Europe – Day 9 – February 2nd, 2018: Luxembourg to Köln, Germany

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Travel, Uncategorized

Last night we decided that our next destination would be Köln (Cologne), Germany after some recommendations from the girl who helped us yesterday and my friend Kevin, who had been there before. We got up this morning and decided to skip going into central Luxembourg so we could get an earlier train to Germany.

We went downstairs and had a delicious complimentary hotel breakfast consisting of meats and cheeses, bread, yogurt, coffee and fruit. We are really enjoying these continental breakfasts here in Europe.

We made our way to the train station about 9:30 and got on the train to head out. We are getting pretty good about finding our way around for two guys who never really dealt much with public transportation before the trip started. I must say that Google Maps has helped quite a bit and help from the numerous strangers who have shared their knowledge along the way has been even better.

The trains are very smooth and they go everywhere. It is really an incredible system capable of mobilizing masses of people. They are smooth, quiet and comfortable and can get you virtually anyplace you want to go. The scenery is beautiful and it is really neat to see the little towns and villages in isolated areas.

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Fort at Köln, Germany train station

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Train ride scenery between Luxembourg and Köln, Germany

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Köln Station – Köln, Germany

Along the way, just before Köln I saw something interesting that may be tied to family history. I saw a Winniger Winery along the tracks. Perhaps they are some distant relatives!

We stepped out of the train station to be overwhelmed by an incredible sight…the Köln Cathedral.

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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No way in hell I’d go up that ladder – Köln Cathedral in Köln, Germany

Words cannot describe the enormity and architecture of this building, and pictures cannot capture it – it must be seen to be believed and experienced. I could not stop looking at it the entire stay; the details of the details is just unbelievable. Gargoyles, statues, spires…it is really something to see. You cannot fathom what the inside of the place looks like. Think about this: this building started being built in the 1200s and wasn’t completed until the 1880s.

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

And the nighttime view from our hotel window inspired me to go for a walk…

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

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Köln Cathedral – Köln, Germany

While out walking around I stopped for some local food (no surprise there!). I went to a shop selling a sandwich called a döner. It is a type of shawarma, except the bread was more of a crusty/chewy pita that was split and filled with delicious goodness.

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A delicious late night snack called a döner – Köln, Germany

After, of course, I had to have dessert so I went by a bakery and grabbed this delicious item:

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Oh, the Pastries!

Earlier in the day Jim and I had some curry wurst mit pommes frites. It was a very filling snack and carried us through for hours. I just find something that looks interesting to eat or something I have heard of and want to try. One caveat – no mayo, which is globbed all over several foods in Europe (especially frites).

Tomorrow morning we are off to our next destination. As I write this I cannot help but look at that magnificent cathedral…what an experience.

Europe – Day 8 – February 1st, 2018: Brussels, Belgium to Luxembourg

Adventure, food, Just things, Outdoors, pictures, Travel, Uncategorized

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Statue near Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

Our hotel was in a central area near downtown so the train stops were not very far apart for where we wanted to go. The area we were in was very interesting to see in the daylight. Most of the buildings were not what I expected – modern and minimalist. Function over form.

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City Center Near Our Hotel – Brussels, Belgium

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City Center Near Our Hotel – Brussels, Belgium

We cut across a botanical park and it was a very mice park. Even those things it was quite cool and blustery there were roses in bloom and I saw something familiar in Washington…rhododendrons!

The Grand Place, however, was what I expected in Europe and much, much more. Grand centuries-old buildings, ornate beyond belief. It was breath-taking to walk into a square hundreds of years old surrounded by some incredible architecture.

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Side Street Near Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

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Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

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Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

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Side Street Near Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

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Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

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Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place has been used as a gathering place for centuries. It is ringed with chocolatier shops and restaurants. It has been used as a public market and is a massive plaza.

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Waffle Stand in Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

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Waffle Stand in Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium

For breakfast we stopped by this waffle shop and grabbed something to eat. Jim got the white-and-milk chocolate churros (which were nothing like we are used to in the States). I got a waffle with cherries on top and a coffee. It was a great way to start the day in a gorgeous place.

We made our way to the train to head out to our next destination. We finally found the correct train platform but asked a local guy to make sure we were in the right place. He spoke very little English but a girl walked up to get on the train who spoke it and she helped us out.

We climbed aboard and settled in for a three hour train ride. We got to see some beautiful scenery on the journey – small villages, cities, rolling green hills, estates and vineyards.

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On The Train Between Brussels and Luxembourg

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On The Train Between Brussels and Luxembourg

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On The Train Between Brussels and Luxembourg

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On The Train Between Brussels and Luxembourg

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On The Train Between Brussels and Luxembourg

As we pulled into Luxembourg the girl that helped us out earlier came back and talked to us. We talked about our travels and she gave us some ideas. She even showed us to a hotel and helped us get checked in with Reception by speaking French. She also gave us some ideas for food and some things to see.

Unfortunately we did not get her name, but she really helped us out. In the odd chance she may see this at some point we would like to say “merci” from the two Americans you helped out. Best of luck with your law school!

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Luxembourg -Train Ststion in Center

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Train Station – Luxembourg

We went out for food and took a stroll around. Tomorrow we’ll set an alarm to get an early start with sightseeing downtown then it’s back to the station to catch another train!

August 8, 2015

Adventure

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Today I took the Tunnel Creek trail and hiked to Hope Lake then on to Mig Lake. It was a perfect day for a hike – a few clouds but not enough to hamper the sun. The temperature was probably in the 60s, and except for six others and the loud-ass family of 5 whose kids had to scream literally at the top of their lungs, not many people.

When they say “most difficult”, they mean it. It went straight uphill for a mile and a half solid. I had red trail reviews about the hike and people were commenting about there wasn’t much to see. They were wrong! It was a beautiful hike through the forest. Lots of huge old-growth trees, plants of all sorts, and several different species of berries. As a benefit, and the canopy overhead blocked out the sun which was pretty warm when you were walking uphill in it.

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A wilderness area has its own set of unique rules and regulations. It is nature set aside by man, yet it is the most restrictive of all the public lands. In a wilderness area you don’t see a lot of human interference, such as signs. Mechanical objects are not allowed even if it is to work on the trails or clearly tree. Wilderness areas are usually pretty pristine, but today I saw the bottom of the gene pool had been hiking there. Toilet paper/baby wipes along the trail and food scraps in camping areas. People just don’t get it it seems. I do my shareeople do as well. I do my share, and most other people do as well. Unfortunately the few people that don’t really should stay home but don’t.

I didn’t let that get me down though. As you can see it was a fantastic day for a walk and it was a fantastic day for a fantastic walk.

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Hope Lake

Mig Lake

Plus, you have to remember that even though it may be hard to go uphill, then you stll have to come back downhill. I think downhill is worse than going uphill personally. It is harder on your knees.

It was a really good day in the forest. I got to decompress a little more and it felt nice. I’m hoping my bones solidify again quickly so Meghan and I can go for a hike tomorrow before I have to go back to the islands.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday’s post was an amusing little thing about making the dogs. Both of her dogs like to eat blackberries off the fine! Seriously, they walk over to the vines and pluck the ripe blackberries off and eat them!

Please bear in mind that these last two post have been off of my iPhone and I will probably have to clean them up when I get back to the islands. I just wanted to get a posting p please bear in mind that these last two posts have been off of my iPhone and I will probably have to clean them up when I get back to the islands.

Until next time!

August 7, 2015

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

Yesterday I came over to hang with Meghan at her place in Skykomish. I got here late in the day so didn’t get to see much. I have been through this area before but was just passing through.

It is a pretty area and quite reminiscent of parts of Colorado except some of the peaks, like Mt. Index, are very jagged like the Sawtooths in Idaho. There are beautiful streams and lots of trails as well, and Saturday I am going on an all-day hike.

Today I saw Meghan at work and she showed me around the Forest Service office she works in. That was pretty cool to see. After that I did a short loop trail by Deception Falls. It was the first forest hike I have done in over a year – between work and the wreck I have not been out in the woods much and I have missed it.

Meghan at Work

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Meghan got off work early and we went to an airplane museum, where we saw some interesting planes. One thing that was really cool was the DC-3, and they even fired up the engines whole we were standing there!

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It is great to see Meghan again and it was great to be in the woods again. I have had quite a bit on my mind lately and badly need to decompress and try to regroup. I did not really realize how bad I needed this weekend until today when I set foot on that trail and saw those giant trees and the waterfalls. I felt a sense of peace that I have not had in a long while and I really am looking forward to being being high on the trail tomorrow.

Until then…

It damn sure won’t be another year between hikes like that.