That time I went to Cologne

Last week, as the title suggests, I travelled with 40 students from my school to Cologne for four days. Despite the horrific sounding 13 hour trip each way in a coach which had a toilet that didn’t flush, I had a really great time.

The 13 hours travelling there was filled with many service stops, a lot of card games featuring our newfound favourite- Ditrihead- and a lot of chatter. At one point, one end of the coach were battling the other end of the coach in a singing war which was definitely victorious for the front half (my half) but then died down at the prospect of dinner. However, dinner was thoroughly disappointing as it consisted of a mini tub of pringles and a lipton iced tea: a great snack but certainly not suitable for dinner. By the time we arrived at our accommodation, most of us wanted nothing more than sleep and after the tediousness of sorting out our rooms, that’s exactly what we got.

The next morning I woke to the sound of my own stomach gurgling an unnatural sound, which I had to apologise to my roommates for and I blamed it on the fact that I was absolutely starving. The continental breakfast offered to us was the kind that appealed to me: freshly baked bread rolls, a selection of meats and an assortment of cereals. Despite the hunger and the gurgling, all I managed to eat half of a bread roll and a few peaches (crucial to the story). The morning’s activities consisted of walking through the city, viewing the impressive cathedral and bridge and visiting the chocolate factory. Walking through the streets of Cologne, the smell of traditional foods such as currywurst (curried sausage) and dunkin donuts would have normally been appealing to me but that was not the case. The combination of the smells plus the gurgling sound of my stomach= a not so well Emily and *STOP READING HERE FOLKS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ THE GORY DETAILS THE POOR 37 PEOPLE FROM MY GROUP HAD TO WITNESS FIRST HAND* I threw up not so impressively into my palm. This of course caused the whole group to stop, unaware of what was happening  and turned around to see a crying girl and my panicked amigos plus the lovely Mrs Berry consoling me.

Luckily that was all that happened and we were able to continue on our merry way to the Cathedral which was quite spectacular. Once in the Cathedral, I began to feel claustrophobic so I sat down in one of the pews and pretended to admire the stained glass windows. But I knew it wasn’t over (scenes dramatised for effect). Feeling rather proud of myself that I had kept my guts in tact, our group plodded on to a bridge abundant with locks of all colours and sizes, a view that one could describe as romantic if I hadn’t spoiled it. Overlooking the grey skyline which was not quite as picturesque, my throat started to tighten *I IMPLORE YOU TO STOP READING HERE FOLKS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ THE GORY DETAILS THE POOR 37 PEOPLE FROM OUR GROUP HAD TO WITNESS FIRST HAND* and the floor then became spewed with what looked like whole peaches, produced by yours truly. People didn’t know where to look, my coat was a mess, my shoes were no longer the shiny black leather they once were and many antiseptic wipes were thrown at me. If any Cologne peeps are reading this, I’m really sorry but on the plus side, I wasn’t the only sick person on the trip!

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You’ll be happy to know that that was all the disgusting-ness I experienced for the rest of the trip, it’s over. However, our next stop was lunch and as everyone knows, as much as you love food, no one has an appetite after being sick. Unfortunately for me, we stopped at a lovely little restaurant where the man offered us a good deal and I could have had pizza, currywurst or schnitzel but all I could consume was half a slice of pizza, which was absolutely soul crushing. I would have loved that pizza…

The final visit of the day was Cologne’s famous? chocolate factory but again, I was not yet ready for the rich smell of chocolate so I chose to stay with Will in the ridiculously priced cafe (€2,40 for a glass of water). There was then much controversy about paying extra for a tour which I luckily did not have to experience as I sat in a cafe for an hour, drinking overpriced water, with no wifi, which truly wasn’t as bad as it sounds. But the gift shop, which we all know is the best part of tourist attractions, was my kind of place. There was just chocolate everywhere and before I know it, my arms were brimming from the amount of chocolate I was purchasing and on reflection, none of it was for myself which was a rather poor life choice. Also, if this post seems like the biggest waste of time of your life, I have a tip that will make it all worth it: don’t buy broccoli flavoured vegan chocolate. I know what you’re thinking: “that sounds delicious”, but just don’t do it. I would also like to point out that it was not myself that bought it, I bought lollipop bouquets and chocolate money (the good stuff), it was our resident vegan, Jordan.

 

We then returned to the hotel and after dinner the younger years had the delight of watching us Year 13’s performing the first ‘Bild’ of a German play we’re studying called Andorra, by Max Frisch (very hard-hitting, not for the lighthearted). My attire was my flannel pjs, my ultra-trendy NCS hoodie and the most amazing pair of unicorn slippers I had purchased that day for way too much money. Apparently they look like sheep with horns but I beg to differ. Team 101 (our room) then hit the hay because we were all in agreement that sleep was necessary, unlike the mad people that stayed up till the early hours of the morning. But I would also like to thank the lovely people on the trip that asked if I was feeling better because I did rather cause a scene!

The next morning I had fully regained my appetite and had… I’ll spare you the details. The main event of the day was visiting Marksburg Castle which was a sight to behold and we were incredibly surprised to learn that people actually still lived there. Castle goals! We were taken on a tour (for no extra cost) and we then tucked into a delicious lunch at their cafe, which was frikadella (basically a burger) and fries, with a drink that combined fanta and coke which I found absolutely mind-blowing. To add to the view of the castle, the previous night had surrounded it in snow which may have looked pretty but when an 8 year old English kid from a respective group throws a snowball at your back, you slightly condemn it.

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That night’s festivities included a quiz, where our team (Team 101+Tom) called ourselves ‘€250 fine, ja’ which we found absolutely hilarious at the time- you had to be there- and beat Adam’s team, which is also a bonus. Making a name for myself as an utter embarrassment, we then joined a game of Cards of Humanity with some of the people in our group. I may or may not have pronounced ‘Clitoris’ wrong which resulted in laughs that could have been heard from the top floor. In my defense, I have survived 18 years without having to know and well now… I do.

The last day was another 13 hours making our way home but I had just as good a day as any. By the end of the trip, I could probably say I had spoke to everyone and I just found that everyone was genuinely nice. We had made some friends, spoke a little bit of German and were able to put off thinking about A-Levels for a short time at least.

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Emily Simms: 20:25

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