Fall Break Part Three ~ Cochem, Germany {day 50}

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For our previous day’s adventures in Luxembourg, click here.

On Monday, we had planned to stay in Germany. We wanted to go to a small town in the countryside, preferably near a castle. Come Monday morning, we had yet to actually choose said town. It was a test to our adventuring skills and the control freak streak several of us have, to not really have a plan on the day we wanted to go. But we (well, the Sams. Have I mentioned they’re the best?) did some research on Monday morning after we got up, and found Cochem. It fit everything we wanted, and was only a couple hours away, with a train leaving soon. With that decided, we finished getting ready, caught our train, and headed to the quaint German town with a castle.

When we arrived, we were not disappointed. The little town is nestled in between forested hills, with a branch of the River Rhein called Mosel cutting it in half, and a castle crowning the town on a nearby hill that looks over the entire valley. We were ecstatic, and began wandering around, first to find lunch. We stopped at Chapeau Claque Bistro and got sandwiches, then meandered to the “downtown” area, stopping at several stops along the way to do some shopping.

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It was pretty popular, but not overcrowded. We got the impression that it was a common place for Germans who were on vacation, but not international tourists like us, which was nice because it kept the old German town feel without being touristy. We then headed up the hill to the castle, Reichsburg Cochem. It was a bit of a hike, but completely worth it.

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There was a metallic looking painting on the tallest tower

The view from the castle was spectacular as well.

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We then headed into the castle and went on a guided tour. The tour was in German mostly, but they gave us a sheet in English that described all the rooms, and our guide spoke some English to us as well. The inside of the castle was just as fabulous.

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The banqueting hall

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Our tour guide– very friendly and helpful, always trying to explain as much as she could in English to us
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Legend has it that if you close your eyes and touch this mermaid (hanging from deer antlers…) belly, you can make a wish and it will come true

The tour was about an hour, and we spend much of the time admiring the view from various balconies of the castle.

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Finally, it was time to leave, if we wanted to do anything else that day. We took a short detour to a small field on the side of the hill overlooking Cochem.

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We then crossed over the river to the other side of town. It was more residential, but we were trying to get into the woods above the houses on the hill to do some hiking. We ended up not having enough time to make it, but we did still get some great views.

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Finally, we headed back down and grabbed dinner at a restaurant along the river. The food was really good, and the weather was perfect to eat outside and enjoy the view. We then headed back across the river to the train station and caught a train back to Cologne, arriving around 11pm.

It had been a more relaxing day, spent in a picturesque German town–and in a castle, which we were all thrilled about. If you’re ever in Germany, we suggest visiting Cochem!

Thanks for reading! Soon to come, our day in Belgium!

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Fall Break Part One ~ Cologne, Germany {days 47, 48}

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The second week of October was our fall break! We had ten days to travel wherever we wanted. The Group decided to do a week based in Germany. We would stay at a hostel in Cologne, with day trips to Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium, as well as Cochem and Berlin in Germany. We had one full day and two mostly full days in Cologne, and this is what we did with them!

~day 47~
To get the most out of our time, we wanted to get into Cologne early–this meant taking a plane at 7am, which meant getting to the airport around 5am, which meant leaving the house at 3:45am to take a taxi then a train to the airport… it was an early morning but we were ready and excited for the trip to begin!

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Our 4am train selfie

We got into Cologne around 9am, and took a train from the airport into the city. I have taken some German so I was able to translate a little, but it was still an adventure to do even something simple like buying a train ticket. Once we exited the train station, we were immediately greeted with the view of the Cathedral, dominating the center of Cologne.

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We checked into our hostel, Station Hostel for backpackers. As far as hostels go (at least, compared to the one we stayed at in Scotland) it was pretty nice. We left our luggage there and then went out to explore the city and get some lunch. We made our way to the Altstadt (Old City), which is the hub of the city. Naturally, my first German meal was bratwurst–and it was delicious!

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After lunch, we headed back to the Cathedral to take a tour around it and climb the tour. Both the inside of the church and the view from the top of the tower (533 steps!) were both beautiful.

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After that, we returned to the hotel and crashed. It had been a long day already, so we napped for the afternoon until evening, when we grabbed dinner from a bar in the Altstadt, as well as stocking up on water bottles from the super market nearby. Then we returned and spent our first night in Germany!

~day 48~
The next day, Saturday, we also spent in Cologne. We left the hostel around 11:30 and went first to the NS Dokumenszentrum, which is a preserved World War II Gestapo prison. It was a really interesting museum to learn about the history during that time in Germany, and we were glad we went, though it took much longer than we had expected. When we finished it was about 3 in the afternoon so we stopped by a pretzel stand to get a late snack before dinner. German soft pretzels are amazing, and we were able to sit in an open grassy area along the Rhein River and eat them. From there, we headed towards Gros St. Martin’s church. While it didn’t quite compare to the Cathedral, it was still a lovely church, and there were some original Roman foundations still available to see underneath the church, which was cool.

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From there we headed to the Chocolate Museum. It was really interesting to learn about the history of chocolate and how it was made, but let’s be honest, the best part was free chocolate.

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We left as the museum was closing, around 5pm. Since we had found out the hard way last night that most things here closed earlier (and also we hadn’t had much of a lunch so we were super hungry) we decided to start looking for dinner. Wandering through the Altstadt, we eventually found a small restaurant and sat outdoors, since it was such a nice night. Through a mixture of German and English, we were able to order some burgers, and they were SO good. Finally, we headed back to the hostel. Our room was a 6 person room, and last night it had been just the four of us in it, but tonight we were joined by two other students from Malaysia. None of us were very talkative and our group headed to bed quickly, as we had another full day ahead of us!

See part two in Luxembourg here! Thanks for reading!