Germany is a place where I had spent a woefully short amount of time during my life - cosidering it's so close - but the main point of my journey was to meet up with some very dear friends. During my trip, I was able to spend time with herminekurotowa, sinfulslasher and meazrael_64 and for that reason it was a very special week.
My trip started when the plane touched down in Dusseldorf airport, and herminekurotowavery kindly came to collect me, this bemused looking Dizzo wandering heplessly around the airport concourse. I owe a big debt of thanks to herminekurotowa and her lovely family for housing me and making me feel very welcome during my stay.
My first outing was on Tuesday when I headed off from Dusseldorf to Cologne to meet sinfulslasher. At the main station, I was confronted with a dazzling array of train lines - the U-bahn, the S-bahn, the D-bahn ... I thought, 'if I don't end up in Stockholm at some point during this trip, it will be a bloody miracle!'
The Deutsche-Bahn inter-city express
However, luckily, I had herminekurotowa on hand to make sure I got on the right train, and got safely to Cologne where I was met by sinfulslasher who I know from Jus in Bello. We had an awesome day, and I was simply overwhelmed at how beautiful and how historical Cologne was. And this is coming from a Brit - I have plenty enough 1,000-years-plus history to call my own - and yet I was still agape at the sheer heritage on display in Cologne. The Cathedral itself took almost 700 years to complete, and is, I believe, the second highest cathedral in the world at approximately 160 metres. For that reason, didn't take any photos of it because I would have probably had to be standing in Frankfurt to fit it into the camera screen, but here is an internet picture taken from goodness knows where ...
We visited the Lindt chocolate museum, and thankfully because the day was blazing away at about a zillon degrees, I was justified in not buying anything from there because there was no way I could keep it cool. Afterwards, I sampled a local beer in a local brewery - and as a non-beer drinker, I was pleasantly surprised at how refreshing it was!
At the end of the day, sinfulslasher put me on the right train to get back to Dusseldorf central, and from there I made my way back to herminekurotowa's apartment via two trains (one of which ws going in entirely the wrong direction, hence the need for a second train), and a lengthy association with Google Maps!
On Wednesday, I was excited to meet up with meazrael_64. I first connected with meazrael_64 on fanfiction.net where we started our association simply by reviewing each others' stories. From there our connection grew closer and more personal, and extended into email and later, to here and on Facebook. We have been corresponding for roughly 10 years, and yet had never met 'in the flesh', and so this was a very special day for both of us.
herminekurotowa and I met meazrael_64 off the train from her hometown at around midday, and our face-to-face connection was effortless; we bonded absolutely as well as we always believed we would.
herminekurotowa proved to be a great tour guide around Dusseldorf, taking us for a tourist bus trip around the city before we stopped off for lunch. After lunch, herminekurotowa had to head home for family matters, and meazrael_64 and I continued our association, making our way, via rather disorientated wanderings, across the city toward the station that we both needed to head back our separate ways, stopping off to sample a very promising looking wine bar along the way!
The following day was another day spent with these two lovely ladies, another stroll around Dusseldorf, with a few drinks and lunch before meazrael_64 had to head homeward bound. I'm so delighted to have taken this opportunity to finally meet her, and I'm sure it won't be our last face to face meeting!
My final day in Dusseldorf was spent with herminekurotowa strolling around Dusseldorf, taking a boat trip along the Rhine, and generally enjoying my last full day in Germany. We finished off on a ladies night out with cocktails in the old town!
So yes, this was a trip I have been planning to take for a very long time, and it was thanks to herminekurotowa that it became possible. I'm thrilled to have finally spent some time in Germany at long last too. (And in that respect, I'd like to apolgise to Germany as a nation for the standard of my attempts at speaking German ...
Final thanks have to go, once again, to herminekurotowa who took me back to the airport, and guided me brilliantly when due to a cancelled train, my journey there went from one train to three. Without her help, I probably really WOULD be in Stockholm by now!
A few random mugshots of a fabulous week:
Travelling in style in Cologne
On the bank of the Rhine
Don't look up!
Beautiful old medieval building
The 4711 headquarters. 4711 was my Gandma's favourite Eau de Cologne, so this brought back lots of poignant memories for me!
The inside of Cologne Cathedral
With meazrael_64. Zum Wohlsein!
Friends across borders - our own mini European Union!
Much hilarity with herminekurotowa at trying to take a selfie in Dusseldorf
wild and windswept on the Rhine
Vielen Dank Deutscheland!