Old May 23, 09, 9:04 am
Flying Buccaneer
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: TPA
Programs: DL Plat, AA Plat 2MM, HH Diamond, WoH Explorist, SPG Gold
Posts: 2,199
Friday, May 22: Würzburg to FRA, and down the Rhine to Köln

We had to get an early start on Friday morning in order to get to FRA in time to meet Mr. FB’s parents’ BA flight from LHR. We were up at 7 and out of the hotel by 8. The first part of our ride was dreary, but the sun came out somewhere before Frankfurt.

The S320’s navigation system directed us flawlessly to Terminal 2, but an unsuccessful attempt to find a parking space led us out again. One u-turn later, we tried again and found plenty of spots big enough for our big Mercedes four levels below ground.

After a 45-minute wait, we met my in-laws and headed to the car. They were surprised to see that we had something large enough for them to ride comfortably in the back seat! We got back on the road and headed to the Rhine Valley. We asked the navigation system to take us to Rüdesheim so that we could drive up the east bank of the Rhine. We looked for parking, but the small city was busy. When the nav system directed us up the wrong way on a one-way street, we decided to try the next town.

Assmannshausen was not nearly as busy. In fact, it was almost like a ghost town when we arrived at 11:30 a.m. Parking was easy, so we decided to spend a couple of hours there. We walked along Rheinstrasse and, because none of us had had a proper breakfast, decided to have lunch. We had our pick of restaurants, and we chose the one next to the Hotel Lamm. (I apologize for not writing down the name.) The wiener schnitzel, spargel, and boiled potatoes made up for the lack of a breakfast. A nap next to the swiftly-flowing Rhine would have been perfect, but we had more exploring to do. After a brief walk along the Rhine, we were back in our car and headed north again.

The drive along the Rhine takes you past a series of castles and charming towns. It’s impossible to stop at all of them, and it seemed that most of the places we wanted to visit were on the opposite bank… tomorrow’s drive! Our only other stops today were to see the Loreley statue and to make a rest stop in Kestert. I’m not sure why I wanted to see the Loreley statue, and the 2/3 km walk (each way) on an unevenly cobbled spit was tricky. However, the scenery was hard to beat. The statue itself was not much, but it was funny to see middle-aged men climbing the statue to get their pictures made. The stop in Kestert came about because my in-laws drank too much water in Assmanshausen, but visiting Café am Römer was delightful. The nougat ring – a shortbread-like ring with nougat and chocolate – was sinful.

It was approaching 3:00 p.m., and we decided it was time to get to Köln. The nav system said we would be there at 4:25. The drive progressed as scheduled until we approached Wesseling a little before 4:00. Traffic came to a standstill, all three lanes, and did not move. Over the next two hours, we moved 3 km. We’re not sure what it was, either an accident or a chemical spill. Around 6:00 p.m., we were directed off the A555 at the Godorf exit, just in time for the stretch of road to reopen! Like everyone else on the ramp, we did a u-turn back onto the A555 and were at the Hilton Cologne about 20 minutes later.

We checked into our upgraded deluxe rooms and walked toward the cathedral. Thanks to the delay, we were too late to go inside. That would have to wait until tomorrow, and the walk around gave us an idea of what we have to look forward to.

Walking down the crowded Hohe Strasse helped us realize just how exhausted we were, so we stopped for dinner and reflected on our day. The delay was unfortunate, but it gave us an opportunity to catch up. My father-in-law has been in London for work since the end of 2008, so this was the first time Mr. FB and I had seen him since Thanksgiving. Heading back to the Hilton, we noticed light of the setting sun shining off the cathedral. The magical view was the perfect last sight of the day.

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