1st November 2022.
As you’ll know from the obligatory map in the obligatory November stocktake we managed a bit of authentic tourism last month.
I’d been eyeing a return to Germany for the first time since 2016 since the Covid restrictions eased, but it looked tricky to get away with a month of family duties ahead, and I let the cheap fares lapse.
But two things at the end of October persuaded me to make a last minute purchase. Firstly, Boak & Bailey‘s enticing reports on Bamberg and Cologne, and then everybody’s favourite American Pubman sinking Urbock. . Show-offs.
Astonishingly, when I went back on the Ryanair website the flights from Manchester to Cologne were now cheaper than a rail fare to Luton, with the only downside a 4am drive through Castleton to Mid Stay parking.
Still, a pint at 6am, can’t be a bad life, can it ?
Rammed with singing Celtic fans off to Madrid, the Lees-run Lion & Antelope was a den of filth (not a band at Manchester Punk Fest).
Mrs RM made a futile attempt to clear the last table and then bravely set off to get a pint of Middleton’s finest while I discovered a sea of these objects on the floor;
Sadly they weren’t virgin white.
Mrs RM came back with coffees and a tale of staff looking forlornly at turned round handpumps.
Blue Moon (City forum) seems obsessed with 3 things these days. “Bap” or “Cob”, Erling Haaland’s loss of form, and the status of Manchester as the UK’s worst airport.
But at least outside it all looked rather glorious as our flight left on time.
And to be fair to the UK it was the Duetsche Bahn trains that were suffering cancellations that morning.
On the 20 minute ride toward the Dom we suddenly realised everyone else was wearing masks (mandatory on trains), and a lovely Cologne lady gave Mrs RM her spare to save her having to walk the 6 miles. We never saw another mask being worn all week once off the rails.
Mrs RM had picked a hotel so close to the vast main station your currywurst would still be warm when you got back to the room. That’s my main criteria these days.
TRYP’s room cost more than our flights (both of us), and had free sweets, my other main hotel criteria.
Sadly the bar never seemed to be open, so I never did find out if this tap was dispensing Bass.
By an astonishing stroke of misfortune we had managed to arrive in Cologne on the last day of Joan and Dave’s German holiday, so they felt obliged to spend an afternoon drinking with us rather than packing their suitcases.
We joined them in the hotel lobby, after scoffing the first of 27 too many pastries.