Last night I discovered a hole on the butt of one of my pair of jeans. This is the second pair of pants to deconstruct on this trip, but this one makes me mad because I literally bought these jeans three months ago and they were not cheap.
My clothes are turning into shreads, my computer is out of order, I am losing things left and right, my hair is taking a different direction every day. I am falling apart. I like traveling still but I am a little sick of sight seeing (the churches and museums are beginning to blur) and lately, I have been feeling most content talking with people and reading my book in a cafe. Emotionally, I am in a good place. I am happy with my travels. I am happy to go home. I listen to my ipod and all the songs that I used to play when I was mad or frustrated do not evoke much feeling in me anymore. I am happy, content, rested. This whole trip worked.
Given that I am not so ambitious as a traveler at the moment, it is fun that I am now visiting people that I know. That way, I can just spend lots of time with them and not feel obligated about seeing all the sights in town. In Cologne, I am visiting Steffi, the girl who I spent my birthday with, and her boyfriend Jan, who are both university students and live in a nice apartment just outside of downtown. (After seeing yet another great apartment, I have decided that Dan and my apartment must be the smallest apartment in the entire world.)
When I arrived, they were busy doing the things that students are busy with, so I ventured into this surprisingly bustling town on my own to sight-see because even though I do not have the same enthusasium as I used to, I still do it and I still like doing it. Cologne is the fourth biggest city in Germany, but for me, it might as well be New York City. From the moment I stepped off the train, I was accousted by people rushing past me and pushing me aside. Walking around the shopping distict of the city was no different. Where are all of these people coming from? After buying a winter hat (finally!) I bumped into a large mass of females clutching cameras in their hands.
'What is going on?' I asked someone.
'The Backstreet Boys are signing autographs!' was the response.
I checked out the impressive Dom, the biggest cathedral in all of Germany, and today, along with about 600 schoolchildren, I went to the Chocolate Museum, where I learned about the history of chocolate and the growing of the cocoa bean (which had all these pictures of Africans wearing ripped clothing and talked about how conditions are terrible on the farms and there is a problem with child labor). That made me feel guilty. After that, they push you in a room where chocolate is being made and the intoxicating aroma made me forget about the African exploitation. I think they did that on purpose.
Besides that, I have just been leisurely hanging out with Steffi and Jan. We had some pizza and nice conversation at the student bar. Steffi and I looked for a winter coat--for her. I even had some alone time in Starbucks with my book. I did not see everything in Cologne and I don't have to. Because now, this pace feels just fine.
The Berliner: A donut covered in rough sugar with an explosion of jelly inside.
Shopping in Cologne.
Jan and Steffi.