Saturday, August 28, 2004

Willkommen an Koeln! (Welcome to Cologne!)

Willkommen an Koeln! (Welcome to Cologne!)
20 Aug 2004

Willkommen an Koeln! Wie fantastisch kann Leben sein? I ain't a "Berliner" (nor am I a jelly donut), but I really feel back at home. If you don't know my history, I was stationed but one hour north and west of Cologne back in 1984 through 1987. I had a fantastic tour and have always held my time in Germany as a special time for me. Fell in love again with the language, the people, the culture, the food, the beer....

Anyway, got a taxi right out of the Hauptbahnhof (train station) to take me to the Intercontinental. The "I" is a very nice 5 star hotel only about 1/2 mile from the cathedral. Although I was dead tired from the trip, I was too wired to sleep yet, so I took a walk down the shopping area and over to the cathedral. Ended up climbing the cathedral tower again for the first time in 17 years. I can't believe how fantastic it is to be back in Germany again. Just hearing and speaking the language again makes my heart skip a beat. For me it is like finding that old pair of comfortable running shoes in the back of the closet and having to put them on just to remember what made them so special.

After the climb and the walk, I got back to the hotel and finally crashed for three hours. I have been wound up so tight over the past few weeks, I haven't been sleeping but maybe three or four hours over the last few weeks. I wish I could relax some.

Got up at 5 pm and took a shower and started to look around for food. Found a nice restaurant near the cathedral and had a nice ribeye and fries (with mayo, thank you very much!) It is too nice eating off a real plate again and with metal silverware! The couple of great Koelsch biers didn't suck either. Am I just dreaming, or is this the life? Gotta call Roland and Angelique now and let them know I'm in country. Hopefully, I will see them on Sunday and will take the train out to Apeldoorn, Netherlands. I missed visiting them two years ago when I lost their address, so this will be the first time in 17 years since I've seen them.
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