Cologne, pt2



First day I was tired. Too hot, not enough sleep in a hotel without air-conditioning. Yet the town, especially near the water, was ok. Not the humidity you often get in Britain. Had that been so I would have truly felt unsafe to be out in the town. As it was I felt liable to some mishap. Maybe chancing a crossing, not seeing a car in time. Or more likely a bike, swerving round a corner. Something you learn to be more vigilant of in continental Europe. But funnily enough I witnessed a cyclist trying to chance a red crossing and being hooted at. And then there’s that schadenfreude and a release of tension after the shock of seeing another transgressing the seemingly orderliness of a German city, as everyone else appears to be so careful. There was one road, though, were the crossing was red but the traffic had stopped. I needed to cross but hesitated. When it turned green I started crossing, but now cars were turning towards me as if the lights were out of phase. It’s a dilemma: keep to the rules or judge safety by what is or not approaching. Generally motorists allow for this.


I stopped at Aldi for the requisite vodka. The assistant said guten targ. I always feel there’s no point greeting in the native language if you’re not able to continue in it. With his hipster beard he looked in any case like the type who could speak good English.

Anyway a sense of relief to get back safely to the hotel ready to start on the drink. Well, I was hoping for further relief that night. Before that – as it was only about 3 or 4pm local – a chance to get some sleep. Had a few units of vodka but it still took a while to drift off but was surprised to have managed almost two hours. I often find taking more than a ten minute nap in the day not the best for mental sharpness, unless – as in this case – I was feeling totally knackered and not fit to have been out anywhere. Well, I was never expecting to be mentally sharp that night, given the level of drinking I was embarking on, but there’s drunk and there’s stupidly blind drunk – and I’ve made the mistake of being the latter too many times.

This post is an extract from Sin Cities

Sin Cities (US)


Author: Aiden Rykat

I am currently working on my fifth novel, and have published one non-fiction book under a different name. My last book Sin Cities is not one I can discuss here.

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