After visiting Holland, we worked our way into Germany for a quick stop at a city that's very close to Belgium: Cologne (or Koln). This was the first time I'd been in Germany, and my first impression through this city was pretty good!
Cologne is Germany's fourth largest city and is known for (apparently) some crazy parties and celebrations, which we didn't get to experience, as well as this cathedral:
It was so big I couldn't even get a proper shot! As dirty and dark as it is, I still thought it was really awesome and beautiful. We first took a visit inside the church itself...
Some shots of the windows. I love stained-glass windows, they're so pretty to look at~
We decided then that we wanted to try to climb to the top of the cathedral, but first we took a quick walk around the surrounding area. One of the things that I think makes a city really beautiful is if it has a body of water. So going down to the river was really nice.
There were some pretty grass areas where you could have a picnic or hang around, and we saw this neat little rock structures that I found pretty.
There were all these pools of water with stepping stones, tiny streams and waterfalls. So quaint!
On our way back, we could see the cathedral poking out over the other buildings. Starting to get nervous about the walk up the tower...
Here's a shot of what I'm pretty sure was the train station! I enjoyed a lot of the architecture in Cologne.
We got back to the cathedral and it was finally time to climb that tower. Man was it rough. It wasn't the first time that I'd gone up hundred of stone steps in a tight, cramped twist of a space. But that doesn't make it any easier.
We made it to a large circular room that signaled to us that the worst part was over. The stone windows and whatnot were interesting (sorry that it was so hard to take pictures in there!) but that wasn't our final destination. We still had a metal set of staircase to go before reaching the top, but that was nothing at this point.
Looking up at the very point of the roof!
As rough as it was, the view did not disappoint. From so high up we could see so much of the city.
Definitely worth the climb!
Funny story on the way down, by the way. You don't feel the effort as much going down the stairs, so my pace was a little faster. Suddenly I notice that the tourists in front of me were speaking a very familiar language... They were Japanese tourists! This was the first time I'd ever seen Japanese people in Europe! They were these two guys, a little older than me, walking back down the stairs as well.
I wanted to talk to them and practice a little, but had no idea what to say and was too shy. I couldn't help but stay pretty close behind them, though, both excited to be able to hear the language and trying to come up with an excuse to talk to them. At one point, they stopped in the staircase fairly suddenly, and I accidentally sort of bumped into one of them. I reflexively excused myself in Japanese, and they both whipped around, looking at me and behind me in shock. They looked so intense that I was too embarrassed to say anything else haha (d'oh!) They probably thought they were hearing things because they just kept going...
I never got the courage to say anything else to them. But I was disappointed in myself for not just throwing myself out there and I learned my lesson - next time I noticed a Japanese person was near me, and forced myself to be courageous and trying talking to them. It went great, and I'm actually friends with them now!
Anyway, that's my small taste of Germany with the city of Cologne. And that ends my epic journey of summer 2010! I've actually been back in the states for over a month now, and so I quickly learned how hard it was to blog while abroad. But I'm glad I was able to take some pictures and share some of my experience for you guys.
Looking forward to new adventures! :D