Month: March 2018

Story Time

Day 209: A gay bar tour of cologne (Warning: nsfw text content)

On easter weekend I went out drinking with Tom, one of the long term residents at Smarty Hostel.

It was my last night with Magdelena as well, a girl from South Africa that I had met a few nights before in my dorm. We had really hit it off, having some very interesting conversations and becoming fast friends. She had actually already gone up to bed as she had plans for the next day but somehow, when I went up to get changed, I managed to convince her to change out of her jim jams, put mascara on and come out for a few drinks.

Tom took us on a tour of his favourite gay bars of Cologne. Starting at ExCorner which was decorated with lots of detail for easter. It has astroturf all over the roof and bunnies and eggs everywhere. I got my bum squeezed while I was in there. Moving on to Shampanja next, it was literally around the corner. It was a small place and there wasn’t really much of a vibe there that night, we had one drink and hot-stepped across town to the final pre-club bar called Barcelon.

This was not technically a gay bar I don’t think but I did get talking to a guy at the bar as I was having trouble translating the ingredients in each of the cocktails available. Tom was busy chatting to the barmaid as this was one of his regular spots.

Not that many photos but I did get some snaps which are below!

Luckily Magdalena had to go home after these starter bars, because Tom then took me to a gay nightclub called Pullermanns. I was told this is a polite way to say penis in German. I say lucky because it was a men’s only club and they wouldn’t have let her in if she had stayed in our entourage.

I won’t go into too much detail of my experiences in this establishment other than to say upon arrival the man who was running the coat check and tending bar (and actually the owner of the club) was stood there totally naked. We were issued our drinks cards and in we went. Tom explained to me that there was three areas for the club. The drinking area, the toilet area and the cruising area.

The cruising area was, to put it mildly, an all out sex-fest. There was a small maze full of little cubical sized rooms with various doors and viewing spots. Inside these cubicles are a range of interesting sights to behold, including sex swings, bondage clad gentleman and even two blokes going at each other with a small group of additional men just enjoying the show.

I was under Tom’s protection that night so I just did a walk through and then he ushered me back out into the normal drinking area. After that experience it didn’t seem so shocking to spend the rest of the evening drinking and talking while various naked men stood around the room casually sipping on their beers like clothes had never been invented.

I don’t know exactly what my reaction was to the evening. I think it was definitely one of respect. Even though it’s not something that tempts me sexually, I was absolutely into the underlying ideas behind such a place. I have been thrown out of bars before just for rowdily picking up a friend and hugging him. It was refreshing to see a place where people come together and are treated as adults. People who can set their own boundaries without having their hands held and having to be policed and dictated too. Everyone was friendly and I didn’t see any negativity within those walls.

It’s particular flavour is maybe not for everyone but it was a microcosm of an intentionally formed society that the rest of us could learn from.

Touristic

Day 203: The stumbling stones of Cologne

From day one of my time here in Cologne my eye was drawn to these small brass squares that were dotted around the pavements of the streets.

At first, I was unaware of what they were until I recognized the word “holocaust” and a picture began to form of what I had been looking at.

If you have been around many countries in Europe then this might be old news to you. It turns out they have a name, Stolperstein (Wikipedia link), and there are over 67,000 of them installed in 22 countries.

The name translates to stumbling stone and they are the brainchild of a German artist, Gunter Demnig, who started installing them in 1992.

Its hard to internalize the many horrors of the past, but these small squares are a simple reminder of the individuals involved on a person by person basis.

Daily Life

Day 200: Celebrating my 200th day of being a digital nomad

Today is 200 days since I got on the plane to Bangkok and became a digital nomad.

Some of you may cry foul as I spent about 60 of these days in my hometown, but even digital nomads need their mummies every now and then.

I lived out of a suitcase and worked from a laptop the whole time, so really, why are you picking a fight with me?

For those that don’t know me yet, I actually did “100 days of digital nomad – an experiment in lifestyle design” which kicked this all off. It was originally a way to semi-commit to this new lifestyle and work up the courage to book a one-way solo flight in the first place. After the first 100 days, I was then convinced it was for me. I went back home, moved out of my house, got rid of a large number of my belongings and now I’m a legitimate full-time digital nomad.

Daily Life

Day 200: Kommitted to kumpir

I am choosing to celebrate this full card. I set a goal and I worked towards it.

It does mean I have spent over 70 EUR on baked potatoes since I arrived in Cologne though 🙄🤭

They are just so tastyyyyy!

I actually had already been there about 4 times before I noticed the card and realised I was going to be a regular so if I’m honest I would say this has been a 100 EUR addiction since I arrived. They do other stuff as well like huge salad bowls and dirty burgers (for my world-wide friends a dirty burger is a good thing).

Daily Life

Day 200: Zimmermanns – Burgers that are so good…

Hahaha.

I walked past this burger joint called Zimmermans yesterday and managed to translate part of the sign in my head. After I went trundling past it again today with my suitcase I decided to treat myself to a burger for brunch.

I just translated the sign with Google Translate:

“Burgers that are so good that it does not matter what’s on the sign outside”

Digital Nomad

Day 195: Making a NumLock-locker

Geek Happiness Level: 100%

For the last 195 days I have been catching the num lock key all the time when I am typing. There is no light on it so I never knew if the numpad would be numbers or arrows when I pressed it. Annoying.

After some searching I finally found SharpKeys which lets you remap keys on your keyboard. So I have set num lock to always-on at boot and then disabled that key totally.

Now I can press it and know it will be numbers – like any sane person would want.

Download it here:

Fitness

Day 195: Jogging in Hiroshima-Nagasaki park

Managed to get my first jogging session in for Germany today. I looked on the map and found a nice green space not too far away from my hostel called Hiroshima-Nagasaki park.

What I didn’t realise was that I was walking straight through the middle of some kind of college area as there were about 30-50 youths all stood around on the streets. I was dressed all in blue thinking I was fly but the temperature was most definitely not t-shirt and shorts weather so I had all eyes on me as I strutted down the street 😛

I haven’t been jogging for almost a month so I took a leisurely pace:

In the middle of the park was a large square man-made lake which served as a focal point for the joggers; I passed several of them going different directions in laps around it. There was even a really old silver-topped gentlemen bombing around the place and a sweet old lady with two hiking sticks getting her power walk on.

The place is right next to some busy streets and you can see the traffic but its set back enough to give you a feeling of being in nature. The circuit around the lake is flat ground but there is a bit of a hill if you go end to end of the park.

There was a lot of ducks napping by the edges of the lake. They ignored me as I jogged by each time so after I had done my 5k I slowly walked around and tried to take some photos. The duck got wise to me:

 

The geese didn’t really care and actually just walked in front of me several times.

After I had finished I stopped to get catch my breath and a snap a few shots, my favourite one is the little ramp they built for the ducklings to be able to get in and out of the lake 😀

Story Time

Day 191: My first digital nomad enemy

Made my first digital nomad enemy… Haha. Sorry Alison!

This hostel you just get assigned a room and pick your bed when you get there. The whole room was fresh when I got here, all beds unmade, no names on the beds, no personal belongings, no locks on any lockers, no luggage underneath.

I can only assume she is travelling light and the cleaning staff got confused and reset the whole room because when I arrived this was a clean, fresh, available bed. Obviously, when she left his morning it was hers but she left no trace behind.

Hope she doesn’t murder me in my sleep…  🗡😴

It took me a long time to figure out what was going on with the angry face. If you tilt your head to the left its an angry monster, but if you tilt it to the right it looks more like one of the kids out of Ducktales.

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