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Day Eight: Cologne, Germany

Posted on Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Dave!So here I am in Germany again, awaiting my flight back to the USA tomorrow morning. It's a bit sad, because there always seems to be a dozen things that I would like to do in Europe every time I'm getting ready to leave it.

Though there is one thing that I will not mind leaving behind... the smoking. There's really no way to escape it and, since it seems like 99% of the people here love their cigarettes, there's not much that can be done about it. Sure many restaurants offer up a "no smoking section," but it's in name only. I can't tell you how many times I've been put in the "non-smoking section" only to have people light up at the very next table. Even at the Hard Rock, it turns out the "non-smoking section" usually ends up being just a few tables immediately next to the smoking area (which, let's be honest, is the entire restaurant).

An even better example could be found as I was waiting for my flight this morning. There I was sitting in Lisbon's airport which has signs posted saying "Lisbon Airport is Non-Smoking." But there are "smoker's kiosks" everywhere, and all the cafes and bars allow you to light up. Non of these areas are segregated or ventilated in any way, so this self-proclaimed "non-smoking airport" is filled with smoke...


By the time I boarded my flight, my clothes reeked of cigarettes so badly that you would think I had just smoked a pack prior to hopping on the plane. It's one thing to go to a bar where you are expecting people to smoke... but it always bothers me to be eating cigarette smoke with my meal or having to sit in a cloud of it while being held captive at the airport. It's been 15 years since I've smoked a cigarette... maybe I should start up again so it won't bother me so much next time?

Speaking of being held hostage...

Here at my hotel, I have three choices for internet access...

  • 1/2 Hour for €4.50 ($5.80) - Usable ONLY in the hotel lobby, bandwidth limit of 50 megs.
  • 2 Hours for €9.50 ($12.30) - Usable ONLY in the hotel lobby, bandwidth limit of 150 megs.
  • 24 Hours for €29.00 ($37.50) - Useable anywhere, non-transferrable, bandwidth limit of 400 megs.

WTF?!? To use the internet in the comfort of your own hotel room, it's a minimum of $37.50. That's THIRTY-SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS!! Holy shit! I could probably take a taxi into Cologne and get blown for that! It amazes me that Europe has such astoundingly high access fees AND puts limits on your bandwidth (as opposed to back home where many hotels offer free internet with no limits). I guess I won't be downloading any new television shows for the flight.

Oh well... my television here gets Comedy Central TV, so I'm going to watch Pamela Anderson in an episode of Stacked. Believe it or not, she's actually funny when dubbed in German.

Probably because I can't understand a word she's saying.

Bleh. I am not looking forward to a 9 hour flight, followed by an hour layover, followed by a 6 hour flight, followed by a 4 hour layover, followed by a 45 minute flight. That's almost 21 hours of total travel torture. When are we going to be able to beam ourselves from one place to another like on Star Trek?

Categories: Travel 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. ms. sizzle says:

    coming from california, i’ve had trouble adjusting to the smoking just here in washington. so many people smoke! and i keep thinking? um, have you not heard the news? that shit is BAD for you (and all of us!). it’s only 4 years since i quit but i am SO glad i did. i can’t imagine being trapped in an airport with it. at least they don’t let them smoke on the 9 hour flight. good lord.

    that’s a lot of travel time. hope it isn’t too awful.

  2. Avitable says:

    My wife had to dry clean everything she brought with her to Paris because it smelled so badly of smoke.

  3. Dave2 says:

    Ms. Sizzle… The problem is that I will probably end up sitting next to somebody who smoked a pack five minutes before boarding the plane. Not only will they stink horribly, but they’ll be irritable the entire 9 hours because they can’t smoke. Fun.

    Avitable… That’s the horrible thing… the smoke is EVERYWHERE. I am sitting here in my NON-SMOKING hotel room which REEKS of smoke. Seriously, it smells like a tavern in here, the smoke is so bad. I can only guess that there room underneath me has twenty people in it smoking like chimneys. Blargh.

  4. Suti says:

    I’m searching for some info from google then it links to here!, your blog. I found your blog very interesting. I like the way you tell the story, including pics and cartoon! ^^

    Anyway, i just wanna say ” cool blog! “. I like it. I went to China last october. I just read through your experience in China. Um.. >.
    It’s really nice that you have been so many places. I would wanna do that after my graduation.

    Well, nice to meet you. By the way, I’m Thai.
    Have a great life!

  5. Dave2 says:

    Thank you for the kind comments. Thailand is one of my favorite places, and I hope to be visiting there again soon! 🙂

  6. claire says:

    Ugh, I’ve never been a smoker (though my parents smoked for years- yea), and I can’t stand the smell. I hate how it not only soaks into your clothes but also your hair.

  7. Kapha says:

    Yeah, the smoking thing is evil. By the time the world goes 100% non-smoking it will be on fire from global warming.

    Can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished we lived in the Star Trek Universe (of The Next Generation or beyond – as long as the Borg were extinct). I mean…

    * Transporters
    * Warp Drive
    * Just about everything medically cured instantly
    * No need for money – everyone pursues excellence in their chosen field – greed no longer relevant
    * Lots of cool alien cultures to explore
    * Almost unlimited travel opportunities
    * Food/Clothing/Whatever Replicators (energy to matter converters)
    * Holodecks/Holosuites

    I remember Scott Adams stating in his excellent book that the Holodeck would be humankind’s very last invention. I believe there would be so much to explore beyond them, but they’d sure be nice to have around. The replicators would come in mighty handy too.

  8. Mooselet says:

    My mother smokes like the proverbial chimney. When she sends packages over I can smell that stale smoke smell on everything, including the cardboard box. It’s gross. My teenager doesn’t have a hope in hell of smoking and me not knowing about it.

    I remember a layover in Japan at Narita airport and they had smoking rooms for people – the walls were glass but you had a hard time seeing in for all the smoke!

  9. Eve says:

    I’m so used to NOT being subjected to smoke anymore, I’d be in hell in second-hand smokeland. Ack! Oh, and I like Stacked. I got the DVD for Christmas. I’m sure I’d be amused to hear it dubbed in German.

  10. kilax says:

    I can completely relate to hating all that smoke. I only packed a few sweaters and shirts on my recent trip to Copenhagen, and planned on wearing some twice. Well, all the smoke in the bars and restaurants made that impossible! They did not smell like BO but the smoke smell is impossible to get out! I tried to air them out every night, but that did not work, and my purse still reeks of smoke 🙁

  11. Laurence says:

    What ? You go back to the USA !!! Oh what a pity !!! I love so much your photos !!!

    I feel the same thing about cigarettes (but me, I have never smocked one cigarette !!! o_O Yes, it is true !!!)

    Star Trek is a dream for me too !!! (“La téléportation” is the best)
    I hope you will have nice flight… 🙂

  12. “I could probably take a taxi into Cologne and get blown for that!”

    Way to go Dave. Spat milk all over my monitor. Thanks.

  13. yellojkt says:

    I managed to avoid smoke for the most part in Paris a few years ago. Museums seemed to be pretty smoke free. Scratch Germany off my must-see list. I am a militant non-smoker.

    In Vietnam, the internet cafe across the street from our hotel charged a dollar an hour. Unlimited bandwidth (but not a very fast connection). Not a bad deal at all.

  14. The Chad says:

    Holy crap! Thats some pricey internets.

  15. Hilly says:

    I am with Sizz on this one… in California, it is awful when I have to travel anywhere else, especially the East Coast. It seems like they are much more liberal with the smokage there. When we visited Seattle, I too was wondering why the fuck everyone smoked….don’t they know that it causes cancer and smells like ass on toast?

    I had a dream about you last night….you were flying home from Europe and calling all of us on our cells to tell us about some jerkface next to you; I seriously hope that is not a prediction!

  16. Michael says:

    Hey Dave. Been lurking reading for a while, but thought I’d “de-lurk” on account of this latest post about smoking in Europe. I myself just went on a trip a few weeks ago with a professor and some college-mates to Greece, and there too they smoke everywhere (and though I didn’t actual see it, I also think they do it in the museums there, too).

    I don’t like people smoking around me, either, but decided that I had to suck it up (no pun intended), or else I’d never have fun.

    Let me just say one thing: whoever invented detergent that has nice smells should be awarded a Nobel prize or something.

  17. diane says:

    Hope you get home safe and sound Dave. It’s funny how the more you’re away from smoke, the more it bothers you when you have to be around it. I think I’d have to lug an air purifier around Europe with me. 🙂

  18. Mrs. K says:

    My in-laws in Germany all smoke. I love them dearly but it is very difficult to visit with them in their homes because of the smoking. I always travel with a small bottle of Febreze when there.

    I hope you had a nice trip home despite the time and distance.

  19. nancy says:

    I had a similar experience in Paris with smoking. Thankfully here at home it’s a non issue not permitted in any malls or restaurants. Worst case scenario is the smokers that crowd the entrance way to buildings.

  20. kazza says:

    That’s the good thing about Australia – it’s “no smoking” practically everywhere now. A lot of buildings even ban it out the front due to either the bad look of people standing around loitering, or they don’t want smoke getting into air conditioning intakes. As someone who *hates* the smell of cigarettes, this totally rocks for me 🙂

  21. Neil T. says:

    As it happens, France is moving towards a total ban on smoking in all public places, taking effect in January 2008; now you can only smoke in bars and restaurants. The UK will have a total ban in place by July 1st this year and it’s already banned in Scotland, and there are also total bans in place in Ireland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Spain.

    I echo Michael’s comment about Greeks – we have some Greek students here at my university and almost all the ones I know smoke like chimneys. Not to generalise, or anything…

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