. That said today has been a very warm 28 degrees and I always expected Abi to take a bit of adjusting.
Next stop Bremen…