...a tribute to my favorite uncle, Bushy as I waited to depart.
I left at 12:40 am even though the lady at the USO told me it would only take 30 minutes to get there. It was a military base called Kleber. I drove around until 2am trying to find the place with no success. I’d had it marked on a map and still I couldn't find it. I know I was no more than a kilometer away most of the time but it was dark and there were no signs. I was upset and tired. I hate starting a trip in the middle of the night.
After a depressing night from missing my trip, I awoke with an unexpected free day! I had the car packed for the Amsterdam trip...I had to go somewhere. I was mentally prepared to visit was Koln (pronounced Cologne) on Monday, so I just moved it up two days. Cologne was a 335 kilometer drive and it was all autobahn, so I was cruising between 120 and 140 kilometers (75 and 87 miles) an hour most of the trip, briefly hitting 100 miles an hour just to see if my Ford Focus could do it. I felt more secure in this Focus than the Mercedes, simply because it was six inches lower. There was still snow all over and patches of ice but outside of Cologne the sun came out, it warmed to about 50 F degrees.
Cologne (4th largest city in Germany) felt cold with no personality, no warmth. I drove into the city with little drama, parked within sight of the Dom, and walked 2 kilometers through a large cobblestone walkway surrounded by sidewalk shops and cafés. Make no mistake…the Dom is difficult to see from a distance but...once you get up close it is VERY IMPRESSIVE, almost unreal. It looks like something out of a gothic fairy tale. There's a large colored poster of the Cologne cathedral hanging at the front desk of the place I stayed in Vogelweh, and when I saw it I said to myself,"That is awesome---I've got to go there!" I have that same photo framed and hanging in my great room at my house now.