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Day Two: Köln-Essen

Posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011

Dave!As I type this, it is 12:30am Saturday, January 29th in Cologne, Germany.

Since I woke up at 3:30am Thursday, January 27th in the US Pacific time zone, this means I have been awake for 37 hours straight. And yet I am still not tired. I tried to sleep on the plane, but ended up watching The Social Network again (a little more boring that the first time, but still awesome), Salt again (liked it even more the second time around), and Scott Pilgrim Saves the World again (which sucked even more the second time around, because whiny, dorky Michael Cera is NOT lady-killer slacker hero Scott Pilgrim... AT ALL. This movie could have been sheer perfection if the lead role weren't so hideously miscast).


The flight from Seattle to Amsterdam via Delta Airlines was bliss. I wasn't upgraded, but the plane was so empty that I had almost an entire row to myself, which was super-sweet. Except for the not-being-able to sleep thing, it truly was a flawless experience. As was my connection at Schiphol, as usual. Looking out the plane-window at sunrise, it was looking like a glorious day in DutchyLand...

Schiphol Airport

Except... it was freezing cold. Even after the sun was out. Much like it would be when I finally ended up in Cologne. As I landed, I noticed that Gowalla had rolled out their new flight-tracker status updates, which is wickedly cool...

Gowalla Flights Update
Not shown is my flight from Wenatchee to Seattle... probably because Wenatchee hasn't been considered an airport yet?

Anyway... after checking in at my hotel and then getting some work done, it was time to head up to Essen for some dinner with friends. While waiting at the train station, I ran across an awesome poster... I just love good advertising! That's the hugely tall Cologne Cathedral buried in snow there...

Cologne Snow Day!
"Ihr Beitrag zum klima? Mehr Bus & Bahn fahren!"

Dinner was with my fellow Hard Rock Cafe fans, Marc & Mechthild... with vegetarian pizza hand-made by Mechthild herself, which was as beautiful to look at as it was delicious...

Easily the best pizza you'll find in all of Germany. You may commence being jealous now.

But the truly unexpected surprise of the evening was the beautiful salad that was served. I still have no idea what kind of greens these were... or even if there's a US equivalent... as I had never seen them before. Marc & Mechthild called them "winter salad," as there doesn't seem to be an equivalent name for it in English (they looked!). The greens appear to be some kind of thick four-leaf clover type-thing, tasting buttery and sweet. There's absolutely no bitter notes in the flavor at all, which made the whole thing taste like frickin' candy when tossed up with a lovely vinaigrette. I shit you not, CANDY...

Mechthild's Winter Salad
If all salads tasted like this, I'd be eating a lot more fucking salads!

After-dinner conversation was all Hard Rock Cafes and world travel (two of my favorite subjects!). The time went flying by and suddenly it was 11:00 and time to take the train back to Cologne. The evening was loads of fun, despite the fact that I really should have been dead from lack of sleep. Praise be to the power of the internet for continuing to find me wonderful friends around the globe!

And now it's 12:56am here in Cologne, which means I've been awake for 37-and-a-half hours straight.

Still not tired.

I have no idea what my deal is, but I sure don't want to be around when this lack of sleep catches up to me!

Alas, I have no choice...


  1. Sybil Law says:

    If anyone needs prescription sleeping pills, it’s you!
    Have a great time – be safe!
    An find out what those greens are, please (I know, I know…)! 🙂

  2. Suebob says:

    The greens look like mache. Sometimes available in US – hie thee to a Whole Foods or to a Farmer’s Market.

    • Dave2 says:

      Perhaps if you live anywhere near civilization… but I’m stuck out in the backwaters of Washington State! According to Wikipedia, it looks like it is indeed mache! It is supposed to be simple to grow, so maybe I’ll have to give it a shot!

  3. Badger says:

    I love your travel reports. Absolutely love them. I am not much of a traveler myself, but I love reading about OTHER people doing that. I realize this makes me kind of strange, but I’m okay with it.

    Also, I will spend WAY too many hours tonight thinking about your salad and what US-equivalent greens those possibly could have been.

    • Dave2 says:

      I enjoy reading other people’s travel adventures, so I don’t find it strange at all. I have to say though… it’s a lot more fun when you’re the one doing the travel. 🙂

  4. Marc says:

    Well, the salad’s official English name seems to be Corn Salad which is one of the ones that we found. However, Winter Salad still sounds nicer… 😉

    Good to hear that you safely made your way back to Cologne. Looking forward to meeting you again, probably one fine day in Seattle…

    • Dave2 says:

      Mystery solved!

      “Like other formerly foraged greens, corn salad has many nutrients, including three times as much vitamin C as lettuce, beta-carotene, B6, B9, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids.”

      Holy crap! It’s GOOD for you too! 🙂

      Fine days in Seattle come a bit more often in the summer months, so I’ll see you in June!

  5. Hilly Sue says:

    That is a beautiful looking salad! I’d pretty much take a crappy plane ride just to chomp some of those yummy greens. 🙂

  6. It’s been a couple of years (jeez, over 3!) but I’ve never had a bad experience at Schiphol. It’s always easy to get through and a comfy place to spend a little time if I have to.

    • Dave2 says:

      It’s just an amazing airport all the way around. Not only is it a pleasant place to spend a layover, it is incredibly well-connected to Europe by train! Kind of expensive, but at least they try to make it worth the cost!

  7. ssp says:

    Enjoy Köln!

    I hope you’ll find some Spritzringe again 🙂

    The salad looks like Feldsalat (Wikipedia suggests corn salad as an English name) to me.

    • Dave2 says:

      Hmmm… I wonder if its like corn seedlings then? Definitely worth checking into, as it was scary-delicious.

      And yes, I got my Spritzringe! I simply cannot visit Germany without it!

  8. Lora says:

    The greens look like mache (lamb’s lettuce) to me. You can usually find it at Whole Foods. And that would explain the name of the salad as well…Winter Lamb’s Lettuce is a darker green than the Spring version.

  9. I think I’ve mentioned it before but I routinely avoid anything that Michael Cera is in. Do not get his appeal at all. I just end up wanting to slap him. Juno was quite enough for me ;-). Oh and that Pizza looks awesome.

    • Dave2 says:

      I didn’t mind him so much in other roles, because his kind of whiny nature was appropriate for the parts he played. But this was just beyond wrong. He was obviously cast for whatever commercial cred he has as opposed to him being right for the part. It was so very, very, sad, because I thought every backing character was brilliantly cast.

      As a big fan of the comic, I really wish I could have gotten past Michael Cera being Michael Cera instead of Scott Pilgrim, but I just couldn’t. The entire film was ruined for me.

  10. the muskrat says:

    I need to visit Germany sometime (besides the airport and Air Force base). It’s the place of my people.

    • Dave2 says:

      Germany is a wonderful, wonderful country. I’ve been here many times and have loved every minute of it. Cologne is one of my favorite areas… probably because I’ve been here so many times… but all of Germany is worth a visit really.

  11. As a lover of most salads, I wouldn’t mind trying one that tasted like candy.

    That pizza looks so good.

    The photo of that cathedral buried in snow looks insane. Reminds me of those pics from Japan where there are walls and walls of snow while driving.

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