If you want to take a train between Frankfurt and Cologne, you have two options: The ICE (Inter-city Express) train will get you from point A to point B in about an hour with very few stops. The IC (Inter-city) train will get you there in two and a half hours, stopping in little towns along the way.
When I went to Cologne last month, I took the ICE train there, having been wooed by the comfort and convenience of high-speed travel. I had intended to take the ICE back as well, but missed the train by a couple of minutes due to poor planning and an unexpected line at the ticket machine. Grudgingly, I climbed aboard the IC train some minutes later and phoned Steven to tell him I'd be home a few hours later than expected.
What I didn't know was how lovely and enjoyable my 2.5 hour train ride would turn out to be. Unlike the ICE which cuts straight accross nondescript fields and farmland, the IC train took its passengers on a winding, scenic journey through the Rhein Valley (AKA my favorite place in Germany.) Driving directly next to the Rhein river for the majority of the trip, I counted the castles that watched over the tiny medieval villages we passed and amused my fellow passengers with my compulsive photo-snapping.
I took away a simple lesson from that day: Sometimes the less convenient, slower road is the road worth taking...because really, what's the rush?