01.10.2012 - 01.10.2012 13 °C
We said goodbye to Martijn and Beer as they had to go to work (it was Monday) and carried on ramming our stuff back into the pannier boxes. I managed to get the bike back out of the alleyway without scratching it (god knows how, it was about 1cm narrower than the bike!) and we loaded it back up again. It was sad to ride away from Martijn and Beers as we'd had so much fun, but at least we knew that it was easy to visit them again in the future.
As it was going to be a relatively long ride to Cologne (about 300km) we opted to start on the Motorway to chomp into some of the miles.
Martijn had informed us that the first part of the route was mostly large towns anyway, so not that inspiring to look at.
About half way we jumped off the Motorway and into a town called Arnhem for a bum rest and a coffee. As we drove along the waterfront Jayne spotted a nice coffee shop so I stopped the bike and she hopped off while I tried to park it. I soon slammed on the breaks when Jayne shouted 'BOXES' and I realised that I was about to whizz between 2 lamp posts, forgetting about the big metal boxes sticking out the side of the bike! Luckily I stopped just in time and decided that I'd just park it on the curb (close one Jans!).
The nice Dutch lady brought us some strong coffee, but not before a strange noise started to emanate from all around us. I can only describe it as a really loud siren, a bit like an air raid one only electronic sounding. It was coming from all around and everyone else seemed not to even hear it? It went on for about 2 minutes then stopped as quickly as it had started....still not a clue what it was!!
It was gorgeously sunny, we have been so lucky with the weather so far!
After stuffing ourselves with Stroompfwaffles (Thanks Beer!) we hopped back on and opted for a back road for a while. It started out really pretty, then we seemed to do a tour of all of Germany's power plants,
then sat in traffic in what looked like a council estate for about an hour! Anyway, back on the motorway we shot into Germany and arrived in Cologne.
It was difficult at first to find the B&B as it was literally just an apartment block with a small sign above the bell. Jayne rang the bell and a mysterious click and a buzz later we were in. It was just stairs, stairs and more stairs. After a brief accidental ringing of an apartment door bell (I thought it was a light switch) we were beckoned into a small apartment and informed that our room was on floor 2 and they wanted cash only. Seemed a bit dodgy but what the heck, chucked them some Euro's and they led us back down the stairs to floor 2.
We were shocked that the woman flung open the door to an actually incredibly nice apartment. It had a large bathroom, big lounge with double bed, satellite TV, and a little kitchen area. The girl explained that we help ourselves to breakfast and to our surprise the kitchen was filled with coffee, tea, croissants, bread, fruit juice and in the fridge there was meat and cheeses. Breakfast and lunch tomorrow me thinks !!
Stuffing a couple of croissants and downing a fruit juice we headed out into the center of Cologne.
It is an interesting town with a real collection of old and new buildings. We were only 5 minutes into our walk when turning a corner a huge Cathedral suddenly loomed over us and Jayne remembered that the largest one in Europe is here!
Photo shoot over it was time to find the massive beer halls. We found it hard to hide our disappointment when we did as they were just like large pubs with normal tables and not a Tuba or Accordion in sight (bad times). Bored of drinking small shots of beer (0.2l) and after a nice meal of JaegerSchnitzel and Brauhauswurst we tried to find a more happening place. Now either we are too early, or too late for Oktoberfest, but nothing seemed to be happening. The streets were empty and the bars only had a hand full of people in. Ducking into the liveliest looking one we were confronted with a weird bar complete with a man who looked like he was out of the mid west in the 1800's playing Jazz on a very old piano.
We ordered a round of drinks and sat chatting whilst listening to the cat trying to catch a moth on the piano keys (or at least that is what it sounded like). The cat most have finally caught whatever it was chasing or given up as the seemingly random hitting of keys stopped suddenly. A man from another table put money into a hole in the wall and pressed some buttons and our eyes widened as we realized what he had done! All around the bar were life size wooden figures of people in German dress with Tuba's and Accordions that instantly sprang into life!
I managed to decipher a flyer on the table enough to understand that you could request a variety of well known (and some unknown) songs. I spent the rest of the night with a couple of Euro's in my hand waiting for a slot where I could select the Muppets tune 'Munama na' but sadly the opportunity never presented itself
Meanwhile Jayne ordered some disappointing pancakes for desert so we decided it was time to start the walk back to the room and to see if the bike was still there!