DM and MM's Europe 2022 Diary

Day 4 - Würzburg to Cologne, Meeting day 1, Horrem

Monday, 20 June, 2022

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We are on board the ICE 820 train from Würzburg to Cologne. This trip takes about 4 hours.

Sleeping last night was difficult, because our hotel room was hot and had no air conditioning. I had an icy cold shower just before getting into bed, lying on top of the sheets with no blanket. That made it bearable for long enough that I fell asleep, but I woke in the middle of the night hot and sweaty. I opened the windows wide to get some cooler air in and that helped a lot for the rest of the night. The sun began making it light again around 04:00 I think. We got up early, at 06:00 and had showers before packing our bags and leaving the hotel.

We stopped at a bakery cafe and got some breakfast. Pain au chocolat each and I also had a seeded croissant while M. had a cappuccino. We had time to sit at a table outside and eat. There was a supermarket just opening at 07:00 across the street, so we grabbed some bottles of water and an apple to have on the train, and then walked to the station to catch the train. On the way through I grabbed a 9-euro special ticket. This is a special ticket that the German government has announced to encourage travel over the summer. The one ticket covers all bus, metro, local, and regional trains all over Germany (but not long distance trains). Dietmar emailed all of the ISO delegates to recommend we buy one of these, because it’s much cheaper than the regular train tickets from Cologne to Horrem where his office is located. (Later one of them would point out that just one day’s return journey between Cologne and Horrem cost more than 9 euro, so the ticket was a real bargain for our week of meetings.)

Train at Würzburg
Deutsche Bahn train and vineyards, Würzburg station

Our train arrived on time and we’re now enjoying the leisurely journey to Cologne.


I’m in my ISO Photography Standards meetings at the Image Engineering offices in Horrem, just outside Cologne.

Our train arrived at Cologne Messe/Deutz station a few minutes late. From here we needed to take a local train to Cologne Hauptbahnhof. But trying to exit the platform to the rest of the station was hampered by a huge influx of hundreds of people trying to get on to the platform, probably to catch the train we just got off. There must have been some change of platform or something that caused everyone to rush the platform at once. It took us several minutes to climb just a single flight of stairs against this human tide.

We got a train across the Rhine River to the Hauptbahnhof, and from there walked to our hotel. A nice chatty young guy checked us in and showed us how to use the key code to open the room door. The room looks very new and clean. We dropped our bags and then left right away so I could catch a train to my meetings. I was there by 11:45, half an hour before the start.

Hotel Domblick
Hotel Domblick, Cologne

The first day of meetings went smoothly. It was good to see some of the familiar faces in person again after nearly 3 years of Zoom meetings. We had a dozen or so delegates present in the room, plus a similar number attending virtually. Dietmar provided free lunch for us – today was choice of soba noodles with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, peanuts, and a spicy peanut sauce, or some pasta which looked like lasagne, but I didn’t get a close look as I chose the noodles. They were really good and the sauce really made it.


We finished almost an hour early for the day. I went back to the hotel and picked up M. after her day of getting to know the city centre again. We walked north past the Eigelstein Torburg to the Ebertplatz area to get dinner at a restaurant called Feuer & Flamme (Fire & Flame).

Eigelstein Torburg
Eigelstein Torburg

They specialised in flammkuchen and had a big selection of vegetarian options. M. chose one with spinach, sunflower seeds, and parmesan, while I chose the monthly special: marinated halloumi, cherry tomatoes, green onions, black sesame seeds, and a lemon mint yoghurt. Both were really good. M. washed it down with a glass of rosé wine, while I had some Kölsch beer. The waiter, who spoke excellent English, also brought M. a glass of water, but not me. He said that the wine comes with a glass of water.

Monkey and flammkuche
Flammkuche, Feuer & Flamme

The flammkuche were excellent. They also had dessert flammkuche on the menu, and I felt we could squeeze one in, so had to choose between apple, cinnamon sugar, and cranberry, or raspberry, vanilla sauce, and meringue. We chose the apple one, and it was also really good. The cranberry turned out to be dots of cranberry sauce, not actual berries. After finishing this, we walked back to the hotel.

Dessert flammkuchen
Dessert flammkuchen, Feuer & Flamme

We had showers and got ready for bed. But it’s still broad daylight outside - the sun doesn’t set until 21:49. It’s summer solstice here tomorrow, and there are ridiculous hours of daylight, starting from sunrise at 05:17, plus long twilights on either end of the day.

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