Day to Day

Day 5: Rest Day 1 in Cologne…taking phone calls from newspapers and on the hunt for cleats…🇩🇪

Last night I ended my evening with my favourite pub quiz! Quarantine quiz number god-knows-how-many was, as always, excellent. Big shoutout to James and Jenny for Thursday night entertainment. It was fun to join from Germany and play along with M and FF and team mascot, Pooh, back at home. Same time next week?!

Pub quiz friends 🙌🏻

Despite being in a relatively comfy bed, I couldn’t sleep again last night. It’s very strange – you would think with all this exercise I would be out like a light. I suppose I did have my impromptu nap earlier in the day…

Thankfully, there was no 05:20 alarm today so I slept in until about 09:00. It was just what I needed. I started the day by taking a phone call from my local newspaper at home! I spoke to Laura, a lovely reporter from The Doncaster Free Press, who has written up an article in next to no time. I’ll insert a link Here if you want to go and check it out.

After a leisurely start, I headed out into Cologne on the hunt for some breakfast. Wherever I go I do a lot of research on the best places to eat. I started walking to my chosen breakfast spot but then stopped myself and thought; “this is a rest day – take the metro” so I bought myself a 24 hour ticket and headed underground.

I emerged ten minutes later, found the cafe I had eyed up on Instagram and proceeded to order two breakfasts. The waitress did enquire as to whether I was waiting for someone else and I don’t think she believed I was going to eat it all. I proved her wrong, I did.

Then I set about tackling the main mission of the day: find some new cleats for the shoes. Easier said than done, my friends. What is a very standard part in the UK is apparently gold dust in Cologne. Who knew? Not me, so as I merrily trotted off to my first bike shop I thought it would be easy, in and out, cleats in hand.

“Nein” was the response I received when showing the shop owner the underside of my shoe. Hmm ok, well that’s only the first shop let’s see what the next one says.

“Nein, we do not sell them here” was the next response from another bike shop down the road. Ok…this is proving harder than I thought. However this time, the owner helpfully pointed me in the direction of another shop.

Shop number 3 looked promising. But again, same response. I was beginning to get a little panicky. It was early afternoon and I was running around all of Cologne when I really should have been resting. Again, I was pointed towards another shop. This time it was a big, multi-floored outdoor adventure shop. This was going to be the one, I knew it.

The ground floor was unsuccessful, just tents and camping equipment but on inspection of the floor signs I saw “radfahren”. Now, I don’t remember much from my Year 7 German lessons apart from “in meinum etui habe ich ein gummi” (which roughly translates as “in my pencil case I have a rubber” highly useful, I know. But I also remember “radfahren” was something to do with cycling. The astute amongst you will be thinking a) why didn’t you ask someone or b) google translate is a thing. Anyway, I raced up the stairs (quads on fire here) and found the cycling section. Bingo. Thank god for that. I then did proceed to ask a lady where I could find the cleats, “NEIN” was her response. What?! How is this possible. Such a simple part, but nobody has it!

I mean by this time, I had forgotten what shop number this was, what time it was and whether I’d eaten enough. I was annoyed that my rest day had turned into a golden goose hunt. Anyway, we ploughed on and tried another shop. This one was a longer metro ride so I gave them a call first. A really helpful guy answered: “ya, we have the black ones or silver ones”. I was actually after the yellow ones but hey ho, is there much difference? Who knows!

On the back of this good news, I facemasked up and hopped on the metro again, all fingers and toes crossed. “Hi, I called about the cleats” I said on entering. “Ya, here they are; the black or silver” and just as he said this I spotted two pairs of yellow ones!! “They’re the ones!!” “I’ll take them both!!” I could see he was very confused as to why I was so excited over these but he was also very pleased that he seemed to be the man with the golden ticket! “Great news, ya?!” Great news indeed, my friend.

I explained my situation and how it had taken me 5 or 6 shops to find them. To which he explained that for some reason, they have an 8 week lead time on them so he wasn’t surprised I couldn’t find them elsewhere. As I left he literally sat down at his computer to order some more, as I had cleared him of his stock. What a relief.

My hero

I stopped to pick up a chocolate chip cookie in celebration and headed back into town to check out the Cathedral. I don’t really rate Cologne as a city. It’s kind of an uglier version of Manchester but the cathedral is very impressive. I do have a thing for churches and cathedrals so I did have a bit of a moment sat in the pews. It’s pretty incredible to think that people built this. They also built it hundreds of years ago when the machinery we have today just didn’t exist. It must have been such hard work.

My photo really doesn’t do it justice

By mid afternoon I knew it was time to stock up on food and head back to the hotel for an afternoon in my pyjamas, on my bed.

An evening of admin ensues; check the route for tomorrow, eat some tea, fix my new cleats and pack up Bikey ready for the next stage down the Rhein to Koblenz…

P.S. more prayers for the weather gods please – it’s looking like rain tomorrow.

Mask life in Germany

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