Saturday, April 29
My cell phone can't speak German. At least, that seemed to be the problem when it wasn't able to connect with any cell towers after landing at the Frankfurt airport. Apparently, my phone didn't bother to read about its' new International Plan. Because the phone wasn't functioning, I was anxious that I wouldn't be able to contact my Aussie club host.
My arrival in Germany was a familiar mix of excitement and anxiety. I was delighted to be following my dream of living in Europe. Figuring out my way around airports, train stations, and cities – with directional signs in foreign languages – is equal parts of uneasiness and adventure.
My plan was to take a train from the Frankfurt airport to Bonn, where I'd be picked up and taken to my hotel. I'd never taken the train before and didn't know where the station was located.
I wandered around the Frankfurt airport for a while, looking for the train station. I finally found it. I struggled my way through buying a train ticket from a machine, and took the “lift” (elevator) down to Track 6. My next challenge was deciphering the train schedule. I managed to get on the right train and was delivered to the Bonn station. The difficult part of the trip was over.
A delightful young man, Phillip, picked me up and took me to the charming Hotel Zur Börsch in Niedercastle. Several excellent restaurants and the historic Rhine river were just three blocks away. I had a delicious dinner of Asian food at MayDao, went back to the hotel, and fell sound asleep. Several nights later I enjoyed an Italian dinner with friends at Ristorante Da Pino, and I highly recommend both restaurants if you make your way to Niedercastle.
Sunday, April 30
Phillip and his mother, Elke (el-kay) treated me to a tour of Cologne, Germany. We admired the city's cathedral, explored a Roman history museum, viewed the entire city from atop a tower, and hiked across the Hohenzollern Bridge over the Rhine river. Phillip was the best tour guide! He shared his knowledge of Cologne's history from World War II to the present day.