03 August 2010
Cologne, but I almost didn’t make it. I hazily recall Jeff waking me up at some point; he was up and about and said my alarm was going off. The next time I woke up was when Jeff was putting his bag on and heading out the door, I tried not to express my alarm until he had left the room at which point I leapt up and checked the time, shit 9.45am; what time was my train to Cologne? I checked my documents and was relieved to see that my train didn’t leave till 10.45am. I had time for a shower but not enough to eat breakfast. I made it onto my train very tired, slightly dazed and probably still a little drunk from Antwerp. Funnily when I was getting off the train in Cologne I ran into Jeff, we had been traveling in the same carriage. Jeff and I walked to my hostel where I dropped off my bag and then we enjoyed one last beer together before we headed our different directions.
Cologne happened to be hosting the 2010 Gay Games while I was there and a number of basket ball players were staying in my hostel. While on the internet that evening I met David, a basket ball player from Los Angeles. I was later to find out that it was his sixth Gay Games he’d attended, he’d amassed something like 5 medals including a couple of Gold’s and a Silver. Before I turned up in Cologne I never even knew there was such a thing as a gay games. David, an Italian guy and myself went for a walk later that evening to get ice cream, they took me along a particularly gay street which had had a red carpet laid out, it was interesting… Again the people you meet traveling are fantastic, David suggested a few places I really must see in California and gave me his contact details in case I get to LA.
Other than my walk up a very gay street I had a quiet night in Cologne.
The following morning I made a quick stop at the imposing cathedral of Cologne before taking a train to Berlin. Apparently German trains are not cheap, they work something like airline tickets with the prices leaping exponentially as you get closer to the date of travel; I had to pay a monstrous €109 for my ticket! I would have booked it while in England however it would seem they will only post booked tickets to you, you can’t obtain digital or ‘pick-up at station’ tickets. [I have since seen German's with digital tickets, so not sure what was wrong when I was trying to book way back in England]