Trip Start Dec 16, 2007
42Trip End Feb 24, 2008
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Yesterday started with the S Bahn EMU into Koln Hbf to buy a breakfast of Koln Bretzel and then a separate Starbucks orange juice and hot chocolate. The weather in Koln has been relatively warm, in the low teens, allowing us to dress quite lightly. Before breakfast we had popped into the tourist office to get a map and were using this to help plan our day.
Our first activity was the Chocolate Museum, accessed by an enjoyable walk down the Rhine. For me the museum had not changed but to Belinda it was all new so we didn't rush. The highlight of the visit would of course have to be the free Lindt, the fresh fondue wafers and of course the extensive chocolate shop at the end
The walk back to the station we changed up a bit by going through the main pedestrian mall so that Belinda could buy a new German mobile SIM since her Australian one has been deactivated. She ended up getting a German pre-paid package although we have yet to get on the internet to activate it.
A nice 2nd generation ICE train whisked us out of Koln Hbf to Wuppertal for some different activities in the afternoon. We were of course in Wuppertal to ride the world's oldest operating monorail, something that I did with Charles on our round the world trip. The over 100 year old system has undergone some upgrades since I was last there but the trains still swing excitingly around the corners on this fun suspended network.
After riding to both ends of the line Belinda wanted to check out the main drag of the town and associated shops near the Hauptbahnhof. This included a large supermarket visit resulting in the purchase of 5 blocks of Schwarze Herren and some Tuborg Weihnachts-Pils on my part. For lunch we finally succumbed to NordSee fish and chips in a fake newspaper roll at the shopping centre
By the time we were leaving for Koln it was growing dark. The next train back was meant to be an RB but while waiting onboard at the station we were delayed by a late running ICE also headed to Cologne, that we would've caught had we known it were late.
Back at the hotel we achieved a quick turn around before taking our dirty laundry on the train into town. At Hansaring we found the laundromat near the station and set to work with the Miele washing machines. While they ran their loads we visited the huge Saturn CD store across the road until they somewhat rudely kicked us out when they closed at 7pm. While our clothes continued to wash we hunted unsuccessfuly for dinner and got some cash out.
With a bag full of now clean clothes we were ferried once again back to Frankfurter Strasse station and our hotel. We still needed dinner so we chose the KFC across the road from the hotel in favour of chasing and slaughtering one of the many rabbits in the adjacent field. The KFC was better than expected and the salads we got were nice, despite being mostly lettuce.
Today we visited Phantasialand, a theme park near Cologne in the town of Brühl
At Brühl Hbf a crowd amassed around at the bus stop with people arriving on several trains and all wanting to take the shuttle to the park. We managed to hop onto the bus but had to stand for the 15 minutes to the park.
Once there it was a quick and easy process to enter the gates, after which we made beeline for the 'Deep in Africa' part of the park and the Black Mamba suspended coaster. After riding in the front row we made our way around the park, the highlights being the castle drop and launch tower, Chinese spinning theatre, Talocan and the Winja's Fear and Winja's Force coasters. These latter 2 coasters seat 4 back-to-back and spin as they go down the track. In addition to this they're technically advanced featuring lifts, tilting and bouncing track segments all cleverly concealed within the ride building.
Despite our preditions and the rain early in the day (the one day Belinda doesn't take the umbrella and I don't wear a hood!) we ended up staying in the park until closing time at 8pm.
By the time we took the bus and trains back into Cologne it was late so we ended up having KFC for dinner again next to the Etap for speed and convenience sake.