My last day in Cologne. I started by leaving my backpack in the luggage storage at the hotel, then went downstairs to the restaurant – first customer of the day – to order a coffee and a salad for late breakfast. While I sat there, B sent me highlights of her day so far:
Mine was basically the same view again. After my huge salad I decided to go and have a look at the Dom again in the sunshine, so I did. Leaning on my right Pacerpole and going very slowly. Into the other square and following the spires.
Not a lot else I could do, but then I remembered B said I should have gone to Globetrotter the day before, because they have Everything, including the Ortovox trousers she was so happy with, and I had noticed that my trusty Fjällräven ones were looking a bit tired, so I thought – well, why don’t I go to a physical shop and try something on before I buy it for once? So off I went, at a snail’s pace, following google maps, testing my pain levels and poling technique, and promising my foot a taxi if it got too bad. And I found it! It is indeed big and has Everything.
In fact it was a bit overwhelming, as if the sheer amount of stuff was tiring in itself. Even the lovely assistant who tried to help me couldn’t find any extra long hiking trousers, which would have been a very good result, but she mentioned they had a Fjällräven shop downstairs, with Scandi long leg trousers for Scandi long leg people. Still – I came, I tried, I left with nothing. And already in the taxi back to the square I regretted not buying the hiking dress that fit me so well. Typical.
I sat down at my by now usual table and had my usual little Kölsch mini beer while I pondered what to do. I could try to walk to the station to get the train to the airport. But with a pack, and having walked over a km already? OK, I could get a taxi to the train station and then the train. So I did. And once I got into the taxi the driver told me he would take me straight to the airport for €35, so I thought why not! With all the money I had just saved from not getting a full-price Fjällräven dress, I could have anything I wanted! And it was a very good idea. At the airport there was a lot more standing and walking, but at least they let me keep my Pacerpole with me even into the plane, and I was sooo glad I had paid for fast track through security. Long story short: I waited and I waited and I drank cups of tea and then finally boarded, almost an hour late, and arrived home so tired and late that I had to get another taxi from the airport. I was still inside the cost of the dress, and I thanked myself very much for being so kind to me.
(And since I am still sore of foot and heart, I bought the dress a bit cheaper online anyway.)
So endeth the story of my cameo appearance in B’s Big Epic Adventure – it was short, bitter sweet and very nice while it lasted, and I am sure there is a lesson there somewhere about making fun of place names, or looking where you are going, or always getting the tickets you can change, or being able to enjoy your own company without going stir crazy, or the benefit of total rest even when all you want is to walk a lot. I am still actively resting my foot – the benefit of working from home – and hoping it will be up to the task when I go to France to saunter from St Jean to León later this month …
Buen camino, people. Keep watching out for those stupid little steps and stay safe.