Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuffi the Jumping Elephant

     From Essen I was off to Wuppertal, Germany.
The legend of Wuppertal is that Tuffi the elephant escaped of the zoo and hopped into the Schwebebahn because it's convenient and, perhaps the fastest way home. Tuffi gets scared and jumps into the river below. (What really happened was the circus made an ad with Tuffi jumping out. It never happened.) ... BOOOOORRRRRRIIING! 

     When the train arrived I was greeted with big hugs from my new roomie who I had met through my friend in Essen and her brother.  It was Monday which meant pizza was on special in town.  Off we went!

For some reason they split our toppings into sections instead of putting it all an the whole pizza.  It was delish!
     Somehow when we got home I had already conned her brother into signing up for facebook which he had been resisting forever.  I guess this is the face you make when you're about to discover the world of facebook and ultimately spotify.

The mannequin is wearing ALL handmade garments from Poland.  (This is his sis' place.)
    The next day  we went to Cologne/Köln.  I had asked many people prior what there was to do there.  The only thing they could really come up with was the cathedral/dom. It was pretty spectacular.
The main entrance.
Yep. Every one was a bit off guard. That's why there was giggling. (Movie!)

Just when we thought we were at the top.  Nope! More stairs to come!

These were just the stairs from the bell tower to the top. Don't bother turning off your music. (Movie!)
Look at how worn and narrow they are. I had to keep my eye on the gum so I wouldn't get vertigo.

We finally made it to the top!
     We worked up quite an appetite! So, we decided to go to the official Früh Kölsch house just a few steps from the Cathedral.  There we had a Schweinekotelett dinner (pork chops with an herb butter sauce) and the official drink of Köln.

You bet that was amazing! - We split it to be cost effective.

After that we walked around, enjoyed the Rhine River at night then headed to this bridge.

Lovers have attached locks on the fence of this bridge for decades. Do you see the cathedral in the background?
 I realized as we were looking at all the locks that, I too, had a lock! It was in my little travel purse! Awesome!!!

Mine is the little black travel lock with a combo.  Of course I would have a spare TRAVEL lock! haha!
    It had been a fun adventurous day but it was time to head home.... AND QUICK! We ran across the bridge past the cathedral, to the train station and waited one minute for our train.

    (I think that is my favorite part about being in Europe in general.  Making it to trains and buses.  Anna in Sweden was famous for this.  She lived half a block from the bus stop but it seemed like no matter how much warning there was we were always running two minutes before the bus came.  Some times with no shoes on! ... but we always made it!!!  ... and we got some extra exercise. Hehe! As you may be able to imagine that is very different from my lifestyle in Los Angeles.)

    Most of the rest of my time in Wuppertal was filled with hanging out with my two new friends,  jogging, listening to music and hanging out like if I was in middle school (before I could drive).  

Seeing the sights in Wuppertal! Good thing my eyes were open.
Fall was magical there! We went on a walk to a near by forest.  That day was a bit colder than the last so we sat there, in the middle of the forest and just watched the leaves fall like rain drops.  The sun was shining through the tree tops creating a natural mosaic stained glass looking window and leaves, leaves falling so delicately almost like little butterflies. 
 There are no proper words to describe sitting there soaking up nature being so magical.

    One night we went to Dusseldorf to hang out with my roomie's friend who had just come back from Scotland that day. She had made this incredible spread of food to munch on. It included fresh tomato, basil, mozzarella tray, an exotic cheese tray, fresh bread and a fresh meat tray. She was beyond hospitable. (If you're reading... thank you so much!!!) We spent that evening at her place talking and playing poker.  I had never played before and I had no idea what beat what so she printed me out a paper.

This was all I needed.... .... to WIN!!!!      .. proper.....      the next day.....
My roomie wasn't very good a playing along for the photo. They were all supposed to act like they were asleep. 
I guess it was sooooo funny! She was laughing in all of them.  Haha! :p
The next day I cleaned them out at home! I won all and triumphed with my Swedish horse! (That's how we do it in Sweden.) If you notice, my hand is NOTHING! but I won all! Nicely done, Nicole! Nicely done!
This might be what a home made meal in Germany looks like.
     One of the most important thing about my stay in Wuppertal was that I had two huge epiphanies while I was there. Two HUGE self awakenings. One I was partially aware of but it was completely confirmed. The other I wouldn't have realized until I fully excepted and understood the first.  It's strange how being alone traveling allows this to happen.  I guess there is always time to think and always a new hurdle to cross with yourself.  In any case I enjoy it.

    Yes. So after a couple weeks of nonsense (and other) in Wuppertal it was time to head on.

     It was Halloween and a pretty cool band from the states, M83 or as we decided in German "M Drei Achtzig", was playing in Cologne for 32 Euro, about $50. I was to go with some other CouchSurfers.  It's always a sad day leaving each place but I always cheer myself up knowing I'm going to another amazing place. 

      Here is a photo and video from the concert:
We all had mustaches.
   It was really fun coat checking Wally!  You should have seen the look on that girl's face! Mwahaha!


       As you can see the concert was amazing! 

       After the concert we found my CS host's place which was only a few blocks from the venue.  We chatted a bit then went to bed.  He was a pilot and had to leave for work at 7 am even though it was a national holiday. Ultimately I only had 3 hours of sleep.

     I went back to the train station to sort my hair and face out.  I took a small nap at the HBF or main station in some lounge they had.  My friend from Wuppertal was supposed to meet me around noon.  That didn't happen. By the time she got in touch with me I would have been able to hang out for one hour and hit the road. 

     I decided to walk around and see a little more of Cologne with Wally despite the rain.  I walked and walked looking for some Schnitzel to fulfill a friend's request.  Everything was closed or would be awkward with Wally.  Eventually I found a cute and extremely expensive cafe right across the street from the cathedral.  I was willing to pay a bit extra to enjoy my coffee while I took in the greatness of the cathedral's size.  This monstrosity started being constructed in 1248 and wasn't finished until 1880. Yep! That's 632 years!  It's towers are 515ft tall.  That number doesn't even do it justice. Maybe this does it justice! 

The view from almost the highest pedestrian point of the cathedral.

Cologne's skyline of almost the highest pedestrian point.
     You know, I don't think these even do it justice.  There was still more physical tower above us.  When I was up here almost felt like I was in the Dusseldorf TV tower which was constructed in 1981 over 700 years after the Cathedral was started.  The TV tower is 572ft tall which is only 70 ft taller than the Cathedral. How did they do that?!  Anyway, I guess you get my point. 

    So here's my posh coffee:

I was sitting there feeling like a toddler with a 7 ft adult peering over me: small. Well, not peering over me; watching over.
     I decided I wanted to go back into the cathedral and relax there.  I wish there was a sermon going on.  After all, it was All Saint's Day.  Unfortunately none of that happened. 

    I would have been overjoyed!  I walked around a bit, took some photos and videos and then sat down and listened.  Listened and took it all in.

Prayer candles
    I had a lot on my mind.  A lot to think about. Some how here I found serenity.

    It's what they designed this masterpiece for right?
The main entrance was behind me and the alter where I was hoping for a service in front.
Wally and me hanging out.
     After a while of sitting I felt a sudden chill.  I thought that was strange in such a large open place.

     Maybe it was just in my imagination?

Dang it! I brought my eye balls this time but forgot my teeth!  'Twas quite cold!
     Nope! When I finally got up and walked outside it was raining pretty hard.  So much for hitchhiking! I opted to jump on the next train and try to see where I could get without a ticket. Long story short I saved 10 euro out of 40 euro.

     Where was I off to?  Stay tuned!  The next place is pretty magical. 


  1. hahahaha it made me laugh and smile and everything - i miss you. I don't know what to say more - I LOOOOVE IT! puss puss

  2. I love you little lady! Miss you too!