You can always tell the measure of a good place and the people you meet within it by the amount of shit you learn. I learned quite a lot of shit during my weekend in Cologne so here we go….
When I arrived in Cologne I figured that I would be able to get around most of the sights in the space of the day so I would take a day out on Sunday and go shopping….. but no.
Cologne’s shops and supermarkets are all completely closed on Sunday. This means that I had to do my shopping on Saturday instead and do all my food shopping for Sunday the day before as well
Whilst taking my Saturday out to shop, I learned a few other interesting things:
German’s appear to have no idea what the English lyrics to the songs they are playing in their clothing stores at 2pm in the afternoon actually mean. It is here I find myself standing next to a 9 year old listening to a rap musician sing about ‘how dis nigga is gonna slam dunk some motherfucking pussy….?!?!’ I am both horrified and slightly amused at this. I later found out that my new German friend got told off when she was about 14 because the first song that she ever learned in English was about ‘sucking dicks’ and was found singing it very loudly in public when her mother had to stop her and explain. And I thought all German’s had pretty good English… well they do except for the vulgar and inappropriate.
It doesn’t matter how many Primark stores I visit, or in which country that the Primark is in, the people who shop in Primark all totally shit me to tears. (For those not familiar with Australian slang… they annoy me very, very much.
I have an obsession with shopping for earrings and underwear. 7 pairs of earrings purchased in one day… we won’t discuss my penchant for underwear.
I was also fortunate enough to learn that a blast from my past (a friend from my old school days of working at KFC when I was 15 now actually lives in Cologne with his girlfriend. We met up and went out with some others from the hostel. While the rest of us stared at him like he was nuts, my friend told us about this game in a bar where you sit around a circular tree stump and take turns at hammering a nail into the wood with the small end of the hammer. We went. We played. I learned that this is awesome and I want one in my backyard! I also learned that while in Australia, we do our best to remove all kinds of weapons from bars, including glass bottles. In Germany, all you need to do is give the bar a twenty Euro deposit and they will give you a hammer…..
The Sunday we got up and went on the walking tour around the city in the snow. Walking tours are always full of learning and this one was no exception.
Given that the Dom (the most impressive Cathedral in Cologne, and that I have ever seen) was built by those from Dusseldorf, and that those from Cologne and Dusseldorf hate each other, that when the city hall was build, they decided to make a salute to the Dom…. In the form of including statues baring their naked arses oriented in the direction of the Dom. One of them even looks like it is giving itself fellatio. Hmmm…. what a way to say fuck you!
Speaking of phallic symbols, some random artist guy decided that to give his seal of approval to art galleries around town that he would randomly paint bananas alongside the art galleries doors. This caused huge outrage (of course) and then people started painting their own bananas. Which aren’t the original bananas, so this is stealing. Of all the questions though, there is this…. why bananas? Well apparently the banana is like life….. nothing about it is straight.
Cologne is from cologne. Yeah I probably should have figured this one out already but I never actually took the time to properly process and think about that one.
There is a gold painted Ford Fiesta on the roof of a building…..
The lock selling industry here in Cologne must be out of this world considering how many people have locked their hearts to someone else on the bridge. Wonder how many regret that now?
Mostly what I learned in Cologne is that it is really great to catch up and reminisce with old friends. I also learned that sometimes life will massively surprise you and send you exactly what you need, especially in times when you feel like you are in a drab routine you can’t get out of. Anyway, the next adventure is up and coming in a couple of weeks! I shall let you know what I learn on that one! Til now, happy learning!
After eating my way through the Netherlands, this continued as I journeyed through Belgium. Whilst in Belgium I explored the essence of waffles, chocolate, beer and a whole other spectrum of personal demons as we prepare to bring in the New Year… so here it is, some personal, some ridiculous and some factual, this is Shit I Learned In Belgium!
There is a statue of a small boy pissing in the city centre known as the “Mannekin Pis”. For some reason this has become a national symbol of the Belgians and it is hilarious. On top of the Mannekin Pis, there had to be a lady version of this bought about to match the humour of the boy. As such, they have the “Jeanneke Pis”. This is the cheekiest and most amazing statue ever! I am in love with her and find it a total shame that they have hidden her in a back alley.
There are three things I totally hate in this world. One is coffee. YUK!! Massively detest. The second is olives. And the third is beer. For some reason I seem to have this avid loathing of all things that other people seem to love. And yet, here, in the country of beer, I DRANK MY FIRST BEER!! OK so it was a Lindeman’s Raspberry flavoured one and it tasted nothing like beer and more like a raspberry soft drink, but hurrah! Winning! Am a beer drinker! (Well, kinda….)
“French” fries are actually not French, but actually Belgian. As French is spoken in Belgium, it appears that the American’s who came over to visit and took them home gave them the name “French fries” with the misunderstanding that despite French being spoken there that they are not in fact French. In the many years I have been going to the pub to have meals and they are served with a side of salad and fries I never realized that this is where it comes from. So what else do you eat for your New Years Eve dinner except a Flemish stew with a side of fries and salad. Delicious!
On the topic of New Years, I decided one evening in the company of a friend and under the influence of much wine that deleting the phone numbers/messages/Facebook profiles of any ex boyfriends or even dates was a smashing way to start over. Of course the great man Murphy is not having any of this shit and sees to it that you get messages from majority of them in the following week of deletion, even from ones you dumped two years ago, just to test how strong your resolution not to message the fuckers back is. So far excellent. No messages despite how much I want to tell them they are ginormous nobs. Well done me! Have learned self control this week.
The word for whipped cream in Dutch is ‘slagroom’. I literally cannot help but find this funny.
The only European colonization of a country where the profits reaped from this country went to a solo king and not to the state was when Leopold invaded and took charge of the Congo.
Speaking of the Congo, I did not realize Tintin was a Belgian cartoon and the second of the comic books was ‘Tintin in the Congo’ featuring one of the most racist representation of the African’s you have ever seen. You can Google this and find the comic online but apparently this is an amended and tamer version than the previously more racist version… it is still however, quite racist.
And the final thing I learned in Belgium is that pretending that you don’t speak French, Dutch or English by speaking Spanish instead will always get you into trouble because everybody seems to speak about a million languages and the ones they speak are totally unpredictable. I got caught speaking to a strange man in the street because he spoke Spanish…. excellent!
Keep you posted on the next adventures! Until then, happy reading and learning!
I was a fortunate enough lady to get 16 whole days off from teaching the herds of feral animals at school and to embark on a trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. The best thing about this is that my friend who I met this time last year in a hostel in Bali invited me to stay with her in Utrecht for a bit and to also spend Christmas eve night with her family for dinner. Not only did I learn from this that I am a luck lady for having such great people in my life, I learned a few other classic Danni things…. here are just a few from the Netherlands! Belgium is a whole other story and will just have to come a bit later…
Knuffelen…. The best word to use to pick up the Dutch folk. It means “cuddles?”
When visiting a peep show in the Red Light District, one should not give a running commentary… So here I am on a walking tour alone getting sent in to see a peep show. I join a box with a Chinese girl I’ve just met. I didn’t even manage to catch her name before we’re thrown in. Her first comment is “wow that guy has a really ugly, bald head…” OK. This is an acceptable comment… kinda… My first comment was “Wow she clearly isn’t enjoying that! Dry as fuck! Like rubbing sandpaper on your vagina! Send in the lube brigade!!” The guy clearly hears me as he stares right and me and then pulls back her legs to give me a better view. “Yep. I was right! No glistening rays of sunshine there… dry as fuck! This is boring! I’m outta here….”. Sometimes I need to close my mouth and just leave it that way… especially in the Red Light District hahahaha (ba boom ching… double funny).
Wijn actually means “wine”… too easy!
Dutch Tinder is way more entertaining than English Tinder… senses of humour are rampant. I met a guy who both studies AND possesses genetics. What a catch!
Van Gogh painted hundreds of paintings that are just exceptional. It is a shame that he lost his mind and couldn’t cope with staying on earth any longer to grace us with more of his magnificence.
When one engages in eating about 6 oliebollen (Dutch round fried donut with raisins) a day, one will get fat. No doubt about it all. I’ve tried and tested this theory avidly.
On the topic of food, they invented my perfect dessert… they call it a “Bossche bollen”. It is basically a giant ball of whipped cream with as little pastry as possible encasing it and then they roll it in chocolate for good measure. It’s almost as good as eating whipped cream from the can and way more socially acceptable.
Dutch clothing shops are cool and next time I should bring less in my bag if I don’t want to wind up stuffing half of my belongings in my already tight pants from eating too much shit….
Oh and flirting with train inspectors will get you out of a fine. Especially when you explain to them that you have no idea whether the ticket worked or not because you don’t read or speak Dutch. “I’m Australian… (Te he he, hair flick…) “please help me! I don’t know what I am doing! Knuffelen?! :)” That said I don’t know whether this is what my friend Helen had in mind for “Servitude September” which I clearly didn’t do because… well ok, just because…. (stay tuned for my second attempt), but I will try pass it off anyway.
Well that is it for the new year! Catch you all next week!