Germany

Part deux…uh, make that part zwei of our trip was to Germany to visit some friends. We hopped on a Thalys high-speed train at Gare du Nord, one of the railroad stations in Paris. Our train took 3 hours and 15 minutes to travel from Paris to Cologne, Germany (or Köln, as the Germans call it). We even stopped at Brussels and a few other towns to let passengers on or off the train. The train was clean and spacious with comfortable seats, and we even had wifi access.

arrivals board

The arrivals board at Gare du Nord. We kept hearing this clicking sound and soon realized it was the letters on the arrivals board flipping to update the info.

koeln cathedral

The Köln Cathedral, which is right next to the train station. Before our train left to go back to Paris, Sam and I took turns running through the rain to admire the cathedral and peek inside.

After arriving in Köln, we met our friends and they drove us to the little town where they live about an hour northeast of Köln. It was dark on the drive to the town, so when I woke up the next morning it was exciting to see the beautiful, wooded hills. This leg of our trip was a welcome contrast to the first part of our trip: Our time in Paris was filled with sightseeing, but in Germany we mostly hung out with our friends, played games and went for walks. The daughter of our friends had a pet rabbit named Anton, and we even took him for a walk. He had a special rabbit leash and liked to hop in the meadow and eat grass.

german hillside

German hillside. So green!

path and woods

One of our walks was on this path alongside a stream.

dessert and bunny walking

It was our friend’s birthday while we were visiting, and she had prepared a feast of German desserts! And here’s our friend’s daughter walking her rabbit. He was hopping around so much it was hard to get a picture of him.

sam rabbit and mushroom

Here Sam is holding Anton the rabbit. And to the right is a very poisonous mushroom. The recent rain in Germany ensured lots of mushrooms popping up amongst the brush and grass.

sam and frau hauer

Sam with his former Sunday school teacher.

One special part of the Germany trip was meeting Sam’s Sunday school teacher from when he was about four years old. Frau Hauer was a missionary in Pakistan for 38 years and was an instrumental part of the children’s ministry in the city where Sam grew up. We went to her home for lunch, where she had prepared a Pakistani meal, and then she took us for a long walk in the hills.

red tree and houses

We got our fix of fall colors in Germany. Look how red this tree is!

sam with pony

I spy a miniature pony.

andrea by stream

And here I am during our walk alongside a stream.

After a few days in Germany, we took the train back to Paris, where our flight back to the US departed from. If you’re thinking of traveling to France, we give Air France two thumbs up. The flight attendants were super friendly (and spoke to us in English…I guess we have “American” written on us!). And not were there TVs in the back of every seat with great movie selection, they served complementary champagne and wine with the meals. I’ll toast to that!

And as you can see, we made it safely back to the States and have shaken off the jet lag. Now I’m sorting through photos to make a photo book (love the look of Blurb books!) and am snacking on the cookies, chocolate and European style jams we brought back as souvenirs. Our trip has inspired me to try a few new recipes, so hopefully I can tackle them soon and share them with you. Ciao for now!

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