September 9th, 2002 – by: kebrunn
We stopped briefly in Koln between two trains on our way north. It is one of the most surreal experiences coming above ground from the train station to find yourself 20 yards from the largest cathedral in northern Europe. We had just over an hour to check out the cathedral and grab some lunch-- I skipped lunch in favor of giving the cathedral its due. While it appears perfectly gothic on the exterior, Koln was actually left unfinished for most of its life--most of the nave was built in the 19th century. There is nothing weirder than seeing photographs of an unfinished gothic cathedral. At the time, I didn't know that- I also did not know about the shrine of the three wise men. Now I'll just have to go back.
From Koln we continued north to Hamburg
, where we stayed the night.
I didn't venture out in the city and in hindsight I wish I had. Some of my group mates saw a one legged prostitute on the way back from using the internet-- am sorry I missed it because it a solid joke topic for the rest of the trip. The only thing I really remember of the city was the life sized chess board at the hostel. The following day we took the train to Kiel
where we boarded the night ferry to Norway at about 4:30 in the afternoon. European night boats were not at all what I had expected. Primarily used by long distance truckers, the boats are actually more like one night cruises-- a $20 dinner buffet, slot machines in the hallway, ABBA look alike band in the 'night club'... Duty free alcohol and a safely contained environment makes for a very good time. By 8 am, we were entering Oslo harbor.