most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.
— robert anthony —
i have a friend who i’ve known for 17 years. we met through a mutual friend when i was in college and he was living in germany. we have spent many drunken nights singing, laughing and behaving like total idiots together, so an opportunity to spend new years eve in köln with him and his wife was definitely not the worst idea i’ve ever had. flight booked, off i go to germany…..for the 15th time. because i cannot even imagine being in one place for longer than a few days, i did some quick research and found out i could easily take the train from köln to luxembourg as a day trip. a new year in one of my favorite countries, and a visit to a new country i needed to conquer, a perfect start to 2018.
it had been a very long time since i’ve been back to köln (circa 2003), even though it often times feels like i have been there once a week based on the amount of kölsch i consume back in boston, but being in germany is like riding a bike (a perfectly produced, perfectly engineered bike that is) and i was back living the german life like an old pro. except for the fact that i cross streets when the light is red and pedestrians are suppose to wait, a big nein-nein in germany. americans, such savages.
my first stop was the christmas market that was one day away from retiring for another year. a MAJOR, unexpected bonus. european christmas markets, especially german ones, are amazing. i love christmas, and being in europe and seeing the stalls with glühwein, crafts, treats, and snacks gives me such a happy feeling, even when it’s cold and rainy outside. the best part of this market was enjoying a delicious feuerzangenbowle, or seven, lets be honest here. they’re delicious, spiked with rum, and are on fire.
second stop was finally going up the most famous landmark in köln, the kölner dom, something i still had not yet done on my many trips through the city over the years. one of the most famous, and visited landmarks in germany, this gothic marvel should not be missed. it’s always under construction so part of the fun is trying to take pictures of it without scaffolding in them. i chose the picture below to brag about my visit on instagram. upon further reflection, my hair, by the look of it, needs be washed. feuerzangenbowle vs. hair washing, which would you choose??! priorities, people.
a third stop on this köln rediscovery was going to the chocolate museum. chocolate i like, museums not so much. if someone is going to convince me to do anything it should always involve candy. i am honestly surprised i wasn’t kidnapped as a child by following a trail of sprees or runts to a waiting creeper van with no windows.
a few days later NYE was celebrated with lots of kölsch, gin, vodka, and an interesting game called looping larry. this children’s game was literally set up at tables around the packed bar on NYE. very bizarre, but very awesome…. until i found out i am terrible and lost every round, which meant i was drinking more than everyone else and ended up dancing around the bar without my shoes on at the end of the night. keeping it classy, as usual.
a few days later, i was off to luxembourg, wishing i would have brought more snacks with me…i ate them all within 20 minutes of being on the train. lesson learned.
3.5 long hours later, i made it. and it was raining, and grey, and i already booked my return ticket so i had 4 hours to kill. what to do, what to do? wander around, check. get rained on and freeze to death, check. go to vapiano and eat pasta and a salad, check. other than monaco and vatican city this was the first country i have visited that i did not spend at least one night in. i didn’t think about that until i was already on the train back to germany. poor luxembourg, it was a quick rainy visit, but something tells me you’re much more lovable in the summer. kind of like everyone who lives in boston.
after luxembourg and a quick stop at the grocery store to stock up on paprika potato chips (i am obsessed, these may or may not be a reason i fly to europe once a month), i was packing up my tiny suitcase (i will post an article soon about packing and what i bring on these 2+ week trips to europe with only a carry on, so stay tuned) when i received notification my flight to boston was going to be cancelled for the next day. and the following day, and for good measure, the following day as well. wait, what?
the one benefit of getting snowed in in germany was i was able to join my friends for a truly magical evening at the lanxness arena. we were going to see harry potter and the sorcerers stone on the big screen accompanied by a live orchestra playing all of the music. anyone who knows me knows i am obsessed with harry potter and am convinced my letter from hogwarts was lost in the air because there is no way i am full-on muggle. the movie was in german, but as i have seen it no less than 85 times and have read the book about the same number of times it was really fun to hear the different voices they use for hermione, harry and ron. germans are always on top of their game, ya’ll.
the last order of business in germany was feasting on a schnitzel the size of my head. i was the only american at a table of 6 and there were actual bets being placed on whether i would be able to finish my schnitzel or not. clearly these people have no idea who they are dealing with and not only did i finish the entire thing, i was the first person to do so. making america great again, in your face germany.
so there it is, a new year, 10 pounds gained from beer, bread (did you know germans have about 10,000 words for bread? bread is bread, weirdos), chocolate, and schnitzel, and yet another trip coming up in a few days. this time with the family, on an island in the sun, where you cannot escape, no matter how hard you try…
keep reading, keep checking in… i promise it gets better.
NEXT BLOG: january in jamaica, if i must.