Yesterday, Kori and I decided to do some laundry in Bonn (the closest laundromat). We caught the tram around noon and we were pretty proud of our timing because the tram we needed pulled up just as we approached the platform. We boarded and looked around. Our fellow passengers were numerous and between the ages of 14 and 18. They were decked out in Gothic styled clothing and they were all half drunk. There were about 25 in all. Kori and I make eye contact, “NICE!!” we communicate silently. We are both BIG fans of new euro experiences. As the tram takes off so does the noise level in the car. What appear to be the ring leaders are five or six boys standing in a circle yelling chants that the rest of the car joins in on; call and response type chants. They were passing around a keg and the whole car smelt of alcohol. When they all got off a few stops later (that’s a lie…it was more than a few) they left behind beer spilled all over the floor, bottles and trash galore. It was insane.
Then we found the laundromat that was disguised as a coffee shop dropped off our laundry and went to go find some food. Because we’d slept late we hadn’t eaten yet. The place we stopped at served breakfast till 3…NICE! I ordered the “American Breakfast” and got fried eggs, a muffin, bacon and sausage…as well as a random side of guacamole.
After this we went shopping, which included walking around a lot of stores and trying on a lot of clothes. We had a blast.
We came back to pick up our laundry four hours later and it had only just come out of the dryer (again with that perfect timing). We did a quick fold, stuffed it back in our bags, and headed to get a coke. Then we went to the train station and laughed. The next train to Bad Honnef arrived in 7 minutes: PERFECT TIMING. We sat down with a few other people (a nice-looking kid with a backpack, a family with several daughters, and a couple that just got done shopping) prepared to wait just a hot minute for it to show up…then it did and the sight that met our eyes was enough to put us back in our seats: The train was jammed. And I don’t even mean standing room only; I mean windows fogging up because of the body heat, bodies slammed against every window and door, and security guards standing around to make no one else tried to board the train. It was bizarre. We looked at each other and made the only choice we could: we’d wait for the next one, thanks.
So we did…for 20 minutes. The kid with the back-pack kept looking at his watch. We kept laughing at that one train that was so packed. And then came another one, just like the other one. You may laugh because that rhymed…but we REALLY laughed because it was true. The second one was just as packed if not more so. This time when the doors opened to let people in, the people being pressed against them fell out and had to push to get their place back. At one point Kori told me we would just punch our way on to the train and though the kid with the back-pack didn’t appear to understand us, he laughed when he saw her put her fists up. “Is this normal?” we asked. “No, it is very unusual,” he replied. We had a new friend. Just then, his phone rang and we heard urgent German and saw another frantic glance at his watch. We later discerned that this was his mother wondering where he was…
Six trains and two hours later we were still sitting in the train station in Bonn with the kid with the back-pack waiting for a train. At this point we decided to skip trying to get on a Bad Honnef train and just try to catch ANY Line 66 that came by with enough room to squeeze on three people (Kori and I had decided that we weren’t leaving the kid with the back-pack behind). We figured if we caught a Ramserdorf train and rode it to the end of the line and then caught a Bad Honnef from there we might have a better chance of getting home within the next month. With this new goal in mind ran to the doors of the already almost full Ramserdorf train that came and Kori and I shoved our way on. I turned around and the kid with the back-pack was backing away and shaking his head. “Come on!” I yelled, “There’s room!” He grinned and jumped in just as the doors shut on his backpack. We were off.
A few stops down, the train completely emptied and we realized that there was some sort of concert/festival going on right outside of Bonn and that’s why every train going that way was slammed. We got off at the last stop and ended up having to catch a train to Obercassel just a couple stops down before finding an empty Bad Honnef train. At each connecting train stop, the kid with the backpack always made sure we knew which one to catch next and stuck with us whenever we encountered sketch characters on the trains. “We’re here for another month,” Kori told him.” Maybe we’ll see you again!” He smiled and nodded. When we boarded the last one, our friend asked where we were getting off. We told him Konigswinter. “Where do you get off?” “Here,” he said and waved goodbye. I may never see him again, but I’ll never forget the kid with the backpack.
We finally made it back to Konigswinter around 8, grabbed some dinner and spent the rest of the night remembering our crazy day.