We spent the next couple months deciding which cities we'd visit, what attractions we wanted to see, where we'd stay, and how we'd get from place to place. My former exchange student (practically a real family member as far as I'm concerned) and her boyfriend Fabian live in Koln, Germany, so we made as many plans with them as we could.
We departed from Dallas on a Wednesday afternoon and arrived in Frankfurt early the next morning. Dutch slept for a couple hours on the plane, but I was not so lucky! First order of business was picking up our rental car at the airport. Even though we booked a 4-door Mercedes C-Class, it was still a tight fit with all our luggage. Nevertheless, we got on the road and headed toward Koln, stopping in Bonn along the way. You can't miss the Haribo store!
When we got to Koln, we checked into Ibis Styles Koln City. It's actually kind of difficult to find hotels that can accommodate 4 guests in the same room in Europe, so we had to resort to searching for hotels that had "family" rooms. This one did and even though it was quite small, we made it work! They had a cute area for kids in the lobby.
We got settled in and excitedly waited for our German friends to meet us at the hotel. They brought us to their apartment so we could eat dinner and visit. They had made some special requests for American items that are hard to find in Germany, so you can imagine how excited they were when we showed them all the loot we brought!
That first night was spent relaxing and catching up and discussing all the wonderful plans we had in store! More to come.