Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-08-20

Stayed the night in Cologne

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From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 11:12:08 +1000 (EST)
Breakfast and relaxation in our comfy room at the hotel, then we
wandered over to the hostel to dump our stuff. The hostel had maps of
the city with suggested walking tours and lots of cool stuff. On the
other hand, the supposedly free internet (according to the brocures
we'd seen) was actually at the other hostel (they have the same name -
really stupid if you ask me). Internet was available, just not really
that cheap.

Cologne doesn't have quite as tall cathedral (the Dom) as Ulm, in fact
it's a whole 5 metres shorter. Looked inside, then of course I climbed
this one as well. View was fantastic of course, but the narrow stairwell
with two-way traffic turned into a bit of a traffic jam on the way down,
and with no ventilation quickly got very hot. I was pouring with sweat
by the time I left it. We then looked inside a much smaller church for
comparison, and set off to look at non-churchy things.

Walked to an old roman city gate and then a nice fountain (the designer
got inspiration from the way water comes off spoons under the kitchen
tap, very cool). Walking back down the river we saw lots of kids playing
in a large flowing water/fountain/playground thing. [EDITORIAL MESS WITH
that the gate we mentioned here is 'only' from the middle ages, but the
one in front of the cathedral was really roman, as were some other ruins
we saw - I stand corrected]

Went to the chocolate museum. It traces the history of cocoa, and the
entire process of making chocolate. The first stages (growing,
harvesting, etc) are showing with pictures, and a small - very hot -
conservatorium with real (and very unhealthy looking) cocoa plants.

From the bit where the beans are shipped around the world however, they
actually have machines right there doing every stage of the processing.
20 machines (and about the same number of metres in two rows) later
there are a couple of people actually bagging the finished, wrapped
chocolates. A golden fountain of flowing chocolate has wafers dipped in
and handed to passing people. One of the chocolates produced there was
handed to us on the way in.

We had planned to meet up with someone from the newsgroups in Cologne,
though not to stay with him. During the debate about skipping Cologne,
there had been an interesting argument between the Cologne and
Luxembourg people which went something like this: "Come to Cologne,
it's really interesting and has really old ruins and stuff" ... "No,
come to Luxembourg, it's a whole different country instead of just
another Germany city" ... "Yeah, but your country is smaller than some
of our cities, and anyway, we make the best beer in Germany here" ...
"There's a reason that beer isn't sold outside Cologne, nobody else
wants to drink it"

... etc. Anyway, we were in Cologne, so we made arrangements to meet up
with Juergen and go try the infamous beer. On the way, he pointed out
some of the 1st and 2nd century Roman ruins. Beer was good, cheap and
plentiful , and the food was good too.

Before we went out, we had put a load of washing on. When we got back,
we shifted it to the drier. I did internet work while Kate read. We both
got distracted and left it in the drier for far too long, only to
discover it was still wet. We paid again and put it on for another run.

While we were waiting the second time, a guy from Melbourne came down
to reception with a strange problem. He'd been there for 3 nights
already, and came back to discover someone else in his bed - asleep.
The girl behind the desk said yes, he'd been moved to another bed. He
showed his card stamped as paid with the night's date and his old bed
(number 6, room
32) written in. She said they'd had to eject someone else in the
    room, and had re-allocated numbers. So he got new bedding and
    headed off to bed

A little later he was back again - his towel had gone missing. 3 or 4
backwards and forwards runs later, the girl behind the desk was refusing
to deal with the situation, saying her shift would be over soon and he
could take it up with the next person - the guy was refusing to wake the
person in the bed. Kate was silly enough to say something to him, and he
wandered over to chat to us. Meanwhile another girl came in (also from
Australia - the place is full of Australians!), got her key to room 22 -
note 22, on floor 2 - room 32 is on floor 3 - wandered off upstairs, and
came back 5 minutes later saying "is this your towel?". You wouldn't
find this in fiction.

I wandered back to the drier to discover that our clothes had been
boiled alive. Seems to drier didn't actually send the wet air out
anywhere, just kept cycling the steam around. At least the new guy was
helpful, and gave our money back for the drier.

Finally had showers to remove the wet of the day, just before 2am. Our
dorm was 5 bed, and nobody was in the room when we got there - we
really had the late night crowd. After our showers another guy came in
and kept saying he needed to get to sleep, then chatting some more.
Didn't get to sleep until 2:30am, still 2 people missing from the room.
Didn't hear them come in though, just saw them the next morning at 7am
when we got up!

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