It was a whirlwind day. As I lay down I swore that the first thing I’d do on Monday was go get some bicycles. You can’t do a proper bicycle trip without at least one.
In fact I had come close to getting a bike. My dear friend Frau G. had picked us up from the hotel in Troisdorf. “Where are your bicycles?” She asked. It was a reasonable question since I had told her that Woodrow and I were going on a bicycle trip.
“We don’t have any bicycles yet,” I said, “but we will soon.”
“Okay,” she said. “Shall we go do a boat tour along the Rhine first?”
I briefly considered the bike shopping option with its salesmen and ridiculous pricing and silly negotiating and decided instead to opt for the river cruise with its sunshine and recorded soundtrack about the history of Cologne and its tasty coffee and good German wurst and a few hours on the deck reminiscing with Frau G., who had worked in my office while I was interning in the Bundestag in 89-90.
It was a quick and easy decision.
After the river cruise we toured the cathedral and learned about the marketing scam that built Cologne a thousand years ago. Apparently a German beat some Italians in Milan (this was before Erik Zabel) and he stole the bones of one of the three kings who had come to visit the Baby Jesus.
They set up a bone praying church around the relics in Cologne and later spent 800 years building the cathedral to which millions flocked and donated money.
I think that’s it, anyway. Bottom line: nothing sells like Baby Jesus.
Later we went to eat at a secluded spot overlooking the Rhine and very far from anything resembling a bike shop. Then we came back to Frau G.’s where I ate chocolate and ice cream and had coffee to go along with the cake and coffee I’d had with lunch, which in turn had topped off the cheesecake and coffee snack we’d had at the cathedral after the ice cream and coffee snack I’d had on the river cruise.
One thing was now certain. I needed a bike not only to do our bike tour but also in order for me to fit back into my only pair of long pants.