Today, while our host partners went to school, we travelled to Cologne (or Köln, auf Deutsch). For me, the day began with three delicious German bread rolls for breakfast. (Seriously, in America, Germany is known for their chocolate, but they really should be known for their bread, it’s to die for (not that the chocolate isn’t, but I’ll explain that later)). We met at the train station in Greven at 7:15, and the train came at around 7:30am. The train ride was a little over two hours long, and some of us spent it conversing or writing while others used the time to get a little extra sleep. When we arrived in Cologne, we left the train station and headed for our first destination, the famous Cologne Cathedral. On our way there, we saw the city from what is, in my opinion, a perfect viewpoint, which is one of the pictures I included below. Then we passed over the Hohenzollern Bridge, the sides of which were heavily decorated with locks (featured in another picture below). Next we came to the cathedral, and after twenty minutes of free time, in which we could view the inside of the the bottom of the cathedral (another picture featured below), we began the exhausting ascent of the 533 stairs to the top, which offered a breathtaking view of the city to the eye, but pictures were nearly impossible thanks to the safety provided by the large chain link fence encompassing the viewing area. After descending the 533 stairs, we dispersed into small groups for two hours of free time. The group I was in consisted of Gigi, Grace, Natalie, Sarah, and Sydney. First, we visited the souvenir shop by the cathedral, and I think we all bought something from there, but soon afterward we visited a smaller and much cheaper souvenir store, where I found a nice sweatshirt. After everyone was finished with their souvenir shopping, we got to the ‘way more important’ task of buying food. We ate at a nearby döner restaurant, though none of us actually ate a döner. Instead, we got pizza and Sarah got fries. Afterward, we did some walking in random directions and a lot of turning around, but we swung by an ATM machine where a couple of us got extra cash. Then we visited some clothing stores, after which, everyone but me (I had eaten six pieces of pizza at the restaurant) ate ice cream while we waited for our scheduled meeting time, 1:15pm, to arrive. At that time, we regrouped and walked to the Imhoff Chocolate Museum. On our tour of the chocolate museum, most of us were too anxious to taste the famous German chocolate to pay much attention to the facts and history about the chocolate making process, but one thing I thought was interesting was the wide variety of old chocolate vending machines. According to the sign that accompanied them, the Cologne chocolate entrepreneur Ludwig Stollwerck began using the newlyish-popular-at-the-time idea of using vending machines to sell product to the public in 1887. The sign also said that within five years of the first appearance of chocolate vending machines, around 12,000 of them could be found in Germany, and if all of those ones were as spiffy-looking as the ones featured in the pictures below, Germany must have been a very spiffy place in 1892. After the tour, some of us bought goods at the cafe, but since I chose to instead go directly to the chocolate store, I’m not quite sure what they bought there. One thing I can say for sure though, is that by the time we made it back to the Cologne Central Station, we were thoroughly exhausted, as many of us sat on the ground as we waited for our train to arrive. I think today is so far my favorite of our many wonderful days in Germany, because Cologne was such a pulchritudinous city and it was most certainly unforgettable.