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Hello, Knoxville!

Our final days of the trip were spent in Cologne, Germany. During this time, we had more free time than in previous cities; however, another group member Ellie and myself probably did fewer specific tourist outings in Cologne than any of the previous cities. Instead, we set out each afternoon with no specific agenda and many hours ahead of us. This mentality, coupled with some recommendations from Dr. Magilow, led us to discover interesting neighborhoods we might not have otherwise seen, had we stuck to a tourist agenda. Among them was the Belgian quarter, where we saw a shift in architecture and, more surprising, a huge gathering of soccer fans that were impossible to ignore. The group boasted their team’s colors and shouted in unison, holding sparking torches and setting off small fireworks. In that instance, we saw a certain facet of the culture by watching their unofficial parade and listening to their chanting. We also enjoyed some specific cuisine–repeatedly. we found a great gelato place on day one in Cologne and returned with more and more members our group each day after that. Additionally, Ellie and I enjoyed doner sandwiches from a “kiosk” at the recommendation of of Dr. Magilow. Like with the gelato, we returned for more doner sandwiches in subsequent days. Overall, Cologne’s relaxed pace, rich history, and an atmosphere that felt multicultural and close to home made for a perfect ending to our time in Europe. Though I’m not sure I’ll ever make the trip back to Cologne specifically, I’m glad to have been able to experience it.