Here it is, the final blog post covering the last leg of the Europe trip. I am back in the USA now, and in the next few days will post some of the pictures I have taken. But anyways, here is the end of the journey, with a paragraph dedicated to each city.
Leaving Berlin, I nearly missed my train to Copenhagen because I underestimated how long it would take to reach the train station from my hostel. On the train ride there, the train actually got loaded onto a ferry to cross the sea from the peninsula part of Denmark to one of the main islands. It was a 45 minute ferry ride, and the deck was extremely windy, but I got to see Denmark’s expansive offshore windmills. Copenhagen is a pretty nice city, but I imagine it’s not so pleasant in the winter. When I was there there was still sunlight until just before 11:00pm. I took a free tour of the town, which I don’t normally do, but since I knew almost nothing about Copenhagen, I decided it would be better to have some context about what I was looking at. On the tour I saw things like the Christianborg Palace, the stock exchange, the former red light district (now a touristy zone with lots of sailing ships), the Amalienborg Palace (residence of the Danish royal family) and the Marble Church. After the tour I went over and saw the Little Mermaid statue, which like the Mona Lisa is small and somewhat disappointing. Copenhagen’s sights could probably be seen in a single full day, but it strikes me as the sort of town that is good for unwinding.
The next town in line was Cologne, Germany. To get there from Copenhagen I took a train to Hamburg, and then from there another train to Cologne. The main sight of Cologne is its massive cathedral, which used to be the tallest building in Europe until the Eiffel Tower got built. The city is mostly a modern one; during World War 2 it was heavily bombed by the Allies and after the war the citizens decided to mostly modernize rather than rebuild the city as it was. Although the cathedral survived, it was damaged and it wasn’t until the 1980s that it was fully restored. After exploring the interior, I climbed one of the towers (really long staircase) and got views of the city. Back on the ground, I spent the rest of the day checking out some of the other old churches in Cologne and the few other sights. Other than the cathedral I didn’t think there was too much to see in Cologne, but it could be that I just did not know enough about Cologne to really appreciate the city.
After Cologne was Amsterdam. The first time I was in Amsterdam I stayed at a hostel not too far from the train station, but my second time I stayed farther south near Vondel Park. It was actually kind of sunny on the day I arrived, so I got to see what the city looked like when it wasn’t cloudy and rainy. Since I had done the museums and major sights the last time I was in Amsterdam, I took a slow pace and tried to relax and enjoy the city, rather than doing my normal full-speed sightseeing. I took a free walking tour, even though I had seen the city the last time I was there, just to revisit places and perhaps see some things I had missed the first time. I also took some time to work on the blog and get things in order for coming back to the United States. At the end of my time in Amsterdam I took a plane across the English Channel to London.
London; the city where my trip began and where it also ended. Like Amsterdam, I took some time to revisit a few areas I had seen last time, but on this occasion I was not taking as many photos, nor was I in much of a hurry. I spent several hours in the British Museum, a massive (and free) museum that has artifacts from all over the world. Later on I attended an evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral, and afterwards I finally got photos of the interior. Walking along the Thames to Tower Bridge, I saw the city from the north bank of the river (last time I had walked the south bank). When I got to Tower Bridge it started raining hard and I got fairly wet, but I also got to see the drawbridge in action. Back at my hostel I printed my boarding pass and got everything packed for the flight back to America.
The final day I got up and took the Underground to Heathrow Airport. From there it was a ten hour flight from London to Dallas, and then a two hour flight from Dallas to Denver. From the perspective of people on Mountain Time, my day started at 1:00am and I finally went to bed 25 hours later at 2:00am. Thus ended the great European campaign on 2012.
And that’s it! Although the main part of the blog is now done, I still need to upload some pictures for you all to look at to see the various places I went over the course of about 100 days. I am currently in the process of selecting those photos, and they should start going up in the next few days. Thanks for reading, and hopefully you enjoyed keeping up with me in my trek across Europe.