Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I now owe blog entries on our 3-day trip to Berlin over the weekend as well as the 1-day trip the kids and I made to Cologne with Don and Mary today. I'm going to start with the smaller job and hope that I have the energy to face the bigger one tomorrow.

We set out this morning on the 9:30 train to Cologne so that Don and Mary could attend a hardware show up there. The kids and I were merely along for the ride. We arrived in Cologne at 11:00 and took Don and Mary across the bridge on a local train to the Messe where the show was being held. The kids and I then walked back across the bridge and set out on our own adventures. Here's some art we saw hanging off the side of the bridge:

I was excited to be back where I had spent a wonderful month as a student back in 1987. I wanted to show Mike and Annabelle where I lived then, but unfortunately the name of EVERY street and EVERY subway stop sounded a little bit familiar and we didn't have the time to chase down a bunch of leads. So we left that for another trip and took off on the subway for the far end of the main shopping district.

When we came up out of the subway station, the first thing we saw was this:

Then we stopped by a toy store where the kids were thrilled to find Dogz. Basically this is a set of 24 little rubber dogs, each packaged in a small brown wrapper. You buy the wrapper for 99 cents and then open it to discover which dog you have received. Collect them all! We have looked in every toy store from here to Darmstadt to Heidelberg and never seen the first one. But today we walked into a toy store in Cologne and there they were! Here are Mike and Annabelle showing off their new dogs in front of the cathedral:

Kind of hard to see, eh? Here's a closeup:

After lunch at a Chinese buffet, we strolled through the shopping district back to the train station. From there we got on the subway again and headed off for the zoo.

I took a ton of pictures of the different animals, but this one is my favorite:

And here are Mike and Annabelle hanging out on a lion sculpture:

We met up with Don and Mary back at the train station at 5:00, had a slice of pizza, and then headed up to the platform to wait for our train:

There were no benches, so we improvised by perching on a low rail. For those of us with larger rear ends, this was no big deal, but Annabelle had some technical difficulties thanks to her tiny hiney:

We had an uneventful trip home and walked through the door almost exactly 12 hours after we had walked out this morning.

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