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Published: October 29th 2006
It's there at the top, I swear!
I got in to Cologne and checked the Station Hostel where I had stayed before, but it was full as expected since it was Friday. So, I spoke with Jessica and she said there was a hostel out near where she lives. I was a bit skeptical, but I took the train out to the burbs and she came and picked me up. After driving for a bit, we pulled into the driveway of this giant old house tucked into a stand of trees not far from her place. Becoming less skeptical by the moment, we went inside and Jessica arranged a spot for me for the night. The woman spoke basically no english so it would have been interesting trying to sort it out without Jessica there. They did say that they only had room on Friday night, but there might be a cancellation so I should check in the morning for the next 2 nights. At the time it didn't really occur to me that it might be difficult to do the checking the next morning without speaking German...
We went up to the room and discovered it was a single instead of a dorm. I figured there
must have been some sort of mistake and I didn't want to end up paying 30€ a night to sleep. So we went back down, and after some back in forth in German, discovered that all the rooms were the same price, and there were no dorms. So, satisfied, I dropped my stuff and we headed to her place.
We spent the evening watching Markus' rugby practice, which was a blast. It was interesting to see people ranging from around 15 years old all the way to their mid 20's practicing together. Everything seemed to work, though and it was cool to watch. It's definitely a hardcore sport that puts American football to shame in a lot of ways.
Afterwards we went to grab some beer at the convenience store since grocery stores close nice and early in europe (8). As an aside, I discovered that they had Dr. Pepper at the store, which is the first time I had seen it since Ireland, so I grabbed one. It's one of those things that I find weird. All they really have here are coke, diet coke, sprite, and fanta. Not much of a selection. Anyway, I turned my attention to the beer and discovered that they had some of the mini-kegs I had seen elsewhere in Germany. I've never seen one in the US, but basically it's a little aluminum keg that holds 5 liters of beer. It has a pour spot near the bottom, and an air intake on the top. We ended up getting that if only for the novelty factor. Of course it was Kolsch, which is the local beer that is quite good so it ended up being a nice evening of drinking and chatting.
The next morning, I took a looong shower since it was the first time I'd had such a nice shower since I left. No push button. No tiny, cramped shower stall. And no standing water all over the floor. It was awesome. Afterwards, I went downstairs to sort out the room situation. After a bunch of pantomime fun, the hostel owner managed to communicate that I would be able to stay for the next two nights and that everything was worked out. Feeling a bit relieved about having a place to stay, I walked over to Jessica's place.
We spent the day hanging out and in the evening, Markus went to hang out with some friends. So, we ended up watching the first season of a british sitcom called Spaced. It took a bit of getting used to, but it was actually quite funny, and we had a good time. I crashed early and enjoyed getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep for once.
The next day was spent hanging out in the city wandering around and stopping at some cafes. I got scolded in German by a waitress at one of the cafes for having an outside beverage. It's not like I didn't oder anything. I think she just didn't like seeing a plastic soda bottle sitting on the table. Certainly a bit of an attitude that I hadn't seen before. Oh well.
In the evening we met up with a couple of Aussies Jessica knew from the place she was teaching english at, and we spent the night drinking 1€ Kolsch at an Irish pub (of all places). I ordered an obligatory Guinness beforehand, of course! Definitely a fun night of drinking, capped off by a stop at a nearby kebab place.
The next morning I walked from the hostel to the suburban train stop, which took a good 40 minutes, and headed into the city to catch a train to Amsterdam. And that's where this entry will leave off, so stay tuned for more.
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