there are many similarities between German and Dutch. this would only help me if i understand Dutch in the first place.
so i decided to take a trip by myself to Germany on a whim. an important lesson: taking trips on a whim is very expensive. backpacking is not what it used to be.
my hostel is located by a bunch of designer boutiques. this is not good news, especially since i spent the day in the Negen Straatjes in Amsterdam yesterday, shopping heaven. must...stay...away...
still there is some fun in spontaneous unprepared trips. i arrived here with no guide book, no friends, no agenda, and also, as mentioned, no understanding of the German language whatsoever. i did find a city guide at the hostel, however, at least i assumed it would tell me about the museums and restaurants to visit. as it turned out, however, over half of the guide is dedicated to information about escort services. i'm not really looking for *that* kind of adventure, but i suppose it is useful to know that i am probably too short to be an escort in Germany - they're all like five foot ten.
made it into Cologne today, or as the locals keep insisting on remind us Anglophones, Köln. i decided to go to this city solely on the Christoph's advice, who told me that it was a great city because it was known to be Germany's gay capital. Not that, he assured me, he believes that i "drink from the furry cup", but a good gay scene is pretty indicative of a fun city. and who am i to disagree with a German? especially a German who used to be my karaoke buddy at Ottawa's best gay bar?
did a bit of exploring today, taking a lovely walk along the Rheine river and checking out the various Christmas markets within the city and feeling in general excited about the holidays. Köln is all decked out in Christmas lights, and in my festive mood, i stole a festive mug from one of the apple cider stands. at least i assume that the 2 euro deposit on the cup was optional. along with my festive apple cider, i had a delicious German sausage along with a German beer.
i also experienced a bit of the joys of watching German dubbed television. "How I Met Your Mother" is, regrettably, still not funny in German, but "Malcolm mittendrin" is just plain gold no matter what language.