My ID: 5:23pm, Monday, 03 June 2002; just north of Bingen
I am some three hours into my German experience, on a train from Koln to Frankfurt, where I will begin my experience of this country. I’ve been trailing the mighty Rhine River pretty much since I first crossed the border from the Netherlands. Already, the beautiful, steep, rocky hills sharply bowing down to the wide, windy, barge-packed river, adorned by towns on both sides resting comfortably in the river valley full of steeples and an occasional old castle built into the side or at the top of a mountain, are etched in my memory.
I’ve heard Germans are timely, and my train connection in Koln was exactly that. And businesslike, too—everyone seems to be in a hurry. Even in the train station, there didn’t seem to be many people gathering, talking, laughing…just everyone going about their business. And while the Rhine River valley continues to wow me with its beauty, I am glad that I didn’t choose to study German in school—what an ugly sounding language!
(Note: I apologize about this, my German friends! But this is supposed to be a real, unfiltered account of first impressions, and this excerpt is straight out of the journal I kept from my first experiences in Europe in 2002!)