Can’t believe it’s been ten years already. But because of that, I’ve looked in the attics of – well, my harddrive, really – and unearthed a couple of decade-old travel diaries from when I went to Koblenz in Germany to attend the Modern Talking Fanclub Party. Ahh, those were the days. Anyway, here we go, complete and unabriged, the story of 18-year-old me taking a bus to foreign climes in pursuit of fandom. (Admittedly, it gets more interesting in future instalments.)
Tuesday/Wednesday, 2/3 January 2001:
GOTHENBURG – KOBLENZ
I left Stenungsund with the 16:25 bus to Gothenburg, which came in at about 17:10, leaving me an hour before “take-off”. I waited in the bus terminal for 20 minutes, and then went out to bus stop 45. At 17:50, the bus came, we all went on, and at 18:15, we left the central bus & train stations.
Around 10pm, Malmö was ahead, and reaching the central station there gave me a few flashbacks, having been there before. I recognised the place. After picking up a passenger, we continued toward the Øresund Bridge. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just dark, it was also foggy, so that was a bit of an anti-climax. When we got out of the tunnel (first bridge, then tunnel), there was an airport on the left side, just off the road! I was surprised to see it was so close.
From my last bus trip around here (to Paris, June 1998), I didn’t remember the distance between Copenhagen and Rødbyhavn, and it turned out to be 159 km. How very nice when all you can think of (and had been thinking since Gothenburg) was “I think I need to pee soon…”! By 1am, we came to Rødbyhavn just in time for the ferry, but we didn’t take that one (annoying!), we took the one 30-40 minutes later. Finally, I could go to the toilet. You might wonder why I didn’t go on the bus, but I don’t like that sort of thing.
At 2:30am, we were in Germany, where we went through a passport control. My mobile phone’s operator logo changed from Denmark’s “mobilix” to Germany’s “D2 – PRIVAT”. In Sweden, it doesn’t say “EURO” (my operator), because instead of it, I have a logo saying “Modern Talking”, but it disappeared as I left Europolitan’s net in Sweden and entered Denmark. :c(
I managed to get maybe an hour’s sleep before Hamburg, where I had to change buses – at 4:30 in the morning. 5-ish, I was on bus 7 instead of 2 to Köln (Cologne), where I got maybe 3 hours sleep altogether. Funny, on the first bus, there was a smell of spicy food that someone had been eating, and sweat, which was not very nice at all. On the other bus, it smelled like someone had taken a perfume bath, which wasn’t very nice either. Around 8am, we stopped at Münsterland for 45 minutes, so I bought an apple, ate it, and then brushed my teeth. That felt nice! We didn’t stop anywhere else until Köln, which was the final stop.
It was a short walk to the Köln Hbf (Haubtbahnhof; central train station), where I waited for the train to take me to Koblenz. The first two trains the train people I asked, said wasn’t the right ones, but that the next one would come in 5-10 minutes. 11:09, I went on a train, asked if it was going to Koblenz, and a girl confirmed it, so I stayed on it. It was the right train, because the conductor didn’t complain about my ticket, or threw me off the train.
At 12:10, I got off at Koblenz Hbf, and went out to the Bahnhofsplatz. Where to get my bus card? Checked the print-out of an email from KEVAG (Koblenz bus company), where it said Löhr-Center. Which was where??? Luckily, I found a tourist information office who gave me a map and directions. My bags were killing me!
I passed the Herz-Jesu-Kirche (where Thomas married Nora back in 1985), but didn’t stop to take photos. I just saw it, recognised it from the wedding pictures, and moved on. I got the bus card eventually (Wochenkarte, not Monatskarte, thankyouverymuch), and was relieved to discover that bus 9 went from Löhr-Center to Neudorf Bergstrasse, so I didn’t have to walk all the way back to the Busbahnhof.
Finally, the right stop, and then I followed the signs up-hill. I swear, Festung Ehrenbreitstein (Ehrenbreitstein Fortress) is on the highest mountain in town!! Walking up the 118 meter high hill, a young Belgian couple, Eveline and Raphaël, caught up with me, and it turned out they were also heading to the youth hostel. We got to the fortress after a long, devillish walk up the monstrous steep roads, and then we asked where the JH (Jugendherberge; youth hostel) was. On the far side of the fortress, which we arrived at eventually, just to find that the door was locked.
Deutches Eck, as seen from Festung Ehrenbreitstein
No one answered our knocks and bell-ringings. We stood there, in a little rain and a bloody stormwind, and watched the great view of where Rhein (Rhine) and Mosel (Moselle) meets – a place called Deutsches Eck (German corner). Mosel brings brown water, and Rhein ordinary-coloured, so it looks funny! From the fortress, I could see Deutsches Eck, the castle, Liebfrauenkirche… Koblenz doens’t look very big, but it looks nice.
Eventually, someone opened the door, so we could check in. I have a 6-bed room (E21a) all to myself (as of yet), with toilets and showers down the hall. You can’t get much further away from the exit than this! I decided to rest a while (my feet were in pain), and then maybe go and see the town, but I decided not to.
Festung Ehrenbreitstein, 118 metres up.
The Jugendherberge is on the right.
The cafeteria wasn’t open, but since it said it would be open 20-23, the person on duty (a guy about my age, who looks a lot like Ewan McGregor) opened it, and warmed up some food (Baguette Champignon – quite nice!), and then put on the TV. He explained “Ich heirate einen Millionär” to be a “stupid show” and yes it was. *LOL* Then, a show host, the guest Harald Schmidt, and an Apothekar tried to copy Coca-Cola in “Stern-TV” on RTL. This was the first time I watched the German TV channels live, and not just on video. Tomorrow, I will check out the town. Auf Wiedersehen!
To be continued next Sunday – when I’ll find out some rather unexpected and FREAKING AWESOME news that nearly had me falling off a chair in a book shop …