Seattle to Cologne, 9–10 Oct 2019

This year’s big trip is to visit Kellen and Noël who have been living in Germany for the past year and a half. After spending time with them in Cologne, we’ll head to the Alps, Munich, Salzburg, and Berlin. It’s been almost a quarter-century since Melody has been to Germany and over 40 years for me.

We travel pretty light, each with a backpack and a small suitcase. The bag sizing bins were pretty small; our bags were fine but there was no way our backpacks would fit in the personal item bin. We checked our bags, and when we boarded, we saw the personal item bin was sized for the middle seats, which had very little space under the seat. Melody was easily able to get her bag under the seat, but mine went into the overhead bin.

Instead of taking a direct flight, our first leg was to Reykjavik, Iceland for a relatively quick transfer. We were a bit concerned when our flight took off about a half-hour late; the cabin door was closed, but when we thought we were going to leave, it opened again so a maintenance worker could come back in. Fortunately, he didn’t take too long and e were off soon afterward.

We got some views of the Cascades and the Canadian Rockies before we crossed the day/night terminator and were treated to a nice moon view. Then it was time to try to get some sleep. We usually don’t sleep very well on red-eye flights, and this one was no exception. We did doze for a while, so that was something. Even though we did quite a bit of planning beforehand, we took the opportunity to fine-tune what we would be doing after we arrived in Cologne.

We arrived about an hour late in Iceland, giving us less than a half hour to get through passport control then find our gate. Of course, we happened to pick the slow line to get our passports checked, but there seemed to be several people on our flight from Seattle who were also going to Frankfurt, so we figured the plane wouldn’t leave without us. Sure enough, we got on the last bus out to the plane. After seeing the coast for a bit, we got above the cloud cover which would be our view for a while.

After catching a bit more sleep, we descended through the clouds and caught glimpses of Frankfurt. We taxied for what seemed an eternity, but did make it to the gate and found luggage claim.

The last meal we had was some stuff we took into the plane out of Seattle so we found a place to grab a little bit for then and a sandwich for the train ride. We wandered around looking for the train station for a while before realizing we arrived in the other terminal. After realizing that, we found the tram to the other station, got our train passes validated, and found the track for the hour-long ride to Cologne. The train was quite speedy, about as fast as the Shinkansen we rode in Japan.

It was a short walk from the Cologne train station to where we were staying. We quickly checked in and did some unpacking, then went to find food. We opted to go to a small grocery store in the train station to find dinner, then went to a bakery to get dessert. While we were out, we saw a guy riding a bike over a retractable bollard; his front tire went over just as it started to go up, and his back tire didn't make it, so he had a spectacular fall. He seemed physically fine, with the most damage being to his dignity.

Back to the room to eat and firm up plans to get together with Kellen and Noël the next day. Then we managed to stay up and ended up not going to sleep too early, a triumph for our time change adjustment.