On Wednesday morning, I woke up after a long and perfect night of sleep (thanks largely in part to Nyquil). Surprisingly, the infamous bells of St. Apollinaris didn’t wake me up like they were so good at doing this past summer. I took a shower and had breakfast (muesli and leftover cake). Afterward, I spent a few hours milling around the flat doing a whole lot of nothing (mostly listening to music and writing a bit), before heading out to the HBF.
Once I arrived in Köln, I spent a couple hours at the HBF Starbucks (I know, I know) using the wifi and catching up on emails and blogging, before packing up and getting lost a few times in search of the practice space of the Paper Queens.
This band found me randomly on the internet last year, which I thought was quite funny and a bit serendipitous perhaps. We’ve corresponded on and off since then, and finally set up a time with Ben (the guitarist and lead singer) for me to meet him and the rest of the band. I found their practice space soon enough, and the four of them sat down for an interview with me, which included lots of laughter, as well as talking (a given), and listening to them play some songs. It was quite enjoyable, that’s for certain. They are such adorably sweet and nice fellows. I am excited to write this interview, although I still have three other German articles ahead in line that are begging to be written.
When band practice ended, Benedikt and Sascha walked me back to the train station before heading their separate ways. I decided to spend the following hours (I had a couple to kill) wandering around the shopping streets and Kölner Dom, which I didn’t go into this time, just around. I then made my way to a dive-y bar just down the street from the Marriot Hotel. This was where I was supposed to meet some folks, but as I sat down with a Kölsch, I shot a text message, saying that I was in the area earlier than planned. They happened to had just ordered at Früh, and told me to come on over.
Since Früh was such a short walk, I pounded my beer and made my way over there in 10 minutes or so, where I was reunited with my friend Andrew, his sister and her husband, and his parents. And as much as I’ve loved all the people I know in Germany and all the new ones I’ve met, there is nothing quite like spending an evening in the company of old friends.
After dinner (a delicious vegetable menagerie with cheese) and a few beers, we walked back to the hotel together, but not before one of the servers (a Yugoslavian fellow) told me that I could take some glasses and he’d look the other way… unfortunately both broke in the following day, but it was still a sweet gesture on his part.
When we arrived at the hotel, we made our way to the Executive Lounge (Andrew’s mother is a platinum member at the Marriot) where we helped ourselves to free unlimited snacks and drinks. Naturally, I had a couple Kölsch and far too many cookies and settled in for a bit while five of us played Tripoli, which turned out to be an awesome and super fun game.
Shortly before 11, Andrew and I said our goodbyes and parted with the family, heading to the HBF. My train came a bit later and I made my way back to Düsseldorf, where Johannes was waiting for me. The two of us walked back to his flat and hung out for a bit, before he headed out and I went to bed, in preparation of the next full day, which was to be spent in town with more friends.