Thursday, June 9, 2011



Being in Germany made me realize that if I had Italian friends, I would learn Italian much quicker. Or, if I lived in Germany, I'd be on my way to a fluent second language.
Of course I can boldly say this because I have neither!

However, I love Germany!
Wait. Actually, I don't know if I really love the country itself, or the fact that we got to spend five fun-filled days with our great friends Laura and Julia, and got to see where they live- finally!

Oh, and having multiple Starbucks fixes didn't hurt...

Regardless, it was so much fun, and I can't wait to return!

James and I flew in separately because he was actually going to Germany for work and took some extra days off for vacation! How convenient!

On day one it was just me and Laura walking around Düsseldorf.
Still enjoying my Starbucks!

We spent that evening walking around the town, and then we sat down for a bite at a resturant called Louisiana. Go figure. Can't complain though, it was quite delicious!

Düsseldorf kind of reminded me of Georgetown (DC). And I decided that one day I might have to live in one of these cute homes along the waterfront.
Ok maybe not. They're way expensive, but a girl can dream!

After dinner, we walked some more and then headed home to see the rest of Laura's family and get some rest! Why does traveling always wear a person out?!

Day two!

James came in that morning, and we immediately got to sightseeing- no time to waste!

We hopped in a cable car that took us over the Rhine river and into Köln (Cologne in English), the main city that Laura and her family live by.

It took us over a highway bridge- a little frightening!

Once over the bridge we walked towards the main cathedral (Köln Dom - pronounced Cologne Dome) and did some shopping on the way on the main shopping stripe.
What's vacation without some shopping?!

Alas- the Dom!
It was more gothic than any cathedral I've seen yet and I think it could be my favorite. It is huge! It's in the middle of the city so you can see it from pretty much everywhere.
After checking out the inside we decided to climb the bell tower.
It's probably the hardest thing I've had to climb since living in Europe- and we've climbed a lot! But as usual, it was worth it!
On the way down we saw a little old man seriously struggling up because he wanted to "be in the sky." So James, trying to be encouraging, told him he was almost there... It's a good thing he didn't speak English because he was probably a 1/4 of the way up and heaving at this point- Oh James! Laura on the other hand was telling him he should turn around, hah!

After catching our breathe again, I was pleased to find the Germany Version of my favorite store:
That's right, TK Maxx!

It was pretty crazy to me because whenever people ask me what I miss about the states, I always mention TJ Maxx- so, I was thrilled!

Now to locate a Euro Chipotle...

Next we got some Starbucks (yes, again!), Brötchen (fresh and delicious German bread) and Berliners (they are similar to fresh jelly-filled sugar donuts) to reenergize!

Let the walking continue! This was one of my favorite walks- we walked over a bridge to get back to our car on the other side of the Rhine River, but from there you had a great view of the Köln Dom AND along the walk there were tons of locks locked to the wire fence where lovers wrote or engraved their names on their locks, locked it to the fence and threw the key into the water signifying their forever love.

How sweet!
There were some crazy locks!

Finally we headed back for a home-cooked German dinner of vegetables, potatoes and sausage! Dinner was of course followed by dessert and what better than gelato! No really, this Italian couple opened up a gelato place right by Laura's home. How convenient!
Es war gut! ("It was good!" Actually it was SO delicious... but that's the extent of my German) So, in honor of the Italian owners we ordered spaghetti ice cream!
It was vanilla ice cream with whipped cream filling and strawberry sauce on top:
Buon Appetito... er, I mean... Bon Appetit!

Day three!

We decided we did enough walking on day two, so today would be a little more restful- boat tour on the Rhine River!

We did have to walk a little to get there, so on the walk we snapped pics by a popular sign which reads "Liebe Deine Stadt" or "Love Your City."

On our walk we also passed by the fountain that is on our souvenir Starbucks Köln mug, so we had to capture that as well:

Finally, relaxation!

We shared the tour boat with a cute little old lady talking on her cell phone like a walkie talkie:
Old people are too cute!

After the tour, we walked by "4711" which is a popular perfume made in Köln.

The perfume runs continuously through this faucet so you can not only test it, but you can smell it all around the inside and outside of the store.
I thought it smelt good...
but I think Laura would disagree...

Regardless, I did learn that Eau de Cologne means "water from Cologne," or Köln- cute!

As the walk continued we spotted a UDO (unidentified driving object)...

While on the train to Köln Laura had been telling us about this tree that people tie shoes together and throw up in the tree, but we couldn't find it. Then on our way home, the train made a stop and when we looked out the window:
Viola! Pretty neat!

Once back at the house, we had another home-made German dinner- soft pretzels with mustard and white sausage (SO YUM!), which is another typical meal (and probably my favorite!), but more from Munich area, in honor of James' grandmother! Laura is so thoughtful!

And then of course, dessert!
Ciao Messicano gelato!

I'm a little embarrassed to say, Day four is a blur... all I remember is what we did that night! Opps!

For dinner we had a cookout, which is apparently popular in Germany. I love BBQs! But first we had to go to the store and pick up loads of sausages and steaks. While at the store we learned a little about their recycling system. In some cases, when you by bottled water you have to pay $.50 extra per bottle, but then when you bring them back to recycle you get that money back. I guess that's one way to teach people the importance of recycling- forced green-ness.
Here's James feeding the bottle recycler.
Good thing James' arm isn't made of plastic...

And the backyard BBQ-

...But why stop the fiesta there?!
Though this wasn't our last night, the rest of our time there would be pretty busy, so Laura's dad and his girlfriend decided that for dessert we should go out for cocktails rather than back to gelato. So, we went out for yummy fruit drinks at a cute Mexican restaurant in the more downtown area where they live.
If you like Pina Coladas!...

Followed by a night drive through Köln:
Love that city and these sisters!

Day five, our last day *tear*, started bright and early! We were picked up by a family friend of Laura's who let James drive his antique Army Jeep to a bakery for breakfast.

Food was good, ride was sweet, driver was HANDSOME!
Random Fun!

Then, since James had yet to see Düsseldorf, we decided to spent the whole day there.

I already talked about Düsseldorf, and it's more of a place like Georgetown/DC where it's just nice to hang out and take in.

Pit stop at a cute lake by the museum:

After much walking around and enjoying the beautiful weather and day in Düsseldorf, we stopped for our last Starbucks, where we met Laura's dad and gf and then headed to a Car show type place.

This one is electric, and while we were outside, it drove up behind me and I didn't not hear it at all so I was just standing there, right in it's way... whoops
I want it!

...and some oldies:

Um, can I get this set up in my house- Cute!

After car shopping we had dinner, and just had to try some more typical German food. I didn't take a picture but we had a Düsseldorf specialty- pig ankle! I think it is one of those things that you "have to try," I'm just not so sure I'd do it again. It was very delicious but really fatty so... yeah...

And that was pretty much all for Germany! After dinner we went back and packed. In the morning we headed out to the base in Ramstein where James had to work for the next week. That was fun, but not much to share as we lived like we were back in American for a week-Burgers and fries, Cinnabon... Mmmm... little taste of home!

By the way, here was my favorite part of the flight:
Flying over the alps! Breathtaking!
Can't wait to blog about going there... when I get there!

Now back Italy...

What has been your most breathtaking view?
Have you tried any "have to try" foods while traveling?

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