Thursday, 11 December 2014

Day III (Frankfurt to Cologne with a bicycle) (WITH a bike, not BY bike ;-)

Even though I only got to bed around midnight last night, I am wide awake at 4 am. 'sO.K., I'm sure I can sleep on the trains today.

When I have my first cigarette at 4:30 am, I am glad that the hotel's smoking area has a roof. It is raining.

After breakfast at 6:30 am however, I am pleased to see clear skies with the moon prominent in the sky.

Does it look the same same where you are ? ;-)

Then it's time to figure out how to get the bicycle to Cologne.  An ICE train takes about 1 hour to get there, but since I am travelling with a bicycle, I have to take slower trains and it will take me almost 4 hours.  That's OK, there is not much on my agenda today.  

I do remember the pain of buying tickets at machines last July, and consequently go to the Deutsche Bahn website and hope to buy my ticket online, but I don't really expect my credit card to work over here.  It already was refused in the Lufthansa plane when still in Canadian airspace !

Then I see it.  Things ARE changing and improving. The Deutsche Bahn website accepts PayPal !!!!

I check out of the hotel (Very quiet and comfy no-frills hotel; I will come back here next time I'm flying to Frankfurt) at 11 am.

My train is not leaving from Walldorf train station until 12:48 pm and I have my hopes set on eating some of that fabulous Thai food at Martins Thai Bistro.   As my luck would have it, today is the day when the oven-cleaner showed up and I won’t get any Thai food.  Ah well. I cycle towards the train station, thinking there must be another restaurant somewhere where I can eat something and kill 1.5 hours. I find a pizzeria right next to the train station.  I order a Pinot Grigio (perfectly acceptable to serve this stuff in an Italian restaurant ;-) and a Pizza Calabrese.

Riding a bicycle to the Walldorf train station is messing with my head.  I am copying what I was doing on a day in the second half of July of this year but now it is the middle of December!  And while in July the train was taking me to my spare mom in her hip-replacement rehab clinic in Bad Neuenahr, today’s train is taking me to her funeral in Cologne. 

But I also have noticed that having a bicycle with me on any trip is normal for me now, and that I feel uncomfortable or ‘wrong’ if I have to walk or worse, call a taxi.  Roughly 10 years ago I had what I thought of as a ‘crazy idea’, namely to have a bicycle stationed with every friend or relative living anywhere on this planet.  Now this crazy dream is actually approaching the realization stage!  Clean up those garages, people ! ;-)

The Pizza Calabrese is spicy as advertised. I don’t know where it all vanishes to, but vanish it does!  So does the wine.  I order a second glass.

After I change trains for the first time, sleep hits me like a hammer. I can't remember how often I retrieve my head from my chest in panic, quickly checking the station name to make sure I have not missed the stations to change trains or my final destination.  I wake up 5 minutes before the train reaches Cologne main station and unlock my bicycle and keep moving around so I don't fall asleep again.

A mural in Niederrad on the topic of racism in soccer: "We feel ashamed for those who shout against us"

I manage to walk/cycle the 5 minutes from the main train station to my hotel without falling asleep.  I check in, find my room, collapse onto my bed and sleep for FOUR hours until 9 pm.

I leave the hotel at about 10 pm.  I neither have any food nor any wine, so that should be changed.  Also, on the very short way from the train station to the hotel, I noticed TWO different Weihnachtsmaerkte. My friend Alan keeps praising them, so I decide to check one out.

Alas, even though pedestrian and tourist traffic is heavy on the streets, both Weihnachtsmaerkte are closed at this hour. A store in the main train station supplies me with water, wine, chocolate, and cookies for the night and I head back to the hotel.
Starry skies in Cologne Central

Hohenzollern Bridge with Love-locks gleaming along the railing

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