May 29, 2007

Berlin To Cologne

Cologne CathedralCOLOGNE, GERMANY - When the ticket agent at the train station in Berlin quoted us the fare for the the 4 hour journey to Cologne as 180€, my wallet shrieked. I´d heard that trains in Germany were expensive, but this was more than I´d bargained for considering that I almost went from Beijing to Moscow for that amount.

I think it was Jon who asked if there was anything cheaper. This is how we discovered the joy of riding local trains all over Germany. For 35€, Jon and I were able to spend the entire night hoping from local train station to local train station. Not only did we save the nights accommodation in a hostel, but we had a strangely enjoyable night of adventure.

All in all, we changed trains seven times and missed only one connection. In many of the towns we had some time to wander around the centre before hoping on the next train, and for 35€ we couldn't afford not to do it.

In the end we arrived in Cologne just before 4am. We ditched our luggage and spent most of the morning wandering the city and seeing the sights while we waited for a reasonable time to check in to the hostel and pass out. Except for the odd drunk trying to find their way home, Cologne is a peaceful city at 5am on a Sunday. We had the entire Cathedral to ourselves.