Spent a couple of days in Germany earlier this week, for a bit of sightseeing and to watch the Confederations cup final between Brazil and Argentina.
We flew into Cologne on tuesday evening, with just enough time to check out the cathedral --->(which is pretty big) and have a couple of beers before bed.
Wednesday morning we made our way to Franfurt, about 100 miles south of Cologne. We then spent the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon checking out Frankfurt. It was very hot and sunny most the day, which made lunch in a cool old german pub all the more satisfying (accompanied by some Frankfurt cider of course) Frankfurt has a fairly distinctive skyline compared to many German cities. These are a few pictures of the skyline, town hall and the river running though the city:
Later in the afternoon we headed to one of the main sqaures in Frankfurt where they were showing the Germany - Mexico game on a big screen. There was a decent atmosphere, with quite a few Brazil/ Argentina supporting germans also gathering before the final. We made our way to Frankfurt's stadium at half time, and unlike in English grounds, you go through the turnstiles a fair while before you get to the stadium, so you can hang around outside without having to worry about still having to queue to get in.
At this stage, the sun was still shining, and it looked like being quite a nice evening. Almost as soon as the game kicked off however, a huge thunderstorm started outside. I guess they must have know it was coming as the roof of the stadium had already been closed. The problem was that being a brand new stadium, the roof hadn't been tested be anything nearly as severe as this storm, and half way through the first half it sprung a leak! It made a huge puddle near the corner flag near us, and caused great amusement in the crowd whenever the ball was anywhere near the puddle!! We also suffered from the rain because the back of the stadium doesn't meet up with the roof, so when the wind blew, it blew the rain onto the back few rows, where we were situated. Quite a number of people moved further down the stadium when this happened, but it just reminded me of what watching football was really like! Nothing like getting rained on on a midweek evening :) Whoever was in charge of the half-time music had a sense of humour though, as with water pouring through the roof the PA system was blasting out "raindrops keep falling on my head.."
At least the game was good. In fact it was bloody awesome. The way that Brazil tore Argentina apart was incredible and some of their counter-attacking was simply breathtaking. If they play like that next summer i'd challenge anybody to pick anyone else to lift the world cup. Even their defence played well!!!
Thursday morning we saw a bit more of Frankfurt, including a pretty impressive Euro symbol outside the European central bank, and then made our way back towards the airport in Cologne. This time however, we took the road alongside the Rhine instead of the motorway, and got to see a whole load of castles which had been built overlooking the river. The Rhine is one big, wide river!! We stopped off in Coblence , where the Rhine meets the Meine, which is a quite impressive sight, before getting to the airport and coming home.
A few things about Germany in general; of course the trains ran mostly on time (except when we were waiting outside in the rain once..) and I was on a double-decker train for the first time. Finally they do not like you crossing the road unless you're at a crossing and the man is green! Really. I swear that if you went round Germany taking away all the lights for pedestrians, there are some of them that would never make it to the other side of the road again.