VC3: Back to Cologne

Another day, another fabulous hotel breakfast buffet. I shall miss that! We treated ourselves to a huge meal and B also made a packed lunch. I decided I didn’t need a lunchbox lunch, as the train would only take an hour. I gave her my tiny salt and pepper shaker as a parting gift, the one thing she hadn’t been able to find before her adventure began. At least she would have salt (or chilli seasoning) to spice up her lunchbox egg on the way. Then we left, following the main street until she had to turn to carry on her big adventure, and we pretended we would meet again very soon, like I was just going to the pharmacy. I stood and waved a while as I watched her go. More silent multilingual swearing ensued, but it is better than crying in public.

I arrived at the train station only to find that there were no trains running due to the damage from the floods last year, but a bus would be at stand H in ten minutes. There was a massive queue for this bus so I hoped it was a massive bus too, but no – just a little city bus! Everyone piled on and I managed to hop in and grab a seat next to a young lady right by the back door. Meaning I couldn’t stretch my foot out or put my pack anywhere, so I sat with it on my lap and promised it we would get a taxi from the station in Cologne to the hotel. An hour later I was there and kept my promise, and as I got out of the taxi I knew I had done the right thing, even though it was all a bit §!*#?!. I checked in, unpacked, changed to a T-shirt, grabbed a jacket and headed down to the outside seats overlooking the sunny square.

Just to the left of the photo is the table where we had our ankerbier only a few days earlier … But that felt like a year ago already. I ordered an Apostle Jakob (James/Santiago) pizza with bacon, leek and potatoes – !! – even though the Judas pizza sounded better – !!! – but I couldn’t bring myself to say ‘Judas pizza’ out loud. I enjoyed it with a few tiny glasses of local Kölsch beer while I people watched and called home and messaged pilgrim friends about my woes. Also messaged with B, who was enjoying this:

Oh well. I, on the other hand, didn’t move – I kept my foot up, my right hand Pacerpole at my side and just rested for hours until it got dark and I had a pity treat of a crème brulée – basically a flan – and a white wine nightcap, and then it was time to get the lift back up to bed.

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