Day 8 - Continued. That day after our trip to Amsterdam countryside we took a train (Deutsche Bahn ICE train) to Cologne. A very comfortable train running at a top speed of 300 kmph (top speed and not average speed). The journey took about 4 hours. We were booked at Pathfinder (Backpackers) Hostel. a place just a few hundred meters from Cologne Central Station. It was a very neat and clean accommodation We were booked in a two bedded room with attached toilet (most of the hostel accommodation was dormitories with common toilets). After a quick dinner, we called it a day. Our son was to join us tomorrow from Paris.
|Ancient Roman Gate|
Day 9 - Cologne. Our son joined us in the morning. We left for our first destination for the day, that is, Cologne Cathedral. An imposing structure which is worth spending time. This place was full of people. Als many locals were displaying their talent including a group of African origin youngsters showing their dancing talent. All of them expected money but none begged.
|Cologne Cathedral Another Photo|
Ludwig Museum has a good collection of paintings of various famous artists including Picasso. It has many other attractions including various temporary exhibitions that are hosted from time to time.
|On-Site Art Class in Ludwig Museum|
|River Front - Rhein River at Cologne|
Walking back from there we returned to our accommodation. Expectations for Rhein Valley car drive were already high.
Day 10 - Rhein Valley Trip day I. After picking up things for Breakfast we picked up our hired car from Sixt (a German Car Hire Company). It was a VW Passat Diesel Automatic. We left Cologne for our first destination called Drachenburg Castle. After about an Hours drive using onboard navigator, we reached the foothills of the castle. Parking our car in the car park, we took the dedicated mountain train (which runs to both levels, the castle and the ruins on the top).
Reaching the top we had a mesmerizing view of River Rhein and its surrounding valley. There is a ruin of a Security watchtower outpost (mostly Roman era) which is accessible and hence that peak (however small it was) was captured.
|Rhein River from Top of Drachenburg Ruins|
Since we had our packed stuff with us and also we had a few light eats at the restaurant at the top, we decided to move to our next stop, Eltz Castle, its a real old castle into deep Jungle.
After visiting Eltz Castle, we drove on to Koblenz for Night Stay.
|Boppard Water Front|
Day 13 - Day 2 at Berlin. Trip to Potsdam. Potsdam is a historic city in existence from Bronz age. It was the residence of Prussian Royal Family and the German Kings. Taking a metro train from our B & B area we reached Potsdam Railway Station. Taking a bus from there, we reached Potsdam UNESCO Heritage area.
First palace that we visited was New Palace. A grand structure with its independent cook houses in a semi circular construction (as heard from a guide) are photographers delight.
|Aerial View from Berlin TV Tower|
After this trip, it was a standard end of the day routine i.e. dinner and sleep.
Day 14 - Last day at Berlin. This day we were booked at 0830 for visiting Reichtag glass dom. Leaving early from our B & B we reached Reichtag via Brandenburg gate at the right time and were ushered in after giving us an audio guide and post due security checks. This glass dome is right above the Parliament hall and it is possible to see what is happening below (not hear, only see). This dome is part of the modernisation of this old historic building.
|Inside Parliament Dome|
After visiting the Parliament, we reached Brandenburg gate where we were to undertake a free walking tour of Historical Berlin (the guide expects a tip at the end but will not demand it). Starting from Brandenburg gate, we went to the "Memorial of Murdered Jews".
|Memorial of Murdered Jews|
|Some where Under the Parking and Buildings is Hitler's Command Post (Buried)|
|Part of the Berlin Wall and Secret Police Interrogation Chambers (East German)|
|Check Point Charlie|
This square has two beautiful churches (or cathdrals as they are called), the German and the French ones. In the center, another beautiful Building called Konzertous (concert house) stands proud.
Right in front of the Konzerthous is the statue of famous German Poet ETA Hoffman who once lived here *The statue can be seen in the above photograph.
Gandermenmarkt is a place where summer concerts are held. After spending some time in this cute place we had a very late lunch and called it a day. We were scheduled to take an ICE train to Dresden tomorrow for our final two days in Germany.
Day 15 - Dresden. Taking a morning train we reached Dresden by around 1100 hrs. After checking in in our hotel we set out for visiting the town. Our first stop was a place famous for its Dairy Products. Its called Pfund Restaurant and cafe located at Bautzner Street. It is a interesting place with many Dairy equipment and accessories used for decoration.
|Ice Cream Machine at Pfund Cafe|
Next place was Zwinger, a grand Rectangular Palace with entrances on four sides and a well maintained garden in the center. Decorated with gold colour, zwinger is a delight to be at. Zwinger is in the heart of the palace district of old Dresden.
Catholic Cathedral of Dresden is opposite the Opera House. It is also an imposing structure. By the time we were done with The Cathedral, it was late evening. The day finished with having dinner in Sher E Punjab. only Indian restaurant where we ate India food in 24 day trip and we just went not because it is an Indian Restaurant but because it was the only eating place open at 10 pm when we decided to come out of our hotel and have food.
|The Catholic Cathedral|
|Bastai Rock Formations|
|Church of Our Lady|
|Procession of Princes|
That finishes Summary of the trip Part II which covers our Germany trip.