We stopped by a little bakery on the way to the tram stop and stocked up on a gigantic pastry feast of Berliner donuts, pretzels, strudel, croissants, and an apple turnover thing.
We took the tram to the U-bahn and the U-bahn to the Haupbahnhof, then hopped on the train to Kolbenz, where we needed to change to Luxembourg City. Unfortunately, the train was ridiculously full so we had to sit awkwardly in the area between train cars until people got off at the next stop.
We tried to sneak into the restaurant car and not buy anything, but the restaurant car guy was definitely wise to our game. Oh well, we got seats after about 20 minutes, so the last 40 minutes were pretty comfortable. We only had 4 minutes to connect in Kolbenz, so we ran to the train and made it just in time.
Thankfully, the train was basically empty, so we had our pick of seats.
The train ride was pretty weird.
First of all, we got our tickets checked literally 4 times for the same train. Also, they checked our passports with our tickets, which is very uncommon.
Theoretically, the Eurail pass isn't valid without a passport, but this was only the second time we had to take them out for the conductor.
Also, we had a weird pair of guys come up halfway through the trip, flash badges, and ask Jeremy for his passport. The badges looked exactly like the EU passport cards, so we were suspicious. Plus, they were clearly about 22 years old and wearing street clothes, so I asked them why they wanted our passports. They told me they were "federal police," so I asked to see a badge.
They had weird little ID cards that said "policia," so we let them see our passports without letting go of them. Apparently they only wanted to see Jeremy's passport-- I guess he looked suspicious. They MIGHT have been real police? Not really sure... but at least we still have our passports. Funniest part about the situation was the older Luxembourgish gentleman who came up to me after the "cops" left and congratulated me for asking the dude for his badge. Seemed to think the whole thing was pretty hilarious.
We arrived in Luxembourg around 11 AM and it was raining, so we went to H&M! We all bought a few warmer shirts since it is suddenly cold, and we had a good time looking at all the weird fashion. It stopped raining while we were shopping, so we headed towards the cathedral in the center of town.
It was lovely inside, but they were tuning the organ and it was pretty awful so we left in a bit of a hurry. We spent a while scoping out a restaurant that had cheap food and free internet, and we finally found one that sold sandwiches and soups.
After about an hour, we had taken care of all of our internet business-- finally, a good connection!
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Luxembourg's many squares and watched the changing of the guard at the palace. Then we walked along an old wall and took pictures of the view of Luxembourg City. Unfortunately, it started raining while we were at the wall, so we had to elaborately juggle our umbrellas in order to keep the cameras dry. Since the weather was so terrible, we decided to go back to the train station and head back to Cologne.
This time, we got a compartment to ourselves and only had our tickets checked 3 times!
We also had to show our passports to border control, but they didn't give us any trouble except for scolding us for having our feet on the seats in front of us. "Feet on the seat? This is not good..." HAHA. Apparently we have been defying some extreme social norm for the last multiple months-- glad we found out about it 3 weeks before we come home.
We had Japanese noodle soups for dinner, then went to bed early so we could wake up in the morning and head to Roermond to meet up with Daniel! Will post about it soon-- Awar!
On Monday morning (6-20), we woke up really early to spend the day in Luxembourg! Luxembourg, as it turns out, is its own tiny little country. They even speak their own language--Luxembourgish. Anyway, it is a feasible train ride from Cologne, especially since our train are essentially free with the Eurail pass.