37. Rodos // Greece

Months ago, my sister Jess had mentioned that her and her partner Alex would possibly be spending some time in Alex’s friends family home, and had kindly asked if we wanted to join them. We debated over this for a long time…free accommodation…Greece…Island…Rhodes….Summer…seeing my family….was a hard decision!! So of course we said yes and that’s how we came to be in Rhodes old town in the middle of August. You would think that a simple ferry across from Turkey and visa process would run pretty smoothly and it did, except for the very persistent very Greek authoritative officers who insisted on me unpacking my backpack and rummaging through 3 weeks of dirty clothes in order to make sure I wasn’t carrying anything I wasn’t supposed to. (I have no idea what the baggage x ray machine was for then), but finally we were on our way and back in the EU.

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I had mixed feelings about entering Greece. I’d heard that since the recession it really hadn’t recovered and I half expected to see people squatting in half finished apartments or living on the side of the road. However, as Rhodes is one of the most touristy islands, it seemed they had just jacked the prices up on everything and had recovered quite well. We had 2 nights in the old town to give Jess and Alex a little time to get over their jet lag and settle in by themselves. It was still excruciatingly hot so I had booked another air conditioned room with a swimming pool, so we basically spent the next two days walking around the walled city, eating gyros, drinking mythos and swimming.

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Before we knew it, it was time to leave and catch the bus down to Asklipio, which would be our home town for the next month. Luckily I had been able to view the bus timetables online, and realised that this bus would take us all the way up to the town, which only happened twice a week, score! With neither Jess or I having a phone number or reliable wifi, we had agreed to meet at a town square in the middle of the town. We jumped off the bus at the top of a hill, asked where the square was and were directed to the smallest town square I had ever seen with Jess and Alex sitting under a tree sipping beer. I’d only seen these guys at Christmas for the smallest amount of time in the past 2 and a bit years, so after hugs hello and a quick beer, we headed back to our cottage to continue the celebrations.

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Asklipio is a town of about 500 people 64km’s south of Rhodes and sits upon the top of a hill so about 4km’s to the nearest beach. The cottage that we would call home for the next month was approx 300 years old and consisted of the bedroom which had all our mattresses in it and apparently used to accommodate a family of 8 people. It had a little verandah, in which Clinton and I ended up sleeping on every night under the stars. Downstairs was a kitchen with a fridge and a little gas burner, and then the bathroom, which I could hardly stand up in, and Clinton had to sit on a tiny stool in order to shower.This used to be where the family kept the animals, so in other words, a stable. This had a western toilet built on a slab of cement and a shower. The rest was dirt. It was really basic, but I actually became quite fond of our basic home for the next four weeks.

We very quickly developed a daily routine, which was to stay with us for the rest of the month. Morning would consist of Greek coffee or iced coffee whilst sitting on stairs and reading, or chatting and saying Kalimera (Good Morning) to all the locals that would walk past. Quite often, our neighbour Maria, who was about 80 years old and spoke very little English would come out for a chat and a joke. One particular morning, Alex and I were awake earlier then the others, so were having a chat and a coffee very quietly on the steps. Alex pointed to quite a large bumble bee who seemed to be playing with a chicken bone that we had left out for one of the stray cats. We watched as this bumble bee buzzed and gnawed at this chicken bone.We were both quite amazed, as we did not think that bees ate chicken, but apparently in Greece they do. You can imagine our horror, when eventually the bee picked up the chicken bone and buzzed away with the whole thing in its legs…We were gobsmacked! But I do think that bee would have been hailed a hero in its little bee community…

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Anyway, so each morning we would share breakfast, say hello to the stray cats that we had named, (Big Balls and Aidy were my favourite)  and then either read, watch movies or go to the beach. To get to the beach we would wait on the side of the road and hitch hike down the hill. Interestingly, we never did go without a ride. Everyone in the town was just always so friendly and happy to help us down the hill saving a very long 4k walk in the heat.

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Living in the town for a month was a great experience which I guess a lot of travellers don’t really get to do. We really did get to immerse ourselves in the Greek culture. As the town was on the hill all the houses basically faced each other and the locals stood at their front door and yelled at each other in order to communicate. Although these conversations were obviously in Greek we did kind of understand what was going on through dramatic hand gestures and found these interactions quite humorous. It was almost like this village had never heard of mobile phones or the internet!

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Whilst we were up at the local gyros tavern one night called Sylvia’s, Jess and Alex got talking to a man named Emmanuel who was from Adelaide but had family history and a house within Asklipio. Emmanuel, who was now retired, spent the summers over in the village and was in the process of renovating his holiday house. As it was getting close to the end of the season, and all his friends had gone back to Australia, and so Emmanuel kindly offered to drive us around Rhodes Island to visit some of the other villages and landmarks. So the next morning the four of us climbed into his old beemer and spent the day exploring Rhodes. Emmanuel was one of the nicest people I have ever met travelling. He had travelled with his wife when he was quite young and so understood the backpacker mentality. We had heaps of great conversations over frappes, (that he then kindly purchased) and he then proceeded to drive us around various landmarks on the Island. We got to climb a small hill to a church with great views over the Mediterranean, visited a tiny village which was famous for Suma, a clear liquor made from grapes, similar to Raki and about 50% alcohol. He took us to a place called the seven springs, which was a tranquil, peaceful haven for local Greeks, where we dined on traditional Greek food and cooled down in the running springs. Emmanuel then briefly showed us his fathers village, before stopping at a great little bay for a swim stop and a beer before returning to Asklipio. For the rest of our time in Asklipio, Emmanuel became one of our closest friends, and we would quite often meet up for a beer, or he would invite us to the different beaches with him. Never have I met someone so genuinely friendly, who just really wanted to show us a great time in his ancestors country. Even though we constantly tried to give him money for fuel or the various drinks and lunches he bought us, he wouldn’t have a bar of it, and simply stated that a lot of people had given him a hand when he was a backpacker and he was now in a position to give something back to someone else. Unfortunately, in today’s world its not often that you meet someone so willing and giving of their time, and as much as Emmanuel made our trip in Rhodes, he really restored my faith in humanity.

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This mentality was really reflected in the whole village. Wherever we walked people would yell out “Yassu” (hello) and ask us what we were up to and if we needed anything. Even if the elders could not speak English, they would still try and continue to talk to us in Greek. Our lovely neighbour Maria, would constantly make coffee for us and offer to wash our clothes. She baked us a delicious honey Greek cake one afternoon and bought it over for us to enjoy. Jessica and I got to sit in her kitchen and help her make dolmades with the leaves from the vines on our verandah. When they were ready she gave us the whole batch to eat, not even eating one herself. Words cannot express how delicious these morsels of happiness were. As it was summer there were a few celebratory festivals on in the village and we were always invited and encouraged to participate. One Paniyiri festival was so massive that the locals were still up and dancing at 5am!

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In between all the eating and drinking and reading and relaxing, Jess and I escaped to another part of the island for a day trip to spend some time together. We spent the morning shopping before enjoying the afternoon lying on the beach with a few drinks. As I said previously, I haven’t spent much time with my sister as she has enjoyed 2 years travelling and working in Canada and the Americas, and before this time we lived in separate cities. I found it interesting at how our relationship had evolved over this time, years ago we would have probably been fighting and talking about boys, and today our conversations lean more towards travel, marriage and babies. It was special to have that day together as now we are both travelling through Europe and the UK and it may be a few years again before we are reunited.

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As the summer season ended and the tourists disappeared, Clinton and I were left wondering what to do next. Getting tired from always being on the road, we knew that our travelling days were numbered and it was getting close to being time to pull up shop for awhile. We slowly started to plan the next 6 to 8 weeks of our time which would take us through to the end of October. We enjoyed the empty beaches of Rhodes for a few more days, and then it was time to say goodbye to the fam, pack our bags and head for Athens….the Acropolis Awaited!!

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18. Zurich // Switzerland // Verona // Italy

As previously warned, Zurich is a complete dump.

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It’s extremely expensive, there’s nothing to see and overall, its as avoidable to a traveller as a meat pie is to a paleo-enthusiast. So I won’t bore you with all the things we were bored with. The only place of interest was Frieburg which we stopped through in the lower left hand corner of Germany on the way there. Another place we had wanted to stay but had been time prevented, this was a quiet little town where couples sat along the banks of the flowing creek and kids passed their time straddling the high beams of the two bridges. We had a one night stay through Airbnb and had some time to kill in the morning before our bus would take us to Milan. We had some remaining Swiss Franc to use so thought we would shout ourselves a coffee and do some further planning on the free wifi. Only problem was, upon inspection 10 Franc ($12.50 Aus) does not get you 2 coffees. So we had to do the ashamed backpacking thing (come on backpackers, we know you have all done it!) and buy one coffee and share it. This one coffee cost over 10 Australian Dollars and left us with a bad taste in our mouth. It was definitely time to get out of Zurich!

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We have mostly been travelling with various bus companies throughout our European Journey as I have found them about half the price of trains, and always on time. Clinton sometimes just has to stick his legs in the aisle, but I figure this is a small price to pay! Zurich to Milan was no different. The only problem being, it was far too expensive for us to stay in Milan, so in the planning stages of this leg, I had opted to then catch a train from Milan to Verona for the night. This should not be a problem I thought. Buses are always on time, and I’ve very sensibly left a 2 hour gap between the time we get to Milan and our train leaving to Verona. Our bus was to arrive at 3pm in the afternoon. We lugged our bags there at the appropriate time, I checked in and we waited. 3pm comes and goes, and we still wait. 3.15pm comes and I start getting a little edgy, I check with the condutor to make sure I’m at the right place. I am and am told to wait. 3.25pm arrives, and still no bus. I chat with the person beside me and ask if he is waiting for the same bus. He replies he is, and it’s notoriously always late. GREAT!! 3.30pm comes and much to Clintons amusement, I start pacing the bus station, looking at my tickets every 20 seconds and jump at anything that sounds remotely like a bus. Finally at 3.45pm a bus arrives and the conductor points and confims this is indeed the correct bus! Hooray! 45 minutes late but I’ve still got plenty of time….until I have to go through the slowest most painful check in experience of my life. Snails would board a bus quicker then the bunch of old italians in front of me. I couldn’t understand what the problem was, but by the amount of hand gestures something wasnt right. I’ll never know. But finally about 4.10pm our bus departed the Zurich bus station with Clinton laughing out loud and me a nervous wreck.

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Now, Zurich may have not been the best city I have been too, but driving through the Swiss Alps with their snow covered mountains was amazing. As sleepy as I was, I could not close my eyes. The scenery was just beautiful. I was still nervous though, I’m not the best passenger at the best of times, and it was clear this Italian driver was trying to make up for lost time, which I appreciated, but I basically spent the whole ride looking out the window with the feeling of a beating heart in my throat. Everything was going smoothly on the roads, we passed border control seamlessly and I had high hopes of us making our train, until we entered Milan. How on earth could their be so much traffic. It seemed endless. I looked at Clinton and he was still smiling, “it will make a good story” he said, while I sat there dreaming of a cold homeless night at a Milan train station. The bus arrived in Milan fairly close to where I thought it would drop us off leaving us 40 minutes and 6km’s to the central station. Walking was no longer an option. We ran out of the bus station looking for a cab but after a few minutes couldnt find one. Neither of us have a working sim on our phones, so calling one was not an option. We made our way back to what we thought was a train station, which luckily it was, and tried to decipher the italian to get us to the central station. We thought we could do it, but we had to change trains once, and time was running out. We caught the first train, no problems, Clinton who is a gem with this kind of stuff, took us to where we needed to be for our second train, 8 minute wait, not ideal, but we could make it. We still had to print our tickets at the train station as I had purchased them online, however we decided we would have to take our luck with the inspectors, there was just no time to spare. We squished onto the second train with our huge packs and hoped for the best. We got off with about 2 minutes to find our train to Verona. Clinton somehow was able to read the signs and started walking very fast. So fast, that I had to run with my 20kg pack on to keep up. Up stairs, down corridors, and then I saw it, still stationed. Hooray!!! we jumped on, threw our bags on the chairs beside us and high fived! We made it.

Unfortunately our night was not over yet. By this time it was after 10pm at night and after a few emails back and forth with our accomodation we had a deadline of midnight to check in. The train was about an hour and a half and the walk about 1.5km’s. We were cutting it fine, but after coming so far we were not going to give up. The train was going completely to schedule until the stop prior to ours. Then of course it just stopped. We had no idea what was going on. We waited. We heard people yelling and the Italian Police. We swore, well I swore. We waited some more and then finally after about 15 minutes we started moving again. We didnt have long to get to our accomodation, and after the events of the day we were both exhausted. I entertained the idea of a cab. Clinton and I always walk, but just this once I thought maybe we can make an exception. Clinton thought we could make it on our feet. So I followed. I don’t know if you guys are aware, but Clintons like 6 foot 5. I scrape in at 5 foot 4. His legs basically come up to my belly button. He can walk a lot quicker than I can. So for the next 1.5k’s all Clinton heard was the pitter patter of my feet running behind him trying to keep up with him whilst carrying my bag that now felt like 40kgs. But with minutes to spare we found the place and after 4 excruciating flights of stairs we were finally in Verona.

After checking in and dumping our bags, and despite it being past midnight we elected to do a short walk of the town at night time. We were only having a one night stop over here and were to be departing to Venice at midday the next day. Our BnB was luckily very close to the old town, and the town itself is not very big. Upon walking towards the centre of the town, I kept giggling and becoming more and more delirious. Verona was spectacular. I had one of those moments where I feltlike, yes this is why I saved my pennies, temporarily gave up my life in Melbourne and came travelling, so I could see places as beautiful as Verona. We found a street vendor and bought a beer each, after the day we had, we certainly deserved it. We walked around the old town, taking in the sights of what remains of the Roman Amphitheatre which was completed around 30AD. Although only the internal supports remain of this amazing piece, interestingly it is still used today for public events and an open aired opera in the summer. We continued on our walk of this beautiful city, walking down cobble stoned pathways and through the Piazza dei Signori and although now everything was closed, I was still so charmed. We headed back to our Bnb so we could have a quick rest and get up early to explore more.

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During our next morning of sight seeing, we were able to again see the Amphitheatre which was now covered in tourists taking photos. I was so glad we were able to see such an amazing piece in the quiet of the night with no one around. We made our way towards Juliets Balcony. Although highly touristy, I was still excited to catch a glimpse. Obviously we were not early enough as it as well was full of tourists. Work is currently being done on the area around the balcony, as its been completely defaced by people writing their names and the names of their beloved in the hopes of their love everlasting. There is also a huge amount of love locks, and love letters pinned to another wall. I have since learnt that a group of local volunteers now read these letters and reply to each one, 70% are written by women with the largest group being American Teenagers. It was here that I bought my only souvenier so far, which as cliche as it sounds was a Juliet key ring.

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We spent the rest of the morning checking out Romeo’s house and getting lost in the beautiful streets and sights of Verona. Sadly our time here ended too quickly and it was time to head onto Venice. I don’t know if it was the arduous journey that we had to take to get to Verona, or the short amount of time that I had here that will always leave me feeling like I wanted more, but Verona will always hold a special place in my heart.

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13. Cologne // Germany

After a rather expensive wakeup call to Western Europe travels, we decided to head East where we had been advised by former backpackers that you can travel for a lot cheaper. So we went to Germany, which apparently isn’t the East everyone was referring to, where we hoped everything would return to South East Asia prices but found they were only fractionally less than where we had come from. So confusing Germany for Romania and Russia, we booked two seats on a UK Megabus, which was the cheapest way we had found to get from Brussels to Cologne.

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Germany was again a whole new world to us and its first city spoilt us with a carnival, lashings of pork knuckle and friendly ‘guten morgen’s’ first thing each day.

(I am seriously struggling to remember what happened in Cologne as it was well over a month ago.) As we drove across the border, we entered the Autobahn. This is a well designed highway system where cars can travel up to 160km/hr if they wish, the corners are built to handle speeds of 130km/hr safely and you MUST stick to the right unless you are travelling faster than the car in front of you. We have since learnt one of the primary reasons this works is because it can cost up to 2000 Euro’s ($3000 AUD) to go through the mandatory driving lessons and get your license so those who are on the roads are extremely seasoned and trained. The roadsigns warning of kangaroo and wombat crossings in Australia were replaced with warnings of leaping deer in Germany and every now and then you would pass a sign reading “Ausfhart,” meaning exit I believe but sounding more like my national flatulence.

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Despite the high level of driving ability, accidents do still happen and we were met with an hour long delay as we neared Cologne to funnel past a crash. This was made more frustrating by the fact that, if I was a Sims character at that point, I’d have a noticeable green odour emenating from me. Hell, I don’t think I even needed to be a Sims character. I think I did literally have a visable odour arising from my seat. The clothes were needing a wash and we were stuck in a traffic jam.

An hour later than originally planned, we arrived in Cologne and walked the one kilometre from the eerily quiet street the bus dropped us off in to our Hotel. Thanks to some thrifty research from Elisha’s end, we had found a Hotel offering rooms for the same price as a hostel and of which provided breakfast. We also soon learnt from our reception that the reason most of the streets were so quiet was because the city was celebrating it’s annual carnival. Not to miss this, we headed straight back out the door, leaving with our green odour, and went searching for this mayhem. It’s not unusual to see someone drinking a beer in public in Germany and we thought it only prudent to disguise ourselves on the streets by doing the same. We picked up two roadies from the first supermarket we saw and walked across the long bridge towards the city centre where the carnival was said to be taking place.

It was mostly over by the time we arrived but we could see the messy remnants of the parade that had clearly taken place earlier. The streets were littered with colourful streamers and thousands of empty schnapp bottles that could almost have replaced the cobblestones. The most daring of the carnival goers were still out in force down in the streets with bars, wearing whatever crazy costume they could think of. We saw the cookie monster, Allan from the Hangover, Diaper wearing babies, Elmo and everything in between. We couldn’t tell who were the real Polizei (I know – what an effeminate name for an authority figure) and who was just dressed up as one. Better not to push into one anyway, just to be safe. We stood aback a little as we watched this heavily booze-fueled carnival goers dance their way into the night and finished our beer. Soon we noticed about 3 people with garbage bags starting to circle us like sharks, eager to snare our empty beer cans. I think because recycling is so prominent here, they could make quite a few euro’s by doing this. Too bad if I wanted to recycle it though. After being entertained by the 17 year old elmo grinding up against the 40 year old nurse in front of us, we threw our beer cans on the ground for the garbo’s to squabble over and thought the carnival was a great place to try our first Currywurst. After a long afternoon busride, we scoffed down these slices of german sausage smothered with ketchup and curry powder and polished it off with another beer.

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There’s only so much Sesame Street you can watch, however, and remembering our age, we thought maybe a proper sit down dinner was more in line with where we should take the evening. It was getting pretty late by now so we didn’t like our chances but, now that we were in Germany, we had to go and find this.

Let’s be honest. There was only one reason we were in Germany . . . and that was for the pork knuckle.

Tom and Cat have asked us to write a 1000 word blog solely on pork knuckle and I could easily do that with my eyes closed. However, as I’m over a month behind already with the blogging, I might just keep it as a simple mention in this one (but warning you, it may still end up as a 1000 words anyway.) My first ever experience of Pork Knuckle was in a little town in South Australia called Handorff, the township basically acting as a miniture replica of Germany. I distinctly remember being quite blown away by the pork knuckle on that one occassion. A year later, I was to again try it in a German restaurant in Bangkok and tried it 3 days straight when I was there. I was also fortunate enough to have Elisha home cook it for me once in the last year only to have my mouth water for the last time. But 5 pork knuckles just is not enough for one person in a lifetime and I made a vow I would devour as many pork knuckles as I could during my time throughout Germany and ensure that all the pigs who died during the making of Babe was not in vain.

Schweinshake (noun) knuckle. pork knuckle. knuckle of pork. German origin.

This is the only word you need to know whilst in Germany – I swear. We walked back over the bridge towards the area our Hotel was in. We knew there was a brauhaus (Brew House) somewhere nearby and we prayed silently it was still open. After turning several corners, we found it. There were still plenty of rowdy comics drinking at the front bar and we pushed our way through to the back where the seating area was. They were still pulling down metres and metres of streamers from the ceiling but a lone gentleman was sitting in the corner with his stein and his GIANT schweinshake. HOPE. We perched ourselves at a table and ordered two of the same, drinking from our own steins as we waited. After what seemed like an eternity (but trying to remain patient and respect the process that they would need time to prepare what was surely to be the meal of my life) two plates of the most incredible pork knuckle came out, each with a steak knife driven deep within it and both surrounded by a bed of sauerkraut and home made bread (who was going to make room for the bread though, I don’t know.)

If I was to ever end up on death row, which considering how annoyed Elisha and I get with each other on this trip could easily happen, this meal would definately be what I asked for as my last meal. You undig your knife, spread some side mustard on the plate and listen to the crackling split as you slice your way in. Underneath lies tender and slow-cooked pork just waiting to steal your heart away. You forget about life, about your world and just enjoy this one moment. Ecstasy. I’m sure if Toe-Knee could just have this one moment, he wouldn’t be such a careless arse back home for he would know that life can in fact be good.

If I still haven’t sold you on pork knuckle, please, let me continue. I’m still not 100% convinced there is a god but, if there was, I’m almost certain he would take the shape of a pork knuckle. Pork Knuckle is what sex would be with Keira Knightley. I think The Secret Life of Walter Mitty may have been magnificently better had, amongst all the incredible songs that were played, just one of those epic tracks were put alongside a montage of Walter ripping into an old fashioned Pork Knuckle. Adolf was a vegetarian. Could you imagine how different the world would have been had he just eaten pork knuckle once a week? Or just once? If I was to eat pork knuckle for the rest of my life, but this meant dying in a week’s time, I think I’d still have to do it. Any parent who doesn’t serve a kid pork knuckle after they’ve just completed the 40-hour famine should stand trial. Correct that. Any parent who doesn’t serve pork knuckle to their kid outright deserves to stand trial. I think pork knuckle could be an effective way to draw information during an interrogation. Forget about torture. Just bring a pork knuckle into the room and withhold it from them. Believe you me, they will speak. I would not be surprised to hear that if pigs ruled the world instead of humans, they too would still eat pork knuckle. And lastly, when they bring out your pork knuckle, they always say “enjoy.” Like seriously einstein, what the hell else am I supposed to do with this other than “enjoy”?

So there we have it – it may not quite be a thousand words Cat but hopefully it paints a picture and we all know pictures say a thousand words.

We awoke the next morning with a pain in our stomachs (still haven’t been able to pinpoint what that was from) and went downstairs to enjoy our buffet breakfast. Man, do Germans know how to do food. Along with some crummy carnival German tunes that were playing overhead, we feasted on homemade bread, boiled eggs, yoghurt, gherkins, cheese, salami, ham, muesli, fruit, coffee and juice. We ate as much of this as we could, and then some, as we needed to ensure we had as much energy as possible to climb the 509 steps to the top of the Kolner Dom.

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The Cologne cathedral is magnificent. The ground stone was laid in 1248 and construction finished in 1880. It’s twin spires reach 157 metres into the sky and for four years, it was the tallest building in the world. They didn’t have the internet back then so I’m not sure how that was confirmed. I guess they just based that on the fact they couldn’t see anything taller wherever they looked out to. The building is blackened from age and gothic in it’s architecture. I thought maybe I was no longer scared of heights but once you get to that sort of altitude, where you can look down and see pavement 100 metres below, I still found myself almost frozen, holding the railing ever so tightly and reciting Dory’s “just keep swimming” to motivate myself to continue forward.

Once at the top, the view was spectacular. You could see in every direction and be blown away by the vista. I would have liked a firepole or a waterslide to get me back down but alas, back to the 509 steps we marched and gave those quads and glutes an almighty workout.

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We visited another brauhaus during the daytime for a few sneaky beers. These brauhaus’ are pretty cool because they, would you believe it and I hope the name didn’t give it away, brew their own beer. You don’t need to read a menu. You just signal how many beers you would like and a chubby man dressed in leather shorts and overalls brings a tray over carrying your Kolsch beers. Before you’re almost finished, they ask if you would like another and, not understanding what you’ve just been asked in German, nod and hope two more beers arrive. Which they do!

We couldn’t leave Cologne having tried just the one pork knuckle. How were we to know if it was good or bad without having another to compare it to? Great question you ask there Clinton. Thanks. We found another place that night and please refer to the above for a full description on what eating this pork knuckle was like. It was dinner with Keira Knightley and Walter Mitty the vegetarian and some parents on death row. Or something like that. Mind muddle! It was again incredible!

We had to catch an early bus the next morning for Berlin. Elisha had again done her homework and booked us with a company that only spoke German in order to save us some pennies. That was fine except we needed help finding where to go to catch it and then, once on the bus, did not move as we didn’t want to get off at any of the stops to rest our legs in case we hadn’t understood and it left without us, even when it was stopped for a full 30 minutes at one time.

So we again filled our bellies with as much breakfast buffet as we could, stole some boiled eggs and bread rolls for later in the day and went to catch our German speaking bus with its German speaking driver and German speaking passengers. And as our clothes were still dirty, you can now go onto Google Maps and find the trail of green odour I left behind in order to find our travel route.

I think I’ve actually missed an entire day of our travels in Cologne as we definately spent 3 nights there and I’m sure I’ve just muddled everything that happened in to 2 nights.

In fact, I have. There’s a few things we did that I have just remembered. 1. Lego! We discovered a lego store where 4 year old (Ok 17 year old) Clinton immediately came to life. They had the Simpsons, a chess board and all the city lego you could play with. I bought a Michaelangelo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for my keyring and built an arab legoman wielding an axe. 2. Elisha made us walk a 9km round trip to visit an amazing coffee shop. A German girl roasted coffee beans there with her Melbourne boyfriend and golly did they nail it! 3. Re the carnival, we were having a quiet night in our hotel one night when we heard an almighty commotion out on the street. We got up and looked out the window to see hundreds of these animatedly dressed carnival goers parading aimlessly down the street in the middle of the night! Crazy times. But I think that’s everything and I guess that’s the consequence of allowing blogs to run a month behind. But seriously, just go to Google Maps. You can follow a chronological trail of our proceedings there by following the green odour. Me? I’m off to have a shower.

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