I'm back home now, but last week I was VacationKitty. I went to Germany for a week of backpacking around and looking at interesting things. Honestly, I lived in the country for three years when I was younger - you'd think I'd want to try somewhere else. But I still can't get enough of the place, especially now that I'm old enough to actually appreciate it.
I spent three days in Cologne/Köln, mostly staring at the cathedral. That cathedral! You can say it's sacred and beautiful and holy or what have you, and I'd agree with you if we're describing the interior. The exterior is a jagged piece of shrapnel sticking out of the landscape and deserves a caption like "Hellbaby Factory #4 by H.R. Giger". And that's why I like it.
After that I spent four days exploring little towns on the Rhine river, based out of one called Bacharach. Lush green hillsides, timbered houses, lots of sunshine, and tasty wine. It's a beautiful part of the world. I kept meeting Americans everywhere - even a guy from Billerica, of all places (big hi to all you rock stars from the Bacharach hostel - "ich bin Kartoffel!"). I was lucky not to run into any hassle about being American, given the state of current events, but then again, I mostly hit areas of tourism and very small towns.
Station Hostel, Cologne - great couple of hostels in Cologne. I stayed at the Marzellenstrasse hostel, which was close to the train station and the cathedral. The Rheingasse hostel is further away but has a pretty hip bar and lounge in it.
Jugendherberge Burg Stahleck, Bacharach - the hostel in Bacharach. This is the Best Hostel Ever. Comfy beds, cafeteria-turned-bar after 10pm, astounding view, and it's in a castle. The only drawback is a fifteen minute hike uphill to get to the place, but trust me when I say that it's damn well worth it. It appears to be a big school trip destination, so be sure to book ahead.
Burg Rheinfels, St. Goar - a fortress ruin on the bank of the Rhine. Not far from Bacharach and worth exploring.
Siegfried's Mechanical Music Museum, Rüdesheim - crazy museum of mechanical music-makers, like player pianos and music boxes. I have the invention know-how of a box of Corn Flakes, so this whole museum was mindboggling to me.