A last minute walk through quiet Ile St. Louis, and then a cab ride to Gare du Nord. Boarded the Thalys train to Köln. Good seats this trip...a table and window...just as we had requested.
The sun came out in Belgium and ducked back under cover before Germany.
Pulled into Köln at dusk under a gray, misty sky. A very helpful (and cute) German ticket person helped us change our tickets to arrive in Mainz...saving Julie a drive to fetch us in Frankfurt. Also shortened our layover by an hour.
Took advantage of our layover for a very quick visit to the impressive cathedral in Köln...literally adjacent to the train station. We tag teamed so that we didn't drag luggage inside. Dashed-in... oooooo... aaaaaaaah.... listened to a brass band playing reverently. The cathedral is one of those traditional, mammoth, cross-shaped Neo-Gothic structures. Begun in 1248 and completed in 1880. Glad we got a chance to see it.
Boarded the ICE 927 train to Mainz. So clean and efficient compared with the tattered and clunky Thalys trains. A bubbly woman with a soothing laugh punched our tickets. The occasional well-lit Rheinland castle hovered as we sped by.
Arrived into Mainz Hbf. Greeted by Julie and Keegan...Mia just slept. Had to have one last schnitzel from Brauhaus Castel in Mainz-Kastel. Back in Dexheim, Keegan and his Uncle Jeff built a Lego castle...complete with a big tower...and a rathole :)