Getting to Köln

You can take a fast direct train from Basel to Köln or take one that follows the Rhine River. I chose the later.

Before we left, my Deutsch Bahn app told me the arrival in Köln was going to be 24 minutes late. We did not really care.

The app also said the train would be unusually busy and reservation of seats was recommended. We already had reserved seats.

The app was right. Even the first class cars were almost full when we left the main Basel station and by the Basel outskirts station, people were standing in the aisles.

The trip was supposed to start at 12:20 and arrive at 5:05 pm. The first couple of hours were not particularly scenic. Lots of vineyards and industrial areas.

But then we started following the Rhine River.

It’s very wide in this western area of Germany.

We also started to see a lot of castle-like structures on tops of hills.

The sun was shining so brightly that the reflection shows more of what we were doing inside the train than the sights outside.

This is by way of explaining why my many photos of the various castles are not worth trying to post. It was, in short, like a Viking River cruise advertisement for travelling down the Rhine.

We arrived in Köln at 6 pm; 55 minutes after schedule.

Our hotel was near the Cathedral or Dom. We walked outside the station and this was what we saw:

Our hotel room looks out onto the Dom from the opposite side that faces the train station.

Our dinner at the hotel was mainly for sustenance after missing lunch. The train was so crowded, we could not tolerate trying to order food from the restaurant car. Luckily I still had a bag of almonds from our flight from Canada. Scott managed to buy a small bottle of wine, but for me, wine on an empty stomach is a recipe for stomach ache.

For dinner, Scott decided to start with pickled herring and then to try saurbraten, a German beef pot roast with red cabbage. His came with fried dumplings. I continued my veal obsession.

While we were eating, an anti-vaccine parade went by.

Even on vacation, try as you might, sometimes you cannot escape the rest of the world.

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