Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Europe: Day 3 (Germany)

Good morning readers!

Rise and shine! We were so excited to start a new day in Europe. Today's itinerary will be Cologne Cathedral and Heidelberg. I know it's only two major attractions coz the journey was very long and the sky became dark after 5pm. Not much can be done when it's winter. You can read about the day before in Amsterdam here.

The magnificent Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) being the largest Gothic church in northern Europe and used to be tallest in the world was constructed in 1248.

Woke up at about 6:30am Amsterdam time. I'm wearing a thick long john inside that's why I look fat.

We got down to the lobby after getting ready and looked for the cafe for breakfast.

 The beautiful classy lounge.

 The restaurant for course meals.

 Finally we turned into the breakfast hall.

We started our breakfast at around 7:15am with abundant of ham, sausages and cheese.

 See you again Park Plaza. We will stay here again on the 2nd last day.

The weather was so damn cold I can feel micro snow in the mist.

Our journey started at around 8:30am and we could see modern electric windmill everywhere.

As you go along the highway you will see the gorgeous countryside filled with cottages, farmhouses, sheep, horses, cows, ducks, geese and swans. I have tons of photos but you might get bored soon.

Crossing over the German borders, modern architecture and corporate buildings jumped into the view. It was obvious sparse countryside slowly fades away.

Stopped by for a toilet break. The machine accepts coins only. Usually there will be someone standing by the side watching over.

Remember to take your receipt. It's €0.50 for every entry at the highway rest stops. You can redeem this coupon when you purchase anything from the store.

Again I thought those products originated from Malaysia but actually nope. Was kinda surprised. Fanta is from Germany, Lipton is from Scotland, Red Bull is from Austria and Nescafé is from Switzerland.

Mmmm...everything looked so good but we opted for something we thought it was light which was sort of an apple crumble. The piece was so so huge! Like twice of what we would normally get in Malaysia... but for only €2.50 sumore with the 0.50 toilet rebate! An average wage in Germany is €2054 (2014 source) but they pay so little for food. A piece of cake in my homeland costs from RM5 - RM8 or more. Most of my readers are Malaysian so you know the calculation.

We saw a pretty bed of fallen maple leaves and decided to take some vain pictures.

My gloves are sponsored by Matsu Gloves (previously known as Kursheuel). Super comfy and high quality lambskin leather gloves kept my hands warm throughout my trip. I could never thank Matsu Gloves enough. You can read my review and links to their social media here.

 I'm not sure what's the name of this river but it's huge. Any German locals kind enough to tell me?

The journey from Amsterdam to Cologne took 3 hours. It was already lunchtime when we saw this. You know you are in Cologne already when Colonius was the first thing you saw.

An iconic food when you reach Germany is this. Currywurst is fried sausage which doesn't exactly drizzled in curry but ketchup. Pomme is potato and in this case pomme frites is french fries.

 Christmas merchandise all over the streets. Awesome!

As we cornered the alleys of the city center we caught glimpse of the gigantic structure. It's just like seeing the twin peaks of KLCC from the North-South Plus highway for the first time and screaming my lungs out when I was little.

OMG! Cologne Cathedral is so humungous!

 We walked across from the gorgeous Excelsior Hotel Ernst.

 You may need to walk up a few steps.

And voila! No words ca describe how we felt. There's always some construction going on to maintain this historical building.


A medieval fountain in front of the square.

 The view was magnificently perfect so we sat down and pose for tons of photos.

We walked to one side and saw a huge Christmas market. Omg! Omg! this is one of the reason I chose winter. We'll come back later after going into the cathedral.

This is one of the side doors which is only for decoration I guess.

At the entrance to the cathedral. There are 2 layers of automatic glass doors. I was like so urban eh?

The first thing you see when you enter. Since it's a tourist attraction, visitors are of diverse culture, races and religions which is a good example of peace and harmony if you know what I mean.

Everyone just loves to take photos at the"front row" that we have to queue for our turn.

I took the chance for some prayer.

Side view of the seats.

The medieval stained glass looked so new and polished makes me doubt if it's original.

 A beautiful golden altar.

 Bless our marriage <3 comment-3--="">

Here's a confession booth beside something that looks like a tomb. Don't judge me coz I got no time to read the explanation of each chamber.

This looks similar as the picture above but its different. I believe those are tombs of past Fathers. Correct me if I'm wrong.

 And another altar. We did not even complete 10% of the cathedral.

 Well, this looks like another confession booth.

Finally we stopped here. There are more sections like this on the other side but it would take us the whole day lol.

We went up to the front and this is what it looks like.

When we turned behind realized people were looking at us so we decided not to take couple selfies.

We came out after nearly half an hour and took more photos. Sorry it's just too amazing.

Some close up on the architecture.

We walked to the right and can't wait to enter and hunt for lunch.

The highlight of a Christmas trip to me is visiting a Christmas market. 

 Happy girl is happy!


Beautiful sight of the cathedral as backdrop of the Weihnachtsmarkt.

 Try some cookies.


We then proceeded to visit as many booths as we could. Below are some of the photos I managed to capture and one particular old lady in a stall halau me wtf then I stopped taking photos.

So tempting but we have like 7-8 more days and those delicate souvenirs will be crushed in our luggage.

I specifically reserve this photo in my phone coz this guy is super cute omg! Even my dad said he looks like Ken doll. I wish we can get to know each other. 

There's a huge natural Christmas tree between the stalls. Yeah I emphasized on natural coz we don't get to see this in Malaysia.

Wanted to try the "hering" but afraid they might be raw (I know the "haring" in Amsterdam is raw) or too sour due to pickled or just too weird to our taste. The only fish I eat raw is salmon.

In the end I bought Kasspatzle for only about €3 - €4 which is German version of mac n cheese. She put some caramelized onion and sprinkled on parsley. Overall it was quite delish but jelak.

So this is my lunch coz I just ate a very huge apple crumble a while ago.

We saw this cow and made some funny poses. The girl in black is tall and gorgeous btw. In previous post I told you Germans are very attractive.

 What a fun time we had. It was already past 2pm we have to go :(

Hauptbahnhof is main station of each city in Germany an in this case this is Köln Hauptbahnhof. All I know is it is the 5th busiest station in Germany and super massive.

Goodbye, beautiful church! We then used the washroom in McDonald's and even here also got charged. What's with Europe and toilets? In Asia or specifically Malaysia we don't have to pay when using toilets in restaurants, highways, petrol stations and malls (most malls I go to nowadays don't charge anymore).

 Wow! Love their modern architecture.

What a busy highway.

 Hello Frankfurt!

As we went further and further modern structure left us and came the cottages.

Ah so many sheep I felt like wanna chase them!

 After so many farms and forest we saw a town at last. Does that brick building looks like a castle?

 Who the hell would risk their lives for vandalism at such unlikely place? 

Rest stop somewhere near Frankfurt .

 Yum kinder eggs are my fav.

I hated this salz brezel. Its salted pretzel crackers and the taste sucks. I would prefer if the sprinkles were sugar or honey coated. I wouldn't mind cinnamon chocolate or caramel too. Seriously the manufacturer should come out with what I suggested. My husband gave a packet to his colleagues and his parents and they all returned back to us wtf!

Saw another beautiful autumn-ish spot for photo taking.

From Cologne to Heidelberg took anther 3 hours. It was barely 6:30pm but the sky was dark as hell. when the bus moved into the small town I was praying please don't get too dark or else we ca hardly see the beautiful scenery and famous bridge. This is such an underrated town that barely gets tourists but I tell you Heidelberg is so romantically beautiful it will steal you heart. You can Google images or read in Wiki.

Hmmm yea...the town looks deserted. Where did the villagers go?

We had dinner in this oriental restaurant.

 We always have some tea to warm up coz it was freaking cold and my nose looked like Rudolph.

Delicious home cooked meals.

Here's Karl Theodor bridge (Alte Brücke), a bridge over Neckar built in 1788. Ok it's not that bad due to the awesome lighting.

All syiok sendiri pics.

Well, I wonder why there's a monkey sculpture just before entering the gate. So here's the story.

Bridge Monkey is a bronze sculpture by Professor Gernot Rumpf installed in 1979 on the west end of the Bridge Gate. The Heidelberg Monkey holds up a mirror to those who look at it. So what is this unusual sculpture doing at Alte Brücke and what is the significance of this monkey and its mirror? 

According to legend, the Bridge Monkey is intended as a symbolic reminder to Heidelberg citizens that neither the city-dwellers nor the people who lived outside the city of Heidelberg were better than the other and that they should look over their shoulder as they cross the bridge to remember this. 

Why a monkey? There was a bridge monkey in Heidelberg going as far back as the 15th century. Old drawings of the town show it's located next to the tower on the north end of the Old Bridge. Unfortunately, that bridge monkey disappeared during the Palatinian War of Succession between 1689-93. It is believed that if you touch the fingers it would ensure your return to Heidelberg, touch the mirror for wealth and touching the erm whatever will ensure fertility.

I read that the gate existed way back in the middle ages along with the foundation of the bridge. See the statue behind me? It's the statue of Minerva. There are two sculptures on the Old Bridge. One is a monument for Prince Elector Carl Theodor who initiated the bridge to be built. The other is devoted to the Roman goddess Minerva. Hmm why Roman? The figures symbolize the most important rivers of the lands governed by Carl Theodor: the Rhine, Mosel, Danube and Isar.

The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles around 1294. Then there were fires and further destruction. The castle has only been partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is located 80 meters up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside.

Romantic but cold evening. I just enjoyed the view while my hubby happily shoots with his DSLR.

Wonderful night view of Neckar river.

I just love sitting by this street. It was so calm and peaceful.

We then found out there's a Christmas market somewhere in the middle of town but don't really have time to shop.

Pretty Christmas deco at the entrance. We stayed at Leonardo Hotel Heidelberg. It only costs about 119 per night with breakfast included.

 This tree looks a bit pathetic but at least its a real tree.

 The lobby.

 Beers are dirt cheap here...if you don't convert lah.

 We stayed at 3rd floor.

This room is the smallest we stayed throughout our trip but no complains la.

Not bad la the toilet. Looks like the master bathroom in our house.

Seriously I couldn't find shampoo but then I saw a packet that reads Pantene hanging above the tub. When I used it turned out to be conditioner. Wtf! 
  
Ok that's all for today. See you in Germany again on the next post where we will be visiting an awesome scenic lakeside village and the largest plain waterfall in Europe.

My Christmas in Europe video
11th April is our 11th Anniversary

11th April is our 11th Anniversary.. A special dedication to my wife.. Love Love..

Posted by Keong Da'Great on Friday, 10 April 2015

2 comments:

  1. Gorgeous photos, thank you for sharing!!! I cannot wait to make it Europe myself one day. Currently, though, I am traveling the United States via bicycle and raising money for charity, so I hope you will take a moment to check out #TravelWithMitch 's adventures: http://www.travelwithmitch.com

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mitchell,
      Thanks for dropping by my blog and glad you like it. Sure I will check out your page. Interested see your journey through US with bicycle

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Thanks for your thoughts