Midway through the bleak darkness of a Danish winter break (it took me about two weeks of the four months), opportunities to make use of the fact that Ryanair flights within Northern Europe in January and February are dirt cheap and that not all countries decide that four months without football is a feasible concept spring to mind. (I clearly have not mastered the use of commas after that mouthful).
Spot the goat
“Cologne”, I say on a Tuesday evening in December.
“Umm”, says Gy used to me blurting out the names of towns with rhyme or reason (apart from the Gothenburg, Hamburg, Flensburg rap that I once came out with – that had rhyme)
“It costs EUR 20 return.”
So with that flights were booked to what I did not know was about to become the sex capital of Europe. (I am so sorry. One should make light of mass sexual assault which epitomises an issue which will embrace us all and our children for years to come, but it is just so easy and I am a man who lacks the wit to find amusement in less abrasive subjects).
Fortunately, before booking aforementioned flights I had checked the Bundesliga fixtures to note that Køln were playing at home and a quick Youtube to Gy that Køln’s mascot was a live goat and we were sorted. January away days to Køln to satiate my apparent lust for live football (or live goats).
When we arrived in Køln, it was raining as we ran the sexual gauntlet from the station to town centre. Fortunately, the police clearly noted the desire that I arouse in men of a certain type and were happy to escort me on my way (all made up). It turns out that Køln, despite the slightly absurd cathedral is much like Coventry (or at least who I would perceive Coventry if I had ever visited, although I do know about an arguably absurd cathedral there too). Lots of buildings built in the 70s penned in by some dual carriageways. It was drizzling as well. As you all know, drizzle is my favourite weather. Its melancholic wetness has a fundamental appeal to my inner nature. Gy on the other hand does not like drizzle. She also does not like Coventry (or at least I cannot imagine that she would like Coventry after her words upon visiting Birmingham). So here we are in a German Coventry being watched over by the German police in case we are both molested in places noone wants to be molested (again Coventry). It is at times like these when Gy becomes noisy and restless. Normally I placate her with a banana (absolutely not a euphemism given the gravity of the situation), but I had forgotten to bring any bananas (ditto). Then a light shone down upon us and drew us into Buddah’s Eye. What sounds like a disgusting sexual act discovered at the age of 14 that continues to repulse into middle age was actually nothing more than a Nepalese restaurant. Nothing placates Gy more than a banana than a never tried exotic cuisine. It turns out Nepalese food is just curry with spicy spaghetti and a weird and potent rice beer. Then we went to bed. We had bunk beds (it turns out Køln is very expensive for accommodation).
Big church = Cathedral
The next day I awoke with a spring in my step for it was matchday. The only small problem is that we did not have any tickets (a minor oversight on my behalf). Vacillating as I do between shit football and shit football, the prospect of a sold out game was unusual, but as it turned out a distinct possibility. The Bundesliga is very much a different league to either Nemzeti Bajnoksag I or the Danske 3rd Division League 2 (or whatever it is called). A quick visit to the ticket office opposite the cathedral revealed that the game was indeed sold out, but there may be tickets available at the stadium. Wonderful! A speculative walk to a stadium six kilometres away. So off we set. I gave Gy a distance of four kilometres. It is best to underestimate and then distract her with my witty conversation and shops. We ran out of shops after two kilometres and my witty conversation someway before then. After a few more kilometres, I was regretting not carrying my emergency banana (again really not a euphemism). If anyone is going to take their girlfriend/fiancée/wife on a walk to the Rhein-Energie Stadium take bananas.
We made it eventually (thank you middle class supermarket with selection of baked goods and German IPA – you saved us both). For the second stadium in a row in Germany, we were treated to a lovely forest walk. It was romantic and provided ample occasion to release aforementioned IPA. What was more romantic was the fact that we got the last two tickets (priced at EUR 39 and located in a specific sector and onsale at that ticket office). I could have cried. I did cry when I found some beer (I do not understand the meaning of the verb to cry).
A quick lap of the stadium. It combines modern football stadium with functional, minimal design (basically there are no walls).
It turned out that we had bought tickets in the ‘away friendly’ section, which for obvious reasons doubled up as a totally away section. I armed myself with a chant or two (Vay-Efff-Booooow), pretended I drove a Mercedes to work in downtown Stuttgart everyday and sent Gy to buy me some beer (I am ashamed to say this last part is true L ).
Thanks for the beer Gy.
In terms of the game, it was good. Køln scored a very soft penalty. VFB equalised before half-time before nicking two in the second half to win a game belying their league position. One of the goals was scored by Artem Kravets, who I have a feeling was a Football Manager wonderkid a few years ago. The third goal was met by a shower of beer. I am indifferent to beer showers. I resent the waste of beer, but respect the joy that can lead to the sacrifice. Two girls sat in front of us got a couple of pints in the face. Tehe.
Its like Christmas. Except with a goat.
My football lust was satisfied for now. Football in January seems like a dirty pleasure these days.
Two last comments to draw to a close my first 2016 post and a post that was intended to pay homage to the original purpose of TimmyBacsi, a diarized Travelogue-
1) Kolsch is a beer from Køln that comes in very small glasses (0.2ml). If you buy from a can or bottle, it just tastes like lager.
2) If you buy from a brauhaus, it is somehow better than a lager. Sweeter and less gaseous. I recommend, Sion Braueri somewhere near the centre.
So that is the beginning of 2016, a year that promises much and will inevitably deliver very little (football wise and quality of my posts wise).
I hope that TimmyBacsi can bring you a little joy with such highlights as the Danish Cup, Jutland, a smattering of Hungarian football, the opening of the WizzAir stadium and a honeymoon designed to enable me to see stadiums afar (hopefully Gy will be bored of the above and not read this far).
Let’s do this!!