Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Itinerary!

Since these take so long to type up and I want to try to not skip anything, I'm only going to do this a couple days at a time. It should also help to cut down on complaints about miles long entries with no spaces between stuff.

Little bit of background info to explain our reasoning:
Jake's friend Adam had his spring break the first week of ours and he wanted to go to Germany, so we did Germany first. He also wanted to go to Rome with us, so we had to make Rome fit on a weekend. Everything else just kinda fell into place.

Day 1: Friday, March 20
Yay first day of travel. We started off with just clothes, toothbrushes, camera, phones, laptop, external harddrive, mp3 players and all the powercords and batteries associated with those electronics. All of that fit into my backpack and Jake's duffel-bag, both of which we carried on. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We had to get a bus to the train station, then a train to the Manchester Airport (hour and a half or so), then a plane to Germany (2 and a halfish hours), then a tran from the Cologne airport to the main train station, where we walked to our hostel. Adam had gotten there earlier in the day, so we met him there. We stayed at the Station Hostel, only a couple of blocks from the train station. Picked it because it was close and would be easy to find at night, since we landed at 11:10 and didn't get to the hostel until after 12. All in all, it was pretty uneventful. Getting through passport control in Germany was ridiculously easy, they just took our passports and stamped them, didn't ask any questions at all.

Day 2: Saturday, March 21
We woke up, had showers, locked our stuff in the lockers in the basement of the hostel, and set off to explore Cologne. First thing was the Dom, giant church right next to the train station. It had really impressive stained glass. After that, we wandered to a sculpture park that was farther down the Rhine, and looked at stuff there for a while. After that, we went to see the Roman Tower, the city wall, and an old city gate. Along the way we walked past a park that had a really awesome slide, so we stopped and played there for a while. They also had a zipline that Jake jumped on as soon as the little kids stopped playing on it. Then we went back to the hostel, got our stuff, went to the train station, and got a train to Koblenz. We hadn't made reservations for anywhere other than that first night in Cologne, but we knew how to get to hostels because Adam had a book for backpackers that reccommended hostels and how to get to them. The one that we had picked was one in a castle/fort. You have to take a bus from the train station, and then walk down a street a while and up a large hill/small mountain. So we finally get to the top, and the sun is just setting, so we got a bunch of pictures of that. Then we had to try and figure out where this hostel was supposed to be. After wandering all over it and finding a parking lot, we finally asked someone if they knew, the lady had a map and turns out that it was right by the entrance and that we had walked past it. We went in the gift shop to get our own map (since we were standing right outside it), and then went bak to where the hostel was, only to find that IT WAS CLOSED FOR RENEVATIONS. By now it was like 8 or 9, and we were on the top of a mountain and needed someplace to stay. We didn't know of any other hostels, so we started walking back to the train station and stopping at all the hotels along the way to ask them how much it would be. Finally found a place across the street from the train station that ended up being 105 euros for 2 rooms, split three ways it was a bit more than we wanted to pay, but it was the cheapest that we had found so far, and we were all tired of carrying our stuff around. For some reason, German hotels wouldn't let you put three people in one room, which is why we ended up getting 2 rooms. It was weird. Anyway, after dropping our stuff off, we set off to find some dinner, and ended up eating at an Itallian restaurant we had passed while hotel hunting. Eating there was weird since Jake spoke German to the guy, Adam ordered in Itallian, I did it in English, and the guy was all happy that Adam spoke Itallian. The other people in the restaurant spoke Spanish and spent like 10 minutes trying to get the Itallian guy to understand what kind of coffee they wanted after dinner. It was strange. Then we went back to the hotel, and went to sleep. That was the only time that we were really in trouble trying to find someplace to stay, with the possible exception of Zermatt, but I'll get to that eventually.

That's enough for now I think. My goal is to try and have all the write-ups done by the time classes start next Monday. I think that's feasable. Pictures will hopefully start going up next... Tuesday? Not sure.

In other news!
Jake's mom will be coming to visit us, but we have no idea what we're doing while she's up.
Belinda is coming to visit too, but we have no idea when we're doing stuff with her since it depends on when finals are.
My family is coming, but don't know when.

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