Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離: 11.8km
Average speed / 平均速度: 12.5km/h
Time on skateboard / 走行時間: 56m
Total skateboarding distance to date / 今までスケボで走った距離: 392.29km (plus 428.5km)
Total cycling distance to date / 今まで自転車で走った距離: 11,800km
The small blister that had appeared on my left heel over the last few days was alive and kicking this morning. That coupled with the fact that my body decided to go into suspend mode for the day made for a very tough day. The 11km into the center of Koln was done on sheer will power. There would be no more skating today.
I waited outside the public library until 10am when it opened, went in, found a power outlet, plugged the battery charger in to charge some batteries, grabbed a book, and promptly dozed off to sleep slumped over a desk in the study area. I was done for the day.
In an attempt to at least look as though I wasn’t just free-loading, I did manage to spend some time reading the book I had grabbed. It was ‘Animal Farm‘ by George Orwell – a piece of social commentary literature that would have meant much more to me had I known a little bit more about Soviet totalitarianism (see the Wikipedia article about the book).
By the time came when all my batteries were charged, my head was still fuzzy with fatigue and a general feeling of non-well-being. I decided to try the famed ‘sleeping in airports‘ method of accommodation by heading to the Koln/Bonn International Airport, and spending a night and day there to recouperate from whatever was ailing me. I figured that the airport would have toilets, benches to sleep on, and would be preferrable to sleeping outside.
Just so I don’t have to re-type it all, here is my review of the airport:
I was feeling a little under the weather after skateboarding more than 200km over the past four days to get to Koln along the Rhine River. I usually find some CouchSurfing.com hosts to stay with at cities, but couldn’t get a hold of any for my stay in Koln. So I decided to head to the airport to sleep for that night, the following day, and the night of the following day. It was my full intention just to recover by sleeping in the airport for two days.
The Koln/Bonn Airport Terminal 2 is new and modern with nice toilets. There is an area at the end of Terminal 2 (at the western end) behind the travel agency booths that is relatively quiet and doesn’t get much foot traffic. Only the occassional security guard or staff member.
These staff members were understanding of my need to sleep there (I did feel the need to make up a story of how I was waiting for a stand-by flight), and generally left me alone. A security guard asked to see my passport, and seeing that I was an extensive traveller, was more interested in hearing about my travels than knowing why I was there.
The announcements could get annoying if you don’t have earplugs. But with earplugs, I slept soundly in my sleeping bag on my Thermarest sleeping pad overnight, and on benches during the day.
I was able to cook pasta and other meals on my Redbull can stove outside near the taxi waiting area, and only got a few odd looks from the taxi drivers.
By the way, even though it is risky, I managed to get to and from the Koln Central train station for free on the train (15 minutes). Tickets are not regularly checked, so makes for a nice free transfer to the airport (do so at your own risk – not having a ticket and being caught incurs a 40 Euro fine).
A generally fruitful two days of resting, and doing nothing in particular. Except sleeping in a fine airport…