Had some time in Cologne before the night train, so left the station to find some food. After exiting, I turn to my left and HOLY CRAP! That cathedral is HUGE! 100% Gothic style, it was the Cologne Cathedral. Wish there was a little more daylight to have taken more pictures. I wandered around the corner and went into the first place that looked German. English translations under the names, so I was skeptical. Got a .25L beer, which was good, but piss water compared to the Belgian beers. Had the Schwein-something, which was pork with a brown gravy, potato balls and purple cabbage stuff. It was surprisingly good. A couple guys from Austria sat down at my table and we chatted for a bit. Only one spoke English. I didn't quite catch what he did, but it sounded like some satellite stuff. Nice guys. He ordered a dark beer, so I had to get one, too. It tasted more like soda than beer. Really sweet. They were both local beers. After eating I headed back to the station
. I reserved a sleeper on the train since that was the only thing left. E20 for a night isn't too bad. Should be able to get close to 6hrs sleep. I had to go to the bathroom while I was waiting and they charge you E1! WTF! Conductor was a jerk. I locked the door as it says to on the door and he got pissed saying it wasn't just my room. Sorry if it doesn't say "only lock the door if it's full" or something. He had a key, not like he couldn't open it himself. After a few stops, a couple from Ohio joined me. They were happy to meet someone who spoke English. They bickered for awhile why I tried to sleep. Conductor woke me up at 4am for my Berlin stop. Good thing since my alarm didn't seem to work. Said it would go off tomorrow? Oops
Day 4 - Berlin:
Got off the train at 4:30. Nice station. Walked outside and nothing special, so I turned to trusty Garmin and headed toward something close that sounds interesting. Still dark, so the couple pictures I took are probably bad. Nothing opens for another few hours. I saw the natural history museum, holocaust memorial, gugenheim, and a bunch of other stuff I'm not sure of. It's a nice looking city and feels safe even at 5am. Saw an Aston Martin. Found a coffee shop that opens at 7:30 and waited. It's 6:30 and I've already walked 4mi or more. Sat for awhile and got a coffee and macaroon
. I walked around as the sun was coming up and realized the street the Gate is on has a TON of museums. Now I know what people were talking about when saying you'd need at least a week to see everything. I took pictures of from the outside while I waited for everything to open at 10. Oh, and to you west coast people, even Berlin has a Dunkin Donuts. Went to the Holocaust Memorial first. It's difficult to hold back tears reading and listening to the stories. One 12yo girl wrote to her mother saying that she was going to be killed and they were just throwing babies into the mass graves still alive. It's amazing that people are capable of such things. I read on the wall about when they stopped using Jews to do labor and started using other people and thought about my grandparents and how they could have easily been killed had things gone on much longer. I don't know the story, but I assume that's when they were taken to work in the factories. Maybe my father can fill that part in. So, after starting the day depressed, I decided to do what always makes me happy - eat and drink beer. I had a meatball dish (yes, this one actually looked like a meatball) with potatoes. It had cheese inside and was quite tastey. Beer of choice was a Bitburger. Also better than in the states. I then went to check out some of the museums. They offered a pass for all the museums on the "island" so I got one. E14. I went to the first one which was all ancient egyptian and surrounding areas, greek, roman and western European. They had some cool stuff, but you can only look at old "junk" for so long
. The really cool stuffs were the glyphs and parchments. Unfortunately the captions they had were only what they were from. Maybe if I had the audio tour, it'd be worth it, but I hate audio tours. Sadly, I recognized one of the songs in one of the rooms - The Butterfly. It's a Celtic song and I even have a version of it on my mp3 player. I would have taken more pics, but I checked my bag and my batteries died. Not bad to make it 4 days without replacing them. They're also my original batteries that I used previously. The next was a little better since it was art. Art you don't need a caption, though it would be nice in some cases, especially when they're recaps of events you don't know about. I skipped all the portraits since they bore me. There were several paintings and sculptures that caught my eye, so I took pics of them. I like the way some painters capture lighting. That's my big thing. I also like to pick out how they draw your eyes to certain things. Interesting techniques. I planned on doing one more museum, but my legs and feet were so beat, I really didn't want to walk anymore. So I walked 1.6mi to the train :-P. Not bad for a 12hr day on 4hrs sleep in Berlin, though. I was going to take the night train, but oh well.
Between Berlin and Dresden, there were some interesting towns. Along the rail, I saw this small houses (?) with really nice flower gardens. They were the size of a tool shed and some had satellite dishes. After Dresden, there was a really pretty town on a river. I got a video of it. This is what I wanted to see on my train ride. There's a cliff in the back of your house and a river in the front. I saw an interesting bridge gapping the ridge at the top. I really wish I could get more pictures. It looks like Decin or the stop before would be a nice place to visit one day.