As my time in England approaches an end, I am determined to document every amazing moment I have had here, which is why I am continuing in on with my Euro Tour series.
You know, the point in the trip where things got ridiculous and exposed me for the accident prone human being I am.
Jesse and I had been in Antwerp, Belgium and were loving life and the culture and the people and the shopping and the food. Especially those killer chocolates. Belgium chocolate really IS as good as they say and yes, we did eat our body weight in the stuff.
We decided to try our luck and exercise our Rail Passes and be spontaneous individuals so we packed our bags one morning, walked to the train station and confidently asked where the next train to Germany was going.
The woman behind the desk looked at us like we were loons. With luggage. “Koln.”
“Jesse, I don’t think we want to go there. We haven’t researched that city.”
Jesse looked at me with exasperation, “Jessica…that is Cologne. You know…the city you have been talking about incessantly for the past 3 days?”
The woman behind the desk told us she hated Germany and we were making a grave mistake. Amazing travel agents, those Antwerpians. We disregarded her adamant advice and were off to Koln. Or Cologne. It is not my fault the Germans cannot make up their minds on the spelling!
We played the most amazing game known to man kind on the train. I like to call it simply, The Chocolate Game.
There is no sheet that comes with specialty Belgium chocolate, so you have NO idea what you are eating. Even if there was a sheet, we wouldn’t understand it, so we both would take a chocolate, take a bite and guess what kind it was by the filling. Mmm. Lavender. My…favourite! This was a wildly entertaining game (for me) until Jesse missed the memo and started scarfing the entire thing.
Thankfully it was time to change trains so we avoided a temper tantrum. He was a gentle man and collected our luggage from the top rack and I grabbed my bag and purse and left him to take his and my back pack.
We were on the stairs to get our next train when he asked me where the back pack was.
“What do you mean?”
“You know, the one with your laptop, wallet, our passports, our food….”
He didn’t have a chance to finish his sentence because I was off like a mad woman. The train we had exited was just leaving the station and I chased it and started pounding on the windows. Perhaps not the best way to problem solve, but it was the only thing that came to mind. Of course, it was an exercise in futility and I simpered back to the stairwell where Jesse was standing with a look of horror on his face.
“I….” “That was….” “It’s GONE!” I managed.
He herded me to an information booth where he attempted to overcome the language barrier (what language DO they speak in Belgium anyways?) and locate my bag. I tried to be helpful in my hysterics, but he patted my arm and told me maybe it would be better if I stopped talking.
We were told to wait until she contacted the train (or something…) so we waited with our luggage in the corner. Well…Jesse waited. I grabbed his coat and started sobbing and garbling out things like “Just like Paris…Should have known…life is over..It’s GONE…..want to go HOMMMMEEEE.”
(As a disclaimer, I had JUST gotten a new VISA after I had the warm Parisian welcome of getting my old one stolen so I was still a bit traumatized, hence my reaction to have everything that was important headed the opposite direction in a foreign country on a high speed train.)
The lady announced after a while it WAS there and what alerted them to it’s whereabouts was the strange female pounding at the doors as the train was leaving.
We headed to the next station, collected the back pack (minus the food…it took me a while to get over THAT one) and jumped on the last train to Cologne. Erm..Koln.
After numerous changes and me reliving the story about twenty times to Jesse, we arrived in Koln. We headed to a hotel for something to eat and to use their WiFi to find a place to sleep. It was midnight. The resturant was closed. The Wifi didn’t work.
We tried another place.
Aparently, Wifi does not work in Germany.
We ran into some locals who informed us all the hotels in the area were for drug lords and prostitutes. I wish I were making this up. And we had been wandering the streets with our luggage for the past few hours.
So, long and the short of it is, this is the only sight seeing photo I took in Germany:
This summed up our night:
We found a random Indian restaurant that was open until 5 am and ate dinner at 4 am while figuring out what to do next. We decided we hated Germany and we were going to take the first train out of there. So when the restuarnt closed, we relocated to the train station.
Lesson learned. Even though everything went wrong, I remembered chirping to Jesse at around 3:30 am, “You know, this is awful now, but give us some time and this will be one of the most memorable nights of the trip”.
And you know what? I was right.