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Sunday Matinée: Travel Diary 28 December 2001

So the thing was, I was supposed to meet up with a few people during this stay: Birsen was travelling up from Munich, Lil was flying in from America and Elaine might or might not fly in from Malaysia – as it happened, she didn’t. There was just a teeny tiny problem … It’s all an adventure, though.

Documented in room 101 at Hotel Ibis and on a EuroLines bus.

MENSCH, what a day! I woke up at 01:10, got dressed, and went to the Haubtbahnhof. At 01:31, I get an SMS from Birsen, saying she’ll be there in 5 minutes. A train heading for Dortmund arrives at about 01:35, but no Birsen. Two more trains pass in the following half-hour, but she still wasn’t there. Then my mobile rings – I thought it would be her and it was. She had in fact been on the Dortmund train, but the doors of the train wouldn’t open, even though she tried, and then the train had started again! Next stop would be Bonn, so she had to get off there, and take another train back to Koblenz.

I went back to the hotel, and she SMS:d me to tell the next train would leave at 03:51, so she’d be in Koblenz half an hour later. I went to sleep, woke up 04:10, and repeated the procedure. When I had just come up the escalator to Gleis 3, she came walking towards me. After big hugs, we went back to the hotel, where the room was cosy and warm (unlike the corridor outside). We talked to we nearly fell asleep, eating Finn Crisp and gingerbreads, drinking that other bottle of Apfelschlore. We went to bed, woke up at 08:00, were too tired, woke up again at 08:15, and HAD to get up, since the breakfast is only served between 7 and 9 in the morning. Birsen was nearly impossible to wake up! ;c)

We had breakfast, and found out that I had been right all along. The people in the room across the hall actually were fans! I’m not sure about if they were Russian (they might have been Hungarian or something), though. At the breakfast, I told Birsen that I had heard Millane Fernandez being played in a shop I was just about to leave (the Löhr-Center the day before). When I heard “I Miss You (Dam Dubi Dam)” starting, I just had to stay for a bit longer… which lead me into buying two candles for reduced price. Anyway, when I said the name “Millane Fernandez”, the people (fans) at the other table turned around to look at us, and that kind of gave them away… plus the fact that we asked Frau Stubbe. ;c)

We checked out at 10:30, went to Ibis and asked if we could leave our bags there until Lil could come and check in later that day. Of course we could, they said, so we put our bags in a room there. Frau Stubbe had told us where Thomas house is, so we went to have a look. While we walked, I said that he has a dark-couloured Jaguar, and I also said “the registration number is KO:(ain’t tellin’ the rest)”. Then, all of a sudden, I see a bit of a car which I think looked a bit familiar… then we see it being parked, registration plates and all! We took pictures of it, and continued walking (not without speculations on where the house actually was, of course. We had been told the corner of two particular streets, but it was in fact a street corner earlier, so we were a bit confused). That was a little adventure for us!

Mum made me that hat, you know.

Since Birsen had never got a tour of the town, I gave her a small one. We went past the Eichendorff Gymnasium, kind of by accident, and I said, “Claudia or Thomas went to school here. I’m sure of it.”. I just couldn’t remember which one, but I had read that one of them had gone there. Eventually, we got to the old Rathaus (city hall), and Jesuitenkirche also got a short visit (we kind of left quickly because a bunch of people was in it). I said “…and we’re really close to Faustus now!”, and what happens? We walked like 2 more metres, and looked across the street, and there it was! “I told you we were close…!” We decided to go in and have a coffee or something because it was noon.

This restaurant no longer exists. 🙁

We sat there, Birsen with her coffee and me with my green tea (which I was really proud to have ordered in German, along with asking if the spring rolls contained meat), chatting away happily. Eventually, we got a little hungry, so we had lunch as well. Birsen ordered “chili-poppers” (8 DM – four fried pieces of chili and cheese (?) covered in breadcrumbs or something, served with a little salad, and sweet chili sauce for dipping), and I ordered “potato-wedges” (7 DM – a plate of fried potato pieces, with a slightly garlic-tasting dip-sauce. Which was funny, because we had been joking about not getting anything with garlic, because then we might scare Lil away, if we had bad breaths! And then we end up with a garlic dip… :c) We shared it all, and it was all very tasty, and not too expensive… but the chili-poppers were HOT (and then I mean spicy-hot as well as warm)! We saw a cute guy there as well; he was sitting behind me. Birsen told me (after we left) that he had looked over his shoulder to see whom we were, and when I took on my jacket, he turned around and smiled! We were thinking if we should go over and say, “Hello, where are you from?” (if you know your Thomas/Claudia-history properly, you know what I mean!), but instead we left, giggling like crazy. The time was now 13:30, so we had been at Faustus for 1½ hours!

We went to see Deutsches Eck, which was pretty much around the corner (“corner”… get it? “Eck” means corner… oh, never mind, I thought it was kind of funny anyway). After being there, we went back the same way we came, but instead of heading into Altstadt and past Faustus, we kept walking along the Moselle (Mosel, damnit), until we reached Alte Burg (the old castle). Since it was closed, we walked on, back into the shopping district, where we found a Turkish restaurant. We were still full from Faustus, so we said we’d go back there and eat dinner later that day. We walked past Vier Türmen on Löhrstrasse, and went over the street to walk outside the Löhr-Center (we weren’t very interested in going in). Since Herz-Jesu-Kirche was on the way to Haubtbahnhof, we went in there. Birsen seemed so fascinated I began to wonder if she was thinking of converting to Catholicism… ;c)

We got to the Haubtbahnhof around 15:00 (3pm) to wait for Lil, who said she’d arrive at that time, or 15:30 or so. At around 4pm, we made a sign from a McDonald’s postcard, with “LIL” written all over it (well, we didn’t know what she looked like!). Later on, “Elaine &” was added above “LIL”, and “(TAML/DBP)” added below. Still, there was no sign of our American friend.

Birsen was talking to a Turkish man who sold clocks, wallets and rings, and I guess she explained what we were doing there (they were speaking Turkish, so I can only guess. For all I know, they could have been exchanging muffin recipes!). He was very nice, and we got to buy rings for nearly half-price (we paid 10 DM instead of 19,90), and he bought us each a cup of Glühwein (although I must say I prefer the Swedish “glögg”, which is basically the same thing). For a while, he went away somewhere, and Birsen got to be a clock-seller for a while. She was quite successful, actually – she sold two of them!

While we were waiting, we met Rita from Russia, who we knew from last year. She didn’t have a hotel room, so I kind of took pity on her, and said that she probably could share the room Lil & I had reserved. Two phone calls later (“Hotel Ibis, guten Tag,” – “has Miss Fuller checked in?” – “No, she STILL hasn’t checked in.” – just to make sure there was no misunderstanding and she had in fact gone to the hotel already, but she hadn’t), we still hadn’t seen Lil. Where was she?

A few minutes before 6pm, a young woman walked up to us, and responded to our sign – Lil. Sure, other people had stopped to wonder what our card said over the hours, but none of them were called Lil. Some had even asked what it meant, and we told them “we’re waiting for a friend”. It turned out her first flight had been cancelled, so she had to get another one, which took off 15 minutes late, and in Frankfurt, she had missed the train to Koblenz by three minutes, so she had to wait for the next one to come, which took 45 minutes. We went to the hotel, checked in, and it turned out Lil actually knows Russian, so she was able to talk to Rita and be understood (unlike the rest of us).

Since Rita had been house-hunting last year, I asked if she knew which house they live in, and she did know, so because of that, we went back to where Birsen & I had seen the car earlier that day. In the place the Jaguar had been parked we saw a Mercedes (the Jaguar was across the street), but looking at the number plates, we knew the car had to belong to them as well. Cameras came up to record the cars, and while we were doing so, we hear a door open. I’m looking down at the street, because I was putting the lens cap back on my camera, and all of a sudden, I see a cute little white dog on a leash. Hang on. A cute little white dog… on THIS address? QUISCHI! Holding the leash was someone we immediately recognised: Claudia!

We were of course very excited about this, and said hello to her. She was quite surprised to hear we were from so far away, and had come to Koblenz just for the party, and she even recognised me! If I had spent the time since the last party living on the hug(s) I got from Thomas at dinner, I would surely spend the time to the next party living on the fact that Claudia recognised me! :c) Quischi refused all friendly talk and outstretched hands (everyone else was talking to Claudia, and I tried talking to the dog… what am I, weird? *chuckle*). (Oh I just thought of a really bad pun, I better not share it, it can be misunderstood.)

Claudia was very nice, and I think Lil was floating on little clouds the rest of the evening because of that. :c) She told us Thomas wouldn’t come down tonight, because they had friends over, and besides, he had a bit of a cold (so did she, so she didn’t want to get too close, to infect us… or maybe so that we wouldn’t infect her? Doesn’t matter, because we surely didn’t want her to get ill because of us!), but we said we were actually on our way to a restaurant, only we didn’t know which one, so she gave us several suggestions, such as Einstein, and “of course Faustus”! We said goodbye to her, “see you at the party”, and she said she’d tell Thomas we said hello. I asked her about who went to the Eichendorff Gymnasium, because that question had been bugging me all day and she said it was Thomas who had gone there. Yes of course, it was where he got to know Guido Karp.

Eichendorff Gymnasium

A couple of other fans had also arrived on the scene, but I think it was our little group who talked most. My camera was acting funny, but it turned out the shutter was not set on automatic, because I had unscrewed the lens earlier (for some reason), and when I had screwed it back on, it wasn’t on “A”. After thinking my camera was broke (my thoughts went something like this: “damnit, Scheisse, Donnerwetter, f***, etc.!”), I discovered what was wrong, and put the lens back on the “A”, and my camera worked again. FINALLY, I could take a picture of Frau Weidung, and also the Mercedes.

We said goodbye to Claudia, and she went on her walk with Quischi, while we were putting our cameras back in our bags, talking excitedly about our meeting. Our “adventure” of seeing the cars was quickly knocked off the throne and replaced with meeting Claudia. And all we were expecting was to see a car, and then leave! A day that had been so-so (both Birsen and Lil had been delayed in their arrival to Koblenz for various reasons, stated above, which made the day a little on the bad side; and our tour of Koblenz, which was really awesome) turned out to be magnificent after all! We walked away, after one last look at the house, and then went to look for a restaurant. Actually, I think it was when we met Claudia on her way back that she suggested restaurants, but never mind.

The four of us went to that Turkish restaurant we had discovered earlier that day, and had dinner. Afterwards, we went to a cyber café nearby, where I gave a little tour of my website (showing Rita you could actually read some of it in Russian!), and checked my email. Two of the songs I heard about the day before had been uploaded to… *looks secret all of a sudden*… some place safe, on which I exclaimed “I LOVE YOU, (Name of person who uploaded the songs)!!!” to the monitor, and also in an email to DBP and TAML, where I said a few words about having met Claudia on the street.

When we left, Birsen had to run to catch her train to Andernach (where she would sleep), and I ran with her, because her bags were in the room at the hotel. The two of us hurried there, she got her bags, and ran to the train station, and I wondered if I should wait in the room for the other two (who were walking extremely slowly! :cP ), or if I should wait outside the hotel. I went outside, sent an SMS to my mother, because my sister Anna had SMS:d me saying “they’re driving me nuts here with wondering where you are, SMS them!”. They had said I should SMS them when I got back to the hotel, and I had just got back to the hotel, so… what’s the worry? Some people are just too over-protective. You really should hear what my other sister, Maria, told me (when I got home) about our parents and what they thought about me on the day I left… but that’s another story. Oh, OK then. Well, it’s kinda funny. ;c) I hadn’t replied to my mother’s SMS, since I have the “beep once” sound, and you can’t hear it on a bus. Waiting for the bus in Köln, I had sent my father an SMS, saying it was half an hour to the bus would leave.

On the bus, around 8pm, my mobile rings (waking both the one I was sitting next to as well as me). I look at it, and it says “mother mobile” (in Swedish) on the display. I’m not answering it. I see I have got a few SMS:s, so I open them. Mum: “Where are you? Are you on the way home? Are you on the bus?” etc. My reply, angry for being brutally awoken by a call I wasn’t going to answer anyway, was “as I told dad earlier today, the bus left Köln at 17:30, and YES I’M ON IT! YOU WOKE US UP!”, and such, almost including the words “piss off!”.

Maria told me this: they had really been losing it back home. Dad: “she’s dropped her phone somewhere! She’s lost it, I’m sure!” Mum: “She’s been kidnapped! Her phone has been stolen!” and so on… Maria thought they were being silly, but they insisted on calling. She told them I wouldn’t answer, since I was out of the country, and indeed, they reached my voicemail, and soon got my angry SMS. Dad had been looking at his phone all day, waiting for an SMS, but he hadn’t checked that evening, when there actually WAS one. When they had read my angry message, he went to look at his mobile, and said something sheepishly like “oh, there’s a message from her here… ooops”. So that’s what my parents are like. *sigh*

Anyway, I sent the message to my mother (I’m back outside the hotel now), and decided to wait in the room instead, where it would be less cold. Outside the room I find Lil and Rita. I think they had been in the elevator while I was going up or down the stairs (hey, we were on the first floor!). We opened the [tricky bitch of a] door, and went inside our room.

It was already 22:30 or so, so Lil went to take a shower, and when she was finished, I jumped in as well (my thesis was correct – both the hot and cold water worked!), and then we went to bed – a big, fancy double bed. Lil and I talked while Rita was in the bathroom, where she remained halfway through the night, preparing herself for the party. Then, tired as we were, we stopped talking, and fell asleep. Rita remained in the bathroom for yet another hour or so.

You think “halfway through the night” was an exaggeration? IT REALLY WASN’T.

In the next episode: My second fanclub party. 🙂

To be continued!


An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

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