Girl Trip 2002 - Colette, Pat and Lois

by Colette

(Music control)


Day 1 - Cologne

  We flew into Frankfurt and took the train along the Rhine to Cologne. My connecting flight was extremely late and when we landed in Chicago, I had 5 mins. to run through 12 gates to catch my flight to Frankfurt. When I arrived, the attendants said the door was closed, no seats available, there was nothing they could do. They checked other carriers and said I was out of luck. I said "look,I'm on that flight whether I have to sit on the floor of an isle, but I'm on that flight, do what you can now!" They sent a person to physically check to see availability, and they found a seat! Kuddos to American Airlines. Of course I was totally out of breath for about 2 hrs. into the flight from running. The cathedral in Cologne is breathtaking, and it looms over the entire city. I've never seen such a massive church.


Nativity scene inside

Attended High Mass with Children's Choir

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 It was so cold inside the church that when we whispered to each other, we could see our breath. The choir was beautiful and I have the service taped on my video. The procession of priests, altar boys, choir and all was great. We didn't understand what they were saying during the service, but when it came to shaking each other's hands and saying "peace be with you" we did so and our English was well accepted by the Germans. What an experience it was.

It was a smoky ride with several Brit ladies puffing away, but enjoyable seeing the sites. Afterwards, we strolled towards the markets and got to watch a German TV station taping a Christmas show of several different singers and groups for a Christmas special.

 Boat trip down the Rhine 

There are several different Christmas markets all within walking distance. We stood by a booth for some gluhwein when the young feller said "sorry, you have to wait over there -- that is the drink line, this is for food only." We walked over to the other area where there wasn't anyone in line, and he ran over there, looked at me and said "may I help you??" Pat and Lois were cackling at me because I was had and didn't even know it! Then when I realized the trick he was playing on me, we laughed and laughed. 

 Christmas Market


 There were so many people that we wished we had strings to hold onto each other so as not to lose each other. I realized when you order gluhwein you should stop by one of the outdoor tables and sip it until cooled, not try to walk around with the cup. While walking around with this steaming delicious drink, I was parting the seas -- "pass auf!" they shouted to each other, and then I'd turn around and another group would shout the same thing and back off. Then I realized my drink was hot and they were concerned, and rightly so, about being burned. How embarrassing! Crazy Americans!

Brugge, Belgium

Market Square

On day 3 we took the train to Brugge via Brussels. Another nice ride, and we agreed it was the way to go, traveling on the trains. Upon arrival our host picked us up after Pat called him, but at the end of our trip we realized it was within walking distance if you don't have too much luggage. Pat and I had these horrible bags that our firm gave us. Yes, they had wheels, but the wheel-base was short and they tipped over constantly. Trying to make connections and running with those bags was almost impossible! Pat threatened to shoot her bag in the backyard when she got home and I kept promising mine that it was it's first and last trip, it better enjoy the vacation.

We had the greatest apartment in Brugge. Their website is

We stayed in a 600 yr. old merchant house and our apartment was two stories. It had 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 living areas with a fireplace, full kitchen, washer/dryer. Each night we'd turn on the fireplace and since there were three couches, we each had our own couch to curl up on and enjoy the fire and watch SAT-TV or listen to music on the CD player.


Our apartment


One night we purchased a quiche from a pastry shop and stopped at the market for salad, bread and wine. We put on the Beethoven CD and had a great supper. Afterwards we ran down to the foyer and used the computer our host left on for guests. It was so cold in that foyer, we wore our coats. We emailed our supervisor at work and since we had a couple glasses of wine, we couldn't stop giggling about our messages. All she replied was "bring back some of that wine." With the European keyboard, it was difficult typing. Lois' message looked Greek to me!

Even though it was extremely cold, we would crack open the living room windows and listen to the beautiful bell music from the tower we could see. On the first night I told Pat to be careful of the step that was outside her bedroom, that she needed to remember in Europe there are steps, inclines, declines, etc. that are not American feet friendly. Sure enough at 10:30pm we all heard this "ka-BLAM!" Pat was sprawled outside her bedroom, she forgot about the step while trying to make her way to the bathroom. Her poor knees were very banged up. I had the upstairs bedroom and bath, and kept banging my head on the angled roof in the bathroom. I saw stars each time! The shower/tub was a trick also, with a moving, folding shower door. It was almost impossible to get out of the shower! On our last morning before heading towards Paris, Pat opened the front door and before I could say "gee, that doesn't look like rain on the steps, it looks like ice" she already stepped outside and slid down the three stairs. Thump, thump, thump. I screamed and Lois hung her head out the living room window asking if all was okay. Pat laid there, laughing. Good God, that girl! She has more bumps and bruises to show from our trip. Trying to walk with our stupid, clumsy bags on the ice towards the city hall to catch our bus to the train station was next to impossible.


The stairs were so ornate, all carved wood. Afterwards we took the tourist mini-van tour around Brugge. Of course, we shopped like crazy. Lace stores galore!

This is the only Michelangelo piece outside of Italy

Church of Our Lady - Brugge

If anyone has ever seen the movie "Chocolate" they would understand how I felt. The chocolate in Brugge is so divine that I started out just tasting one or two of the treats when I purchased them and by the end of the day I had the box tilted up in the air, patting the bottom of it trying to get every morsel of it into my mouth. 

 Chocolate shop - Brugge

Everything food-wise in Europe is done with such great art, unbelieveable.

Eifel Tower

Our train ride to Paris was fine except we almost missed our connecting train in Lile. There was a man sitting in my seat, too. I had to show him my ticket. He studied it for a great while, then got up and moved. Departing the train, I tried to hold open the car door and when I turned to walk the door slammed into my face! And, it did not reopen. I thought I'd have to stay there but a kind gentleman pushed a green button and the door opened again.

We stayed at the
Hotel de l' Empereur. For $75 per night, I think it's a steal. Nice clean rooms with large bathrooms, a comfortable bed and SAT-TV. Pat and Lois had a ceiling with peeling paint, and I had one wall that needed to be repainted. Besides that, how can you beat a clean and good sized place for $75 a night in Paris? It was also decorated very tastefully.

A department store in Paris -- they decorated each storefront window with animated scenes. They were adorable and so hilarious! The clucking chickens were our favorite! Pat, Lois and I call each other now and "cluck" to each other since our trip. I think I've replayed my video camera to everyone I know showing those chickens.

Galerie Lafayette

We stopped for a Coke at their cafeteria, and when I reached down to pick up my coat that was dragging on the ground I saw a white mouse next to my coat, looking up at me! I screeched! The mouse sat up and screeched! Then it ran away -- I think it was more scared than me! 


Pat and Lois inside the Galerie Lafayette

I cannot for the life of me remember the name of that main drag in Paris -- the famous one. Pat gets so frustrated with me! All I know is that I spent way too much money there. 

Champ de whatever --

Arc de Triomphe

This is a beautiful piece of history. Pictures do not do any justice. 

 Alsace Cafe

 Along that "main drag, whatever you call it" we found this Alsatian cafe. We put our names down for a table inside, but after a long wait, Lois went outside and asked the waiter if we could dine there. They had huge towers of heaters to keep warm by. He said in broken English to her "are you lonely?" :0) He took very good care of us, running off a businessman that had a few and wanted to purchase drinks for us. Needless to say, he got a good tip from us. We enjoyed sitting outside, watching the people walk by ...several couples would stop, embrace, and romantically kiss right there in front of us. Pat said we should have pieces of paper that we could write our rating numbers on and hold up, like judges at a competition event. That's a one! That couple gets a 6! Also, how some of the women were dressed -- oo-la-la!!!

  Along River Seine

Notre Dame and the River Seine 

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 Jim Morrison's grave

Had to do this trip. The Doors were one of my beloved departed sister's favorite groups. There was quite a crowd there, too. Quite an interesting cemetery regardless of Morrison's grave.

*Comments from Pat - I would like to point out that in spite of my tumbles, I was NOT drunk!! We really had a terrific time. At long last I was able to convince Colette to travel with me. I hope there will be many more trips to come. Pat in Texas

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