So, having rolled into Cologne about dinnertime, I checked into the hotel, tiny room and the hotel is somewhat old & worn but fine for one night.
I go for a quick wander around the city hunting down some drinking water, it seems quite nice – small paved streets, mostly traffic free, and lots of nice old-style lanterns on the walls & lampposts.
I even ran into a Ukranian guy playing the Hang, a melodic instrument shaped like an old kiwi round BBQ (the old charcoal ones that never worked very well!) that produces a lovely gentle lilting sound. Mog and Nic and I once saw one being played on Cuba St in Wellington one day, but they're still quite rare – this guy was quite surprised I knew what it was. I stood and listened for a little while, then happy and travel-buzzed I headed back to the hotel.
Then, about 4am, I suddenly woke up and started vomiting.
Then, I discovered the plumbing in my loo wasn't working.
The rest of the night was… unpleasant. I'll spare you the details :).
Anyway, so I'm nearly 20000km from home, sick, in a shitty hotel, and I'm supposed to be getting on a prepaid train to Berlin that afternoon.
I called up the travel insurance people but they didn't have anything magic to offer – they pay for cancellations, and will coordinate medical treatment if you need them to (eg. if you go into a hospital), but that's not hugely helpful to my kinda situation – I still have to either find and see a doctor, find a hotel for the night (sure wasn't going to stay in that one), and pay for the latter – which is going to hurt; or, get myself well enough to go on the train to Berlin where I can hide out in the hotel recovering for a couple of days.
I was feeling pretty borderline that morning but I realised that either option was going to involve as much organising and hassle (pack up stuff, deal with transport, check in), so I decided to punt – keep my options open and see how I went.
So thankfully, while I felt terrible, I wasn't barfing or anything by this point – I was improving rapidly – so I went out and walked around looking for the necessary supplies.
I needed some carbos so I could take my bag onto & off the train without running out of blood sugar and B vitamins to help manage the remaining nausea, and it had to be edible despite me feeling pretty yuck, so it was clear that bananas were, as always in life, the number one priority.
Where do you buy bananas in Cologne? I had no idea. A bit of walking around following the streams of locals (backtracking with GPS goodness) finally lead me to a street with fruit stands. Yay!
I felt absurdly pleased with myself when I managed to find, procure, and eat a banana despite the circumstances :).
From then on, it was like a Sierra game – find the banana stall, play the German language minigame to buy a banana, eat the banana, find some water, buy some water… and so on until I arrived, tired but feeling less sick in Berlin and checked into my cheap-but-fine hotel there.