Saturday night I had the pleasure of visiting downtown Cologne with my co-worker and Serdar and Ugur, two friends of mine from past excursions to this area of Germany. Frankly, this was probably the best night I’ve ever had over here. I almost never have the time nor the energy to go out and have fun on these trips. But, having already decided to sleep in the following day, we decided to give it a go. Hit up my Turkish homies and off we went.
We started by crossing the Rhine River on a truly amazing pedestrian and train bridge. I included a picture of it in my last post about Cologne. People come from all over to have locks engraved and then lock them to the chain-link fence that surrounds the train tracks. It’s kinda like when lovers carve their initials into a picnic table only a shitload cooler. You can see the sheer quantity of locks on this fence is astonishing. Every time I’ve been here there have been at least a couple of people looking for, or taking pictures of, their locks. Really neat, really romantic place. It’s one of those places where the sum is greater than the whole of the parts. It’s just a bridge with a fence, some locks and a couple of train tracks on it, but the sentimentality of the place has lent it a life of its own. And the view aint half bad either. On my last visit to the place I immedaitely knew I’d be getting a lock and putting in on there myself. Easier said than done out here, it took some help from a good friend of mine to find a locksmith, buy a padlock, and get it engraved with what I wanted, but so worth it. After throwing my (our) lock on there, tradition dictates that I had to throw the key into the Rhine. Before tossing it, I couldn’t help but linger there for a moment or five just taking it all in. The pictures below ought to do it some justice. Really makes me wonder what would’ve happened if someone had removed the very first lock placed here…. And now I can say there’s a lock representing myself and a beautiful girl from Kenucky on there too. Pretty damn cool.
We continued on to the Kolner Dom, because one can’t visit Cologne (Koln) for any reason and not see this place. We met up with Serdar and Ugur and got an awesome steak dinner and a few beers. After taking a picture or forty of the Dom, we meandered down to the Rhine. At river’s edge, we definitely did NOT smoke a joint, like at all. No way. Right up there with the coolest shit I’ve never done… After not doing that, we wandered for several miles along the Rhine shooting the breeze about everything and nothing. The range of topics included everything from prostitution houses to foreign policy, George W. Bush, Obama, Obamacare (go figure, the rest of the world is astonished that attempting to pass universal health care was an unpopular move, but I digress) and the differences between being Turkish and American in Germany (Serdar and Ugur are of Turskish descent). You name it, we talked about it.
It was amazing to have a good conversation with good people out here. The language barrier makes this quite a rarity. Most Germans speak some English, but not like have a deep conversation with them English. My conversations generally consist of awkwardly checking into a hotel or ordering a big mac. I so often forget that people are people wherever you go. And in general, people are good and it’s fun to get their perspective on life. Especially 5,000 miles from home. And frankly, strolling along the Rhine not smoking a joint and discussing foreign policy with a couple of Turkish dudes is something I’m never gonna have the opportunity to not do again.
After a few hours of this, and several more photo ops, we parted ways and started back to the hotel. At this point, it occurred to Kevin and myself that we were driving an $80,000 BMW. In Germany. And that the Audobahn is also in Germany. And that we should go drive really, really fast. So, we did. We cranked up “The Distance” by Cake about as loud as we could stand (I can’t think of a better driving really, really fast song) and started heading towards Dusseldorf . We drove about 40 miles, hit 135 mph on a virtually deserted highway, and satisfied with our respective adrenaline rushes, decided to head back home.
Seriously, like the best night ever. For once, thousands of miles from home on a Saturday night for a service call for work, a Saturday night where just about everyone was out partying for Halloween no less, I DIDN’T feel like life was passing me by. I felt like I was living life to the fullest, and life was passing everyone else by. I was happy, like legit, straight up happy.
And I can say, in earnest, that I had a once in a life time experience. I mean how many times have you wandered through Cologne, had a really good dinner with good friends, not smoked a joint while strolling along the Rhine, and then culminated the evening by driving better than 130 miles an hour on the Audobahn in a crazy expensive Beamer? I bet one less time than I have.
And… here’s the pictures from the evening. Have a look.
Bed time. Off to Brussels in the AM.