It’s Errand Time in Germany


Last Saturday turned out to be a pretty interesting little day out here in Germany.  It wasn’t supposed to be too exciting.  My vacation time is winding down, and I have to like, start working next week.  So on Saturday I had to make my way to Cologne to pick up my rental car for the week of work, and Ms. Müller and I needed some crap at the grocery store.  By all means, it should have been a relatively uneventful day.

Now I didn’t even think vegans could get food poisoning, but I guess Ms. Müller had some bad tofu or something, and the poor girl was pretty damn sick.  That left me on my own for the uneventful little afternoon of running errands, and without someone who can like, communicate with people, and who like, knows how to do basic life shit out here the day got a little more complicated.

I had to go here:

From Ms. Müller’s little village of Oberembt to the train station in nearby Bergheim.

And then catch a couple of trains from Bergheim to Cologne:

Here’s how to get to the Sixt car rental spot on Widdersdorfer Str. 369 in case you were wondering.

So armed only with my cunning, my GPS, the hand-drawn map and instructions for the train the Ms. Müller gave me, I set off on my little adventure.

A pretty dope map of the two train stations, and which trains I needed to take.   Thanks babe.  Woulda been pretty lost without it.

The trains out here are great, you can get just about anywhere without a whole lot of trouble.  But the down side of that is that there are so many different trains and so many different stations, that it’s pretty tough to figure out which is which without a working knowledge of German and the local area.

Buying the ticket was a challenge.  There were about 800 different train stations in Cologne to choose from.  And that right there was actually part of my problem: when I was trying to type in my destination, I was spelling it Cologne and not Köln.  Oops.  Once I got that sorted out, I still needed to find the Müngersdorf Technologiepark station from the list off 800 different choices.  But, I got it figured out eventually and got my ticket.

Then my train didn’t show up.  I texted Ms. Müller and she told me another one would arrive in about 25 minutes, so I walked to the nearby kiosk, bought a beer and some Pringles and found a sunny spot and hung out for a while.  From there things went swimmingly, and the map was great, and I got to my destination in Cologne.

German kids at a train station

Some little German punks at the train station. 14 maybe, and they were all smoking and playing in the tracks…  Rebels.

Train station in Cologne

At the train station where I switched trains.

Graffiti at a German train station

Graffiti at a German train station

Some pretty cool graffiti.

So I should go left. No. Right. No. I should stay right where I am…

 Drinking PSA sign at a German train station

Whoa wait a minute. This sign is awesome. If you don’t kenn dein limit with alcohol you’re gonna be stressen. If you do, you’ll be chillen. The more you know.

Once I arrived in Cologne, I had to find my way to Sixt (German Hertz) to pick up my car.  Luckily it wasn’t too far, and I found it without too much trouble…

Street sign in Germany

I’m getting there.

Street sign in Germany

Sweet…. Widdersdorfer Strasse. I’m there.

German Roach Coach

I even found a roach coach where I could grab some lunch. Sweet.

sweet homemade paintjob

I want to rent this one.

Word. Got the car, but unfortunately not the one with the super bad-ass paint job.  I’m on my way.

With the first half of my little trek under my belt, I set about returning to Bergheim to hit up the grocery store to get some food for the next few days and some sprite and pretzels for Ms. Müller.   After getting mildly lost due to some hefty construction on the autobahn, and some rather slow ‘recalculating’ by my GPS, I found my way to the grocery store.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of grocery shopping in a foreign country, it’s not exactly as easy as you would think…  It’s similar, but different enough that it can make things a little bit tricky.  Finding shit is hard.  Especially when your vegan girlfriend is sick.  Do you know how to say soy yogurt in German?  Exactly.

First of all, what the hell? The shopping carts are locked up or some shit. Turns out it’s a clever way to make you return them. You have to a put a 1-euro coin in the slot in that red thing to get that little chain to let go. Took me a minute to figure it out.

Dude, that’s not milk. That’s a juice box with milch in it.

Bahahaha. I just think is funny. I guess Jello translates to Wackelpudding. Just so you know. By the way, if you ever want to get some strange looks from Germans, pull out your phone and start taking pictures of shit in the supermarket…

So I can’t just get a 6-pack of diet coke then. Got it.

So after wandering rather aimlessly around the supermarket for about an hour, I was able to find the shit I needed and made my way home.  I guess it’s kind of pathetic that I had a pretty legitimate sense of accomplishment once I completed my errands.  I know it wasn’t much, but even the mundane becomes a little tricky when verbal communication and reading get thrown out the window.

But Ms. Müller is feeling better, and I’m off to Karlsruhe for work tomorrow, and then back to Bergheim for a few days before I have to head home…  Come back and see me soon.

Don’t be a stranger.

-B. Littleton

1 Comment

Filed under The Road

One response to “It’s Errand Time in Germany

  1. Marilyn

    What kind of American spy takes pictures of Wackelpudding? In broad daylight, yet! But the map diagram of the stations is charming…

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