Today’s unwanted WordPress prompt is “What could you do less of ?“. Get my hopes up, watching England, I guess.
On a football theme, back to November’s trip to Germany, who will surely win the cup now.
2nd November 2022.
Mrs RM had agreed to join me in Cologne on condition she could spend Tuesday in our TRYP hotel room sorting IT issues for French people.
Because I’m all heart, I agreed to let her work while I went off on a mystery rail trip. I even bought her some particularly gooey (but probably healthy if you eat them fast) breakfast items from Yorma’s, the Greggs of Germany.
I left Mrs RM with just enough Deutschmarks to buy a currywurst,
took a first, unsatisfactory, shot of the Dom,
and headed for the self-service machine, where I probably bought the wrong ticket.
But where ? The evening before, we’d seen some Bayer 04 Leverkusen scarves on the train back from Dusseldorf.
I thought I knew a fair bit about Germany and its football, but I had no idea where Amenia Bielfield, Bochum and Union Berlin are from.
I imagined Leverkusen was a large city near Trier, the home of a famous German like Nena and with a special honey cake as its local specialty. But no, it’s just a suburb of Cologne. Who knew ?
On the 20 minute journey, I eavesdropped on two German ladies, randomly brought together, who’d worked in Blackheath and Lewisham. What was the chance of that ?*
I told Dave I’d go there, and I did. Got 2 posts worth, too. I wasn’t expecting much, something like Brentford without the Express Tavern, or perhaps Bracknell without that Spoons, and the approach is, unpromisingly, one huge building site.
On the way out I’d read that the high-flying football club was born from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 1904, so revised my expectation to Harlow without the lads being sick in the high street at midnight.
The view from my drone doesn’t give much away.
Leaving the station you get directed under the train tracks via some rather cute housing on Havensteinstraße and a statue of an elephant. No idea why, but Coventry have one on their club badge, too.
Five minutes later you find yourself, like it or not, in a space age shopping centre.
No Wetherspoons in the centre, but this scale model appears to be a prototype for a yet-to-be approved craft beer bar.
Several things tell you this is Germany, rather than Belgium or Wales. Spotless streets, no dog muck, and everyone wearing sensible coats (except me, it was 16 degrees).
Oh, and there’s a Woolworth. The loss of Woolies, while the Germans kept theirs, is a national disgrace.
In truth, there’s not much to Leverkusen.
But what there is is colourful and cute.
In England it would be considered as big a tourist draw as, I dunno, Nantwich.
In fact, the Japanese Gardens at Bayer is quite a big draw, but that was closed, so I had to make do with a search for weird art and Kolsch.
You’ll get the Kolsch in Part 2.
*3,357,899 to 1.