Germany

Königswinter, Germany

Old castle-like buildings in lively green mountains; scenic views as far as the eye can see; the ultra-relaxing Steigenburger Grandhotel; fresh, stingingly sweet and pure cherry juice; quiet, quaint and non-touristic town full of welcoming smiles; Rhine river flowing by; succulent Italian gelato ice cream and charm flowing through every corner. Königswinter, Germany is an enjoyable destination where you can take a break from chaotic tourism and just breathe some fresh air with the locals.

View from Steigenberger Grandhotel.    Steigenburger Grandhotel.  Raspberry Gelato Ice Cream.  Rhine River flowing by Köningswinter, Germany.  Königswinter, Germany. Königswinter, Germany

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Cologne, Germany

I can’t count how many times I’ve been to this city, I’ll probably need more than two hands.

We arrived early morning and with the six-hour time zone change, it’s a wreck on your body. You have to make a decision: “Do I go to sleep, lose some of my day but wake up well rested to enjoy the rest?” or “Do I just stay awake through the day and make it as far as I can through it?”. I usually go with the first choice, because I like heading out at night with my buddies when I’m well rested so I have the endurance to keep going and stay awake with them. By the time I got to bed, it must have been 730am and I slept until 1pm, got up and went out for a good walk. I took some photos and got some shopping done then headed to a Vietnamese restaurant called “Cyclo” with my buddies. I can’t spell or remember the Vietnamese name of the dish I ordered, but man was it ever delicious and the cooks were just so generous with the portion size! The giant bowl they gave me was loaded with noodles that were coated in a hot peanut sauce. On top of the noodles, I had various veggies with some BBQ’d chicken pieces on top; mouth-watering I tell you, mouth-watering chicken deliciousness.

The only way to finish off a Saturday night in Germany is to wash down your Vietnamese with some good German Kölsch beer! We went to a “Beer House” called the “Beer Museum” where they literally feed beer to you, non-stop, without asking until you ask them to stop, or place a beer coaster on top of your class to show the sign of “please, I’m hammered, no more”. The glasses aren’t very large, which can be dangerous, not only because it’s delicious, but also because you can down them quite fast, which leaves you coming for more and more until you’re seeing double, or even triple! The best part is, the beer is really inexpensive too! They serve the “Kölsch” beer circular beer trays that hold about 10 beers per tray; really fast and convenient when you have hundreds of beer-thirsty customers!
“Beer Houses” and “Beer Gardens” are all over Germany, you’ll have no problem finding them, but I found that they were most prominent in Munich, Germany, which is in an entire different province: “Bavaria”.

I slept in a little more on Sunday, my body needed it, but also, there isn’t a whole lot to do in Cologne on a Sunday, almost all the stores and restaurants are closed, but it’s the perfect kind of day to walk-about and take some good photos without hundreds of people and tourists in the way of your “Kodak moments”. I imagine that most of Germany is like that, but I really can’t recall if it is. Maybe someone can leave a comment and explain?

I’ve been to Cologne so many times, I think I’ve done almost all the touristic things there are to do in the city, although I’m sure I’m missing a few for sure. I heard that the “European Space Agency” is also located in Cologne; if that’s true, I definitely want to see if they host tours of some kind and check out the place! How cool would that be? I’ve been following Chris Hadfield on his adventure through Twitter, same with a few other astronauts. It’s incredible to see the life they live and the things they are doing to make History. It’s very inspirational!

I’m back home now and my friend Julie passed down some extra furniture to me to add to our home, as we’re lacking in the furniture department. Thank Julie!
Tomorrow I start my second Piano lesson and get ready for my next exciting adventure and man, will it ever be exciting I tell you! Prepare for lots of photos!

Here’s a few snaps from the short weekend:

Massive Koln Dom (Cathedral)

Massive Koln Dom (Cathedral)

Kolsch Beer and Tray

Kolsch Beer and Tray

CF18s escorting my aircraft and troops for a warm welcome home!

CF18s escorting my aircraft and troops for a warm welcome home!

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