Today I was on 7 different trains traveling into 5 different cities.

Crazy, right?

Well, you know me…

Early morning

Despite going to bed relatively late at 11pm, I was up and about by 5:30 this morning.

First thing to do was to catch up on the Canucks Game 3 highlights.

The played last night between 1:30am and 4:30am.

I love the YouTube highlights that the NHL puts out because it’s not just a quick snippet of all the goals.   Instead the videos are usually about 10 minutes long and show all the key plays along with good scoring chances and, of course, the goals.

That way when you watch the video you don’t just know that a certain team is going to score because it shows them skating down the ice towards the goal.

The reason I point this out is that some how, some way, the Canucks managed to win last night 2-1 despite every highlight I saw was Nashville skating down the ice and shooting on our goalie.

Each time the video showed Nashville going towards the goal, I kept thinking “Oh crap, here we go, they’re gonna score this time”.

But, nope, just another save.   And another.   And another.

Even though it was only a short snippet of the entire game, I was still on the edge of my seat watching the highlights.

So, yeah, Go Canucks Go!

What a great way to start the day!

After packing up, getting ready, and enjoying the hotel’s breakfast buffet, we were out the door by 8am.

So, before I get into everything we did, let me give you a quick itinerary for the day.

Step 1: Take a train from Düsseldorf to Cologne where we’ll store our bags in a locker for the day.

Step 2: Take another train from Cologne down to Königswinter where we’ll explore the town.

Step 3: Train number 3 from Königswinter up to Bonn to have lunch and explore there as well.

Step 4: A fourth train from Bonn back up to Cologne to pick up our bags.

Step 5: A final trip from Cologne to our final destination of the day, Heidelberg, where we’ll spend the next few days.

Got all that?

Oh, and we bought a 24 hour train pass that covers all the trains except the last journey from Cologne to Heidelberg.

The pass cost €26.77 ($40) and allows you to travel on any regional train or metro in the area for the day.   So, basically all transit except the high speed ICE trains.

So, here we go!   Time to board train number one…

Storing bags in Cologne

To get to Heidelberg later in the day we have to catch a train from Cologne so it only made sense to store our bags here for the day and pick them up later.

The luggage storage system here is pretty damn cool and you select how many hours (or days) you need to store your bag, pay, and insert your bag into a slot that opens up.

Once you put the bag in the slot and close the door, it’s transported by conveyor belt to, I’m assuming, some huge luggage storage place hidden away below.

Pretty cool system I gotta say.   Storing the bags below the floor.   Ingenious!

By the way, storing for 24 hours was only €6 ($9).

So, after storing our bags, we boarded our second train of the day…

A castle in Königswinter

Despite this train only being 40 minutes, it was an adventure of a ride.

Like the other day when Shawn was having trouble accessing his BahnCard to show the train attendant when they came by to check tickets, we had another great adventure like that again today.

We had bought 24 hour passes for 5 zones.

As best as I could tell from the information I could glean on the web, five zones would cover all our travels today.

Well, the train attendant scanned by QR code and I got some bad news.

Yeah, that 24 hour pass with the five zones?   Well, those zones only take you between Düsseldorf and Cologne and no further.

Oh crap!

She helped me find the correct pass on my app which cost €57 for five people.   Shawn and I split the cost on that one.

Basically that first pass we bought was a throwaway and a waste of $40.

Oh joy!   It wouldn’t be one of my trips if I wasn’t throwing away money at some point.

Anyway, after it was all said and done, she didn’t even come back to my seat to check if I had indeed purchased the pass and no one ever checked my tickets the remaining part of my trips today.

At least that little adventure made the time fly by on the train and, before we knew it, we had arrived in Königswinter at just before 11am.

I just realized that, despite seeing some cool stuff today, all I’ve written about is the Canucks, storing bags, and messed up train tickets.

I promise, the good stuff is coming up!

The main highlights are up a mountain where you’ll find both Schloss Drachenburg and Drachenfels.

You can either hike up the mountain or take the Drachenfelsbahn which is an old railway car that runs up and down the mountain every 15 minutes.

Obviously I said “Screw the cool train car, I’m going to overexert myself and hike up a mountain!”

C’mon now!   Obviously I’m taking the train car!

The first ride leaves at 11:00 and we bought our ticket (€12, $18) and stood in line just as the first train car for the day started loading.

There are two cars that go up together at a time and each one holds about 80 people.

We must have been number 163 and 164 in line because we missed the first ride up by 3 people.

No worries though cause it was only 15 minutes till the next one and, more importantly, because we were in the front of the line, we could take the seats at the very front to watch the train go up.

There are two stops going up the mountain.

The first stop is halfway up where Schloss Drachenburg is and at the very top is Drachenfels.

We stopped at Schloss Drachenburg first.

By the way, Schloss means castle in English.

So, yeah, into a castle we went!

Entry to castle was €8 ($12) but was well worth it.

There’s just something about walking around in a old castle looking at things from the past that just kind of makes me smile.

There was also a nice little climb of 130 steps up the north tower that gave you a spectacular view of the small town below.

After spending about an hour on the castle grounds, we caught the rail car up to the top of the mountain to see Drachenfels.

Drachenfels translates to Dragon’s Rock and is what you’d expect.

A giant slab of rock atop the mountain.

It was kinda cool although there were a ton of tourists up there but at least you got another great view of the town below.

By this time, it was starting to warm up quite a bit up to 19C and, for the first time on this trip, I took off my jacket and went walking around in just my short sleeve shirt for the rest of the day.

Time for the next train…

Lunch in the Old Town of Bonn

After visiting Königswinter for awhile we were on our way back north to the old capital of West Germany – Bonn.

First order of business was lunch.

It was 1:30 and I was starving.

We stopped by this little café that had gluten free bread as a substitute for their sandwiches.

The place was small but packed which is always a good sign.   Of course it took awhile to order and to get our food but it was well worth it.

There were 5 people working behind the little barista area and they looked crammed in there like bees.

Eventually, along with a berry smoothie, my open faced smoked salmon sandwich appeared in front of me.

Just what I needed.   A little fuel to carry on the day.

After lunch we walked around the Old Town.

A trip over to a street with cherry blossoms turned out to be fruitless (see what I did there?) as they weren’t in bloom any longer.

Next we saw a statue of Beethoven and then the Bonner Münster which is grand church in the middle of the city.

A few clicks of the camera here and a few clicks there and that was it.

We spent 90 minutes total in Bonn.   Half the time was at lunch and the other half wandering the streets.

At 3pm we were all aboard for train number 4…

Back to Cologne

It was back to Cologne to pick up our bags.

Our 24 hour train pass, despite buying the wrong one at first, had done its’ purpose.

Our mini day trips to Königswinter and Bonn had come to an end and it was time to move onward to our new home the next few days, Heidelberg.

After navigating past a group of very drunk men trying to operate the luggage storage system, we managed to retrieve our bags with plenty of time til our next train.

This journey would be for an ICE train I had previously bought.

The direct train from Cologne to Heidelberg I had bought a couple of months ago has been cancelled about a month ago so my ticket was now openended which meant we could board any train going to Heidelberg.

Three trains to Heidelberg

I pulled up my train app and there were a few choices to get to Heidelberg.

None were direct however and the one leaving next involved two transfers with a 6 minute window to transfer for both.

That 6 minutes should be enough time because our transfer trains were located on the opposite side of the platforms we’d be arriving in.

It was just a matter of exiting the train, walking 10 feet to the other side, and boarding the new train.

The German trains, however, are notorious for be delayed.

Like, all the time!

I have yet to board a train that left at its’ scheduled time and this journey would be the same.

Long story short, the trains left late and arrived late so the transfer window was shorter but then the next train was also late so the transfer window was longer.

The last transfer was fun though because instead of going into platform 8 and doing a short walk across to platform 9, our train changed platforms last minute (this happens alot) and we came into platform 7 instead.

That meant we had 4 minutes to race down the platform to where the stairs were, walk down and over to the next set of platforms to grab our next train.

It was a very speedy walk.

In the end we made all three trains and despite me showing the train attendant my 24 hour ticket (which doesn’t allow ICE trains) instead of my open ended ICE ticket, the rest of the journey was adventure-free.

At 6:30 we had finally arrived in Heidelberg.

We had been out an about for 10 hours but even though that seems like a long time, we probably only walked for 2 hours maximum so it wasn’t as hard as all that.

Late dinner

After settling in we headed out to dinner at 8pm.

This time we had made a reservation ahead of time and, wouldn’t you know it, like the only other time I made a reservation, this restaurant was empty.

On a Saturday night.


For dinner I had veal sausage atop potatoes, bacon and eggs with a coleslaw salad to the side.

It was a nice hearty meal and I couldn’t help but compare it to a Denny’s skillet you would get for brunch.

Not to say it wasn’t a good meal because it was and, of course, the two glasses of a nice sweet Rose didn’t hurt the cause either.

By 11pm we were back at the hostel and turning in for the night.

It was a good day and we did so much without overly exerting ourselves which kind of is the perfect combination when it comes to traveling.

Germany Trip 2024, Trip Journal, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Königswinter, Bonn, Heidelberg, Germany
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