A Weekend in Cologne

Last weekend I spent two days in Cologne. We'll just cut to the good parts.

A boat trip down the Rhine.
A hair cut in a hip part of town.
A self-guided Kolsch tasting involving 7 different Kolsch breweries.
A rainstorm that began as soon as I had snuggled into my comfy bed.
Museum Ludwig and lots of feeling of feelings.
A magic sauna man and his magic sauna land.

Less abbreviated:

For some reason my experience in Cologne was that all of the women were exceedingly friendly, even motherly. Perhaps they thought my accent was charming, but they all spoke to me in the kindest (read: simplest) German and smiled so wide every time I made a request and thanked me for coming and wished me a good day and what friendly people there are in Cologne!

Except for the men. The men all seemed old and crotchety and they made German sound even more harsh by scowling at me as they said "Ich bin kein du" (a very crotchety way of saying I should have used the formal "you" instead of the informal). The men should all quit and leave it to the women.

EXCEPT FOR THE SAUNAMEISTER! The Saunameister is, I'm quite certain, from another land all together. Let me tell about him.

If I were to write a Missed Connections ad for the Saunameister it would go like this:

Me - Don't know the German word for "towel." Also, don't know I'm supposed to bring my own towels to the sauna.

You - Incredible ability to interpret insane hand gestures into the word "towel." You give me not one, not two, but three towels. You gesture to a room and I'm not sure this is a direct translation because you spoke quickly, but what I heard was "In four minutes very magical things will happen over there. You should go there."

Me - I will do anything you say. I am forever indebted to you because of these towels.

You - You enter the steamy room of naked people and you place two snowballs on the hot rocks and you pour what I think you said was black johanisberry tea over it and then you wave your towel around in the air AND OH MY GOD WHERE DID YOU LEARN MAGIC?

Okay, perhaps it is misleading to put this in the form of a Missed Connections ad because this wasn't a romantic connection it all. It's just, if you met someone who knew magic, you would want to spend some more time with them right?

I've only been to saunas a few times, and as you can gather, this was by far my best experience. There were so many steam rooms, so many "ruhe" rooms. There was a pond and a garden outside where you could walk around naked as mist fell on your steamy body.

I'm not sure my body has ever felt better in my entire life.

The best part? I came back to Berlin and described this experience to Verena, the mother, and she informs me that this is "ganz normal." All the saunas are like this in Germany.

So fuck my upholstery internship, I'm going to spend my free time going to every German sauna I can get to.

That was Cologne.


(that's what they call me here)

P.S. - I am actually still working on some kind of upholstery internship. It isn't so easy. The Germans are very suspicious of people who want to work for free.