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Other stops:  Amsterdam  |  Troisdorf  |  Baden Baden  |  Triberg  |  Munich  |  Prague  |  Berlin

We left Amsterdam on a rainy Friday morning on our way to Cologne and Troisdorf. We took the ICE train and splurged on first class tickets. This train is capable of reaching speeds up to 300 km/hour although I don't believe we ever reached those kind of speeds. It was an extremely smooth, quiet and comfortable ride however. Cologne has a very busy Central Train Station and we were glad to see Inga on the platform to greet us and lead us the connecting commuter train to Troisdorf. It was good to see the whole Krowas family and we spent most of the evening getting reacquainted, eating good food and drinking the local beer. We spent Saturday touring the city of Cologne, which included a look around "The Dom" (Cologne's Cathedral), and a stroll and dining along the Rhine River. We returned to Troisdorf and later in the evening visited the Steinberger Grand Hotel Petersburg near Bonn. This was Germany's Camp David before the seat of the government moved back to Berlin. As such, many foreign presidents and royalty have visited here and now it was our turn. It's a beautiful place overlooking the Rhine. We were very grateful to the Krowas Family for hosting the four of us.  It was good for Arno and Cherie to get reacquainted, and Steve and Barbara got an inside look at a fairly typical German family. 
We picked up our rental car at the Cologne Airport on Sunday morning, drove back to Troisdorf to say "Good Bye" and headed down to our next stop near Baden Baden.

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The ICE train that will carry us to Cologne is pulling into the station. The tickets were bought over the internet 2 months in advance. What a great age we live in.
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Around the dinner table in Troisdorf with the Krowas family. Wolfgang and Yvonne took very good care of us and their children are delightful.
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Another shot of the group around the table.
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The next morning we headed out to the Troisdorf Train Station for the 20 minute trip to Cologne.
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The "Dom". Built early in the 12 century it was badly damaged in the 2nd World War. It was rebuilt after the war but pollution and pigeon droppings have also taken a toll. A crew of 50 full time renovators are replacing the old stones one section at a time.
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A look at the inside of the cathedral.
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Steve got this shot of the tourist crowd against the background of the cathedral.
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A look up at the towers.
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Cherie got this shot of us on the steps leading up to the cathedral. A good looking group.
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Sitting outside along the Rhine River enjoying some food and refreshments.
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Taking a look inside an Irish pub where Liverpool FC was beating Manchester United 2:1. There was also a local football match going on between the Cologne team and Bayern Munich. The visitors won 3:0.
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Later in the day we drove to the Steinberger Grand Hotel Petersburg. It was the German Camp David where many of the world leaders came to visit.
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At sunset looking across at the Rhine River Valley.
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Cherie and Ivonne cutting up!
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The Troisdorf connection: Standing from left to right... Axel, Nicky,Inga, Valeska, Yvonne, Sven and Wolfgang. In front are Valeskas children, Jonas and Sarah.