Friday, March 19, 2010
Aachen und Koln
Saying goodbye to Amsterdam was hard, but it meant that new adventures were ahead of us. We activated our Eurail Passes and headed to Aachen, Germany to meet up with my friend Tim, who is studying there. We had a bit of trouble with the trains but magically found Tim waiting for us in Aachen.
Staying with a friend offers a very different perspective than staying in a hostel. We got to see Tim's neighborhood (where KT and I got lost more than once), meet his friends at a wine tasting party and again at a cafe, share a delicious german meal in a german home (Thanks Amy and Stephan!), and get a feel for everyday life in Germany.
We were also made desparately aware of our lack of German language skills. We attempted to go out for lunch on our own one day, just KT and I. It took a while to pick a cafe, but eventually settled on a nonthreatening internet cafe near the university. Unfortunately we could not figure out how to order food so we each got a coke and headed on our way. Our next stop was a turkish fast-food kind of place. Again the language barrier made us very uncomfortable. We did not know where to sit, if we were supposed to sit down and then order, order at the door, when and how to pay, or even what to order. We stood in the entry just watching for a about 10 minutes. Eventually we did get our lunch, but we definitely have a new appreciation for others who are trying to bridge a language gap.
Saturday we took a day trip to Koln (or Cologne). We climbed the million steps of the cathedral for a beautiful view, hung out with my cousin Becca (!!) and wandered through the city. We enjoyed a great lunch of different authentic German dishes at a restaurant on the Rhine River. The food and company was fantastic. We laughed and ate and took a stain out of Tim's shirt with salt. Walking through the city we found many statues to pose next to (our favorite pastime).
Overall it was a great weekend spent with good friends. It was encouraging to see that three people from different parts of my life could have a wonderful day together.