How I Learnt to love the Cathedrals!
Cologne too, like Paris and Vienna, has a Gothic cathedral in the town center. I’ts a beautiful soothing small place, but very historical – there are remains of Roman walls and gates still in Cologne. Neo-Roman style churches abound now. Rhine river adds to the charm. Walking in the historical town center or along the river, or taking a boat cruise on Danube is probably the best way to spend your day here.
However, I was not so lucky to spend most of my day time this way. It was more financial confusion – I tried to deal with the bank-teller here to solve my problem. The bank-teller hardly knew her stuff. That is when I could appreciate once more the wonderful thing about MIT – it’s not just a technical educational institution, it has amazingly knowledgeable, helpful and supportive staff and associated departments – in a way that can be pampering. I gave up on the bank there, called up MIT FCU, and immediately got the job done.
I stayed in a youth hostel in Cologne, and there met a Californian and an Argentinian guy, both towards the end of their n-month long travels. Both seemed very experienced in chasing girls, and were drunk enough to be eager to share their experiences. What followed was a wild night of drinking, partying, and clubbing, with me a silent passive student, watching the action, and participating as much as I need to survive.
We went to a hostel bar for the free drink for the residents. Even as we stayed on for a few drinks, there were no girls – me being guilty of scaring at least two of the few there away by trying to talk to them (not that I said anything unpleasant!) They left, I left along, the Argentinian guy went to bed because he had an interview next day, and the Californian joined me in pursuit of some nightlife, me directly, he after having some hot dogs.
After much rambling, and no success finding hot dogs or clubs, we ran into (almost literally, in my friend’s drunkenness!) four folks (two guys, two girls) wandering about looking for nightlife as well. For those who don’t already know, whenever you need a help from strangers, have a girl member in your group (if any) ask for that help. People, specially the all X-chromosome ones, are certainly more responsive to those with Y.
The club was fun, nothing architecturally amazing or gorgeous, but there were lots of people. And then, you go to clubs for people; monuments are the place to go to see architecture. People or no-people, I am, as you may have figured out so far, susceptible to losing some money and self-respect in clubs. This time, it was a bit different – I lost both not on girls but guys. No, no – I didn’t make any new discovery about my sexuality here. Instead, it was me after 2 consecutive nights of barely sleeping when asked by the folks who led us to the club for drinks – I was too tired or fatigued to smart my way out.
As I walked back to my hostel, I realized the purpose of the central cathedral in many European cities – to act as a beacon for tired travelers or drunk clubbers too jaded to look at maps on their way back home.