I may have been a little hard to get in touch with on Monday morning.. Seeing as I was the last to fall asleep, I had pretty much just entered that stage of really deep sleep when the alarm went on and as such, I didn’t register it at all. I also, apparently, did not register several attempts at the hands of Tina and Dunkel to wake me up. When I finally did wake, it was to the look of slight, laughing bemusement on Dunkel’s face and a look of “You know I love you, but you also know I’m not a morning person and am about five seconds away from getting seriously pissed at you” on Tina’s.. Guess it was time for me to get up! Which I did rather reluctantly, considering that the weather hadn’t changed much. Granted it wasn’t raining, but it was still cold as hell.. And I wasn’t really looking forward to the long ride home.
But home we had to get.. One way or the other.. And so, at the bright, early hour of 6 AM, we emerged from our tent, packed whatever things we still needed to pack, brushed our teeth and then headed down to the festival shuttle bus station to catch a bus back to the fair city of Koblenz where we’d be catching our homebound train. The only downside to the grand plan was that our train home didn’t leave until a little past noon.. But given that we had non-refundable tickets and no clue as to how popular the busses home would be, we figured we’d just get underway early and then wait it out from there.. So off we went.
As we arrived at the shuttle bus station, it turned out that the busses weren’t that popular at all, not at this hour anyways (6:30 AM, go figure), so we managed to get on the very first bus out of there, a rather uneventful ordeal really. Dunkel slept, I spent my time checking out the scenery as well, poor Tina apparently suffered a bad case of motion sickness so she too tried to sleep off most of the trip.. To each their own, eh?
We arrived in Koblenz shortly before 8 AM and, despite having had a fucking blast at the festival, were all quite thrilled to see some kind of civilization again. Tina was especially pleased as one of the first things we saw were a McDonald’s that, unlike many of its European counterparts, actually served breakfast.. Something we naturally had to investigate further! Even I, who am definitely not a McDonald’s fan was pretty happy to get in there mainly because of the heat, the nice seating, the light conditions, the sense of civilization and the fact that they served coffee.. A luxury I hadn’t had for most of the festival, safe a little sip off of a cup Tina got off some vendor on Saturday or whatever day it was.. So never before had I been so happy about such a crappy breakfast.
After eating breakfast, we settled in for what was to be about a four hour wait for the train.. Or well, we almost did. First we needed a few supplies for our trip, so we kinda set up camp at the main concourse area of the train station and had tiny, mean Tina watch all of our luggage while Dunkel and I, who had been elected the most awake of the bunch, set out in search of a few snacks and foodstuffs for the long trip ahead. We ended up finding a small local discount supermarket and getting some water, apples and incredibly bad rolls which we then returned with. As we rejoined our camp, Tina took advantage of her small, compact size and curled up on a pile of our bags and what have you while Dunkel and I wiled away time answering trivia in one of his Guitar World magazines.
At 10 AM, I placed a wake up call to Lars Bo – something we’d promised the night before – just to make sure that he and Christian, too were awake and in due time for catching a bus to Koblenz. It turned out that they were not only awake but had also just arrived in Koblenz and were sitting outside in the square and enjoying the sun that had decided to pop out the exact day the festival was over. Anyways, learning of this fact, we quickly got up, stirred Tina awake and went out to join them, chatting away time for a few hours and watching the sights and sounds until the clock struck noon and we, once again, made our goodbyes with Lars Bo and Christian (who could only get a 10 PM train out – poor guys) and rushed to the platform to catch out train.
I thought being able to sit down in a train seat would be a great luxury compared to sitting on the ground, but it turned out that the seats we got stuck in were, if at all possible, even more uncomfortable than the ground we were used to sitting on.. But regardless, we were now on our way home with a five hour stretch ahead of us to Hamburg before changing trains there and then riding straight through to Kolding. We whiled away time best as we could, sleeping, reading, chatting, getting evil looks from old ladies and, once again, going sightseeing throughout the train. By now I was kinda getting used to the whole traveling across Europe thing so at least for me, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. At least we were nice and warm.
Even in Hamburg things went nice and smooth, at least if you disregard me losing track of the others on an escalator and standing there talking in Danish to the nice German lady standing behind me, thinking she was in fact Tina.. Who was standing, along with Dunkel, some 20 feet behind me.. Things didn’t really get much better when I turned back and realized the true nature of things and then loudly yelled out “Oh, there you are!”, causing about everybody within earshot to turn and look and probably think that I had severe mental issues.. But I digress, the fact of the matter is that we made it from one train to the other without too many issues and then quickly settled in to our seats for the last leg of our journey which would turn out to be a very strange and uncomfortable experience indeed.
The seating arrangements were such that every four seats on the train were grouped around a small table, two on each side. Tina and I plopped down in two seats next to each other with Dunkel on the other side of the table across from Tina. The seat next to Dunkel and across from me was empty for a while until some, shall we say rather intoxicated elderly gentleman smelling vaguely intensely of booze and vomit showed up, looked at the overhead seating numbers, looked at the empty seat, grinned to himself, patted me rather forcefully (to the point of actually hitting me) on the shoulder, and staggered off, only to return a few minutes later with a beer in each hand and an even larger smile on his face with which (and a large belch) he settled into the seat, popped open a beer, took a sip, sighed and semi-passed out..
This, in itself, would not have been too bad, had it not been for the fact that he was riding on to the end of the line which was longer than we were heading.. And that he was either a very light sleeper or just struggling hard to stay awake.. And more than borderline creepy. As such, it didn’t take him more than a few minutes to start rubbing his feet against mine and subsequently up my lower legs. As I started kicking his feet off with rather annoyed mutterings of “Ge’roff me!”, he started tossing and turning in his sleep, muttering things along the line of “Yes, sure.. I’ll be leaving now.. We’re closing.. I’ll just be getting my wellingtons!”
Again, this in itself wasn’t too bad.. The fact that he simply wouldn’t stop messing with my feet at every chance throughout the trip kinda annoyed me more.. And I was a lot more disturbed by his sudden launching into the singing of songs involving monkeys and negroes (I mean no disrespect, by the way, these were his words), only to fall back into sleep and mumbling other incoherent things.. It really was disturbing and worrying behavior, none more so than when he suddenly rose in his seat in his sleep and purred something along the lines of “Come here little girl and let me run my hands all over your sinful body till you scream with pleasure” Like.. Seriously.. Did I mention this guy was like 70? And that we actually happened to have a sweet, little girl with us? Who luckily seemed a lot less outraged, offended and upset than I did.. Which I’m kinda happy about coz I really was inches away from throwing punches at this point, especially with his seemingly unending interest in my legs.
Luckily for my sanity, and everybody’s safety, a fellow Dane who had also been at the festival happened to walk by at this point, so we spent the rest of the journey talking to him and blatantly ignoring our would be new friend, something the old man seemed oddly offended by, but who gives a shit? Thankfully with this newfound conversation buddy, time passed a hell of a lot quicker, so it didn’t actually seem that long before the speakers rang out with a most welcome statement: “Next stop Kolding!” – Wooo!
We quickly got up, gathered our belongings and moved to jump off the train where we were met by Jakob, Tina’s boyfriend, and the welcome feeling of terra firma under our feet and the familiar look of our home town. After an hour on a bus, some four hours in Koblenz and 9 hours on a train, we had but a small walk home. Or well, Tina and Dunkel scored rides with Jakob.. I, on the other hand, needed some food as I had none at home, so I walked by a local junk food place (as if I hadn’t had enough of that already), grabbed some grub, then past a gas station and picked up two cans of beer.. Then, through a long up-hill battle, I finally made it home, in the door, threw off my bags and kicked off my shoes.. Groaned loudly, popped open one beer, took a sip, kicked off my clothes and took what seemed like a two hour shower, put on some clean (DRY!) clothes and sat down on the couch, flicked on the TV, took another sip of my beer, a bit of the sandwich I’d bought, then repeated for a while before I was full, happy and tired.. Once again, we’d made it!
As I eventually crawled into bed that evening, I caught myself thinking that awesome as summer festivals are, nothing quite beats getting back home in the comfort of your own damn bed.. Which, incidentally, is where I spent the next twelve hours, cashing in on more sleep than I’d probably gotten combined since leaving Denmark six days before..
See you again next year! \m/