Europe 2013, day nine: Germany and the Netherlands

In which the family and Angie spent most of the morning exploring the endless towers, tunnels, nooks, and crannies of Rheinfels Castle at Sankt Goar, and then up the Rhein towards Cologne, Germanyto check out a few of the major suspension bridges before heading to Düsseldorf Central Station (Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof) for our train toRotterdam, Netherlands.

This morning we met my friend Angie for breakfast at eight AM. We checked out of the hotel and immediately headed to a castle on the Rhine river. The castle is called Rheinfels castle. It is the biggest castle on the Rhine. It used to be a lot larger but over the years various groups began to destroy it.

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The castle opened at nine AM. In typical Holbrook style we were the first ones there. This was great. It was so nice being able to take pictures at the castle with no one else there. By the time other people started arriving we were on the outskirts of the castle.

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The kids loved the castle. We were there for about two hours but easily could have spent an additional two hours there. The castle had high stair cases, dungeons, lookout points, and even tunnels that you needed a flashlight to go through. The view from the castle was amazing as well.

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After we left the castle we proceeded to drive along the Rhine for a bit more. We eventually turned off the Rhine and headed towards Cologne to look at a suspension bridge. Photographing suspension bridges is a hobby of my husband’s. We took pictures and then went looking for another bridge in Cologne. While he took pictures of this bridge the rest of us found a place to get some lunch, followed of course by ice cream.

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We then left Cologne and headed to Dusseldorf to find out where to return the car rental. We found it then drove to the old part of the city for half an hour. We killed time there and then returned the rental car, then walked to the train station.

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We had first class train tickets on the Deutsche Bahn ICE train. As a result we were able to sit in the DB lounge. This was nice as we were able to relax here for 45 minutes before our train left. Our train was supposed to have a bistro car but our friend Angie mentioned they closed this car fairly early on her train down to meet us and as a result we all got dinner before boarding the train. It turned out to be a good call – 10 minutes after we boarded the train the food service stopped.

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The kids (and myself) loved the train. I had reserved a private compartment for us. Shortly after we left Dusseldorf an attendant came to our compartment and took drink and food orders from us. I was going to order an ice cream for the kids but they did not have any today. However the attendant brought them a treat of gummy bears, colored pencils, a coloring book, and a miniature ICE train.

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We rode the ICE train to Uttrecht and there we transferred trains to the Dutch train that would take us to Rotterdam. I think I could ride the trains all day in Europe and never be bored. I have loved the trains so far.

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Once we arrived in Rotterdam, my friend’s sister was nice enough to lend us her car so we did not have to take the metro to my friend’s place. We arrived at my friend’s around 9:15 and we got the kids to bed an hour later. Tomorrow they can sleep in until 8:30. The plan for tomorrow is to go see windmills, ride bikes, and possibly see a miniature Holland.

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Categories: Deutsche Bahn, Germany, The Netherlands | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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