05.11.2015 - 05.11.2015
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Today marks the departure from my city to a city unknown. As we travelled by taxi from the hotel to the rather small Wiesbaden train station, I viewed a number of billboards and hand crafted signs from my people begging me to stay. These notions were well received and the city and I agreed upon terms for my residence effective immediately. Therefore, I am staying in Wiesbaden indefinitely.
This is about the time that I awoke from my short slumber. It was time to check out of the hotel and head to train number 1. Not before an absolutely glorious breakfast. I am not being facetious here either. I strongly recommend hotel breakfasts/meals in Germany. They are spectacular in nature and nourishment. We were required to train from Wiesbaden station on a regional train to the nearby Mainz station (about 10 min train) in order to switch to the high speed ICE train which lead to Cologne.
We did take a taxi to the Wiesbaden train station to guarantee our departure time would be met. Quick note for those who are not informed, trains to not wait for people even if you have reservations/have first class seats/have prevented WWIII - you are SOL if you are late. Thus supporting the fact that we taxi'd to the station rather than sprinting the 6 blocks with bags in tote. That being said, we arrived at least 10 minutes before our train departure (plenty of time in my book). Sidebar: some people like to arrive at the train 30-40 minutes ahead of time to get "settled in." I guess they want to set up camp, pitch a tent, and build a fire for smores. I'm good with 15-20 therefore I can read the boards for last minute audibles regarding platform changes etc. - btw it is very entertaining watching the ants scatter when there is a 3 or 4 lane platform change just minutes before departure.
Moving on, no train in sight. Checked the boards and no record of our train at all. Nothing. No cancellation or delay. Was ist das scheisse? Oh did I mention that our tranfer at the Mainz station was supposed to be only a 5 minute sprint from one platform the another? In the words of nephew/cousin Bryden, "Uh oooh."
Thinking on our feet, we sprint outside, hail a cab and in broken English due to the jog [pronounced 'yog'] (not even attempting to communicate in German) I ask how fast can you get us to the Mainz train station? The "experienced" elderly driver responds, "oh, 20-25 minutes." By this time we had exactly 23 minutes before we would get stranded and lose millions. Okay, not really millions, but it felt so in the heat of the moment with adrenaline pumping. My response to the driver, "how about we half that time?" Tires squeal and we're off. I sat up front. I could sense the stress levels in the back seat rising and nearing the panic point.
Suddenly we were all transported inside the video game Gran Turismo and our driver became a drifting professional. We were swerving in and out of lanes to avoid being caught by lights. It was all a blur. I swear we were driving on the sidewalk dodging pedestrians at some points during the race against time. There may have been a few "yellow-ish" red lights we coasted through. Through Wiesbaden, up and over the Rhine river, then down through the maze which Mainz calls streets. At first I despised the civil engineer which thought this would be a smart and economically efficient city layout, but as the street race of the century continued, I grabbed the "oh shit handle" above head and enjoyed the efficient rollar coaster mode of transportation. Pulled into Mainz train station. I looked at our driver and while taking off his racing helmet he portrayed an ear to ear grin which is normally only seen on the faces of children when they look up to you knowing they did a damn good job on that project/task/chore assigned. We arrived 5 minutes before our train was scheduled to depart. Let's just say that speed racer earned his tip that day.
We jump on the train. Hearts pumping. We were just reborn. Our existence was redefined. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it was exhilarating. Deb and Ab-dog sat in the row in front of me. After that trip I was a bit thirsty. I retrieved my water bottle from my bag (this particular bottle contains a flip top in order to air tight seal the liquid inside). Bottle in left hand and I released the flip top with my thumb, while I continued to look through my bag on my right. Suddenly I hear a loud squeal from the row in front of me as well as the seat across the aisle of said row.
As you may have guessed by now, Yellowstone's famous Old Faithful geyser made an appearance on the ICE train eleventh day of May, but in the form of my water bottle. The 24 oz bottle spewed nearly 2 gallons. From waist high while sitting, traveling upwards at speeds of 65 mph, reaching the interior ceiling of the train mid-aisle and raining down over my wonderful, understanding Auntie and her unknown friend across the aisle. My Aunt leaped up screaming "OH SHI$%(&#$&@," thinking the train was leaking some unknown chemical upon her from the heavens. A German gentleman just passed before the public shower took place and looked back at my Aunt stating something along the lines of, "hah looks like you are getting your second shower of the day!" (in German so I didn't catch much). Aunt D responded with a stern-yet bold, "gibberish-gibberish-GermanNoises-Wilkommen," which translates roughly to gibberish-gibberish-GermanNoises-Welcome. The man with a confused smile then slowly backed up and continued on his way.
This day had just begun and already so many golden moments.
We arrive in Cologne, sleepy yet eager to explore the Cathedral city. It is known for its' historic cathedral on the Rhine river. Pictures at the end. Time to moderately imbibe on foods and beer at the local Brauhaus. (see photo of massive pork knuckle - Sorry Charlotte). Finally, I received the man sized meal of which I was searching. After the gigantic Wilbur-knuckle celebration in my belly commenced we decided to take a cable car up and over the Rhine in order to soak in the birdseye views of the entire city. Followed by a free self-walking tour down the Rhine river and around/in the Cologne Cathedral. The intricate details on this structure amaze me. See Photos.
The evening ended with gelato and authentic Italian food. Delicious.
Things are gonna be easier
Things'll get be brighter"