the night before my departure was spent bike riding with elia and richard, drinking tall cans under the freeway, playing pool in downtown petaluma, and staying up far too late. in short, quintessential life activities that i will miss while i am gone, almost as much as i already miss my cats. additionally, since i am fresh off detox, i discovered i'm a bit of a lightweight drinker, which is super ftw. the next day, we went down to san francisco and met up with steve and avi for lunch at herbivore, during which we managed to consume tons of delicious food and piss off some hippie couple with our tales of scandal.
i was dropped off at the airport an hour-and-a-half before my flight, and travel was mostly smooth (excepting the maze that is lax and confusion over boarding flights in munich). my international flight was not fully booked so the accommodations were relaxing. my vegan meals were awesome, and i drank a ton of orange juice on the airplane (something like a glass every 20-30 minutes), but unfortunately, i did not sleep well and actually had an adverse reaction of sorts (meaning i got airsick after breakfast) to the codeine i had taken to induce sleep. other than that though, i arrived alive and on-time last night, between 830 and 900.
unfortunately, somewhere between los angeles and munich, or perhaps between munich and cologne, my suitcase was misplaced. when it didn't come through the baggage claim area, i spoke to the baggage attendant (who in turn, did not speak much english, leaving me feeling slightly helpless) and he instructed me to go to lost and found. luckily i had johannes with me to do the talking, since my german skills are severely lacking (and by that i mean i can say "thank you" "goodbye" "do you speak german?" "cinnamon" "junkhead" and "i am from california"). a claim was filed, i was given an emergency overnight kit of essentials, and will hear from the airline when (not if, right j?) my bag is found. seriously, fml. in the meantime, i am playing the how-many-hours-straight-can-i-wear-the-same-set-of-clothes game (and winning) and trying not to think of all the items i have potentially lost.
wardrobe malfunction aside, johannes is awesome, like seriously pretty much how i expected he would be, only with a better/cuter accent. once we dealt with the luggage debacle, we went to the train station and headed into cologne (or köln... or cöln... or koeln... or ???) which is the fourth-largest city in the country, with more than 1 million inhabitants. off the bat, it seems to be very clean and modern and safe-feeling. in short, i love it.
we got off the train in what i can only imagine is considered downtownish, and walking out of the train station were met with the sight of st. peter's cathedral, which is tallgorgeousintimidatingetcetera. the beauty of it (and the city in general) is absolutely staggering, especially coming from such a "young" country and visiting a place full of so much established history and culture, it really is kind of surreal (and by that, i mean the kind of surreal lacking any sort of negative connotation). and then, our first stop was to grab some kölsch, which is way better than the american incarnations i have tried of it.
we walked to his place, and stayed up a few hours listening to music and talking. spending time with johannes feels quite natural to me (and should, given he has been rather instrumental in my life for so many years). he gave me birthday presents (seriously, how sweet!) which includes a book about germany that i am intent on reading in its entirety in the next few days. then off to bed around 1am or 2am. i thought i would sleep super late, but ended up waking at 9am, which is good, as it appears i don't seem to be affected all that much by jet-lag.
i updated my journal over a breakfast of müsli, coffee and orange juice. and now we are off to walk about town and perhaps visit some museums and such.