Yesterday Mark played two hockey games, the result of the first determining who would go on for the gold medal at the Gay Games in Cologne. Mark’s team played the Boston Lobsters and defeated them 3-1. Periods here are twelve minutes each and penalties are only one minute long. The game was an example of the team’s ability to work together in synch and it was exciting to watch. Their win moved them into the final. That game was at 9.00 and the gold medal final was at 16.00, so we had a long time in between games. During that break we visited the Kölner Dom. The Cologne Cathedral is of monstrous proportions which miraculously remained standing, although partially destroyed by Allied bombing in the Second World War. It was crowded, but nowhere near as much as Notre Dame in Paris when I visited it last year. I may now have a digital camera but not the foresight to pack all the gizmos that came along with it; I would have loved to post some of the photos I took. Please click on the links and see what I saw and awed over.
We returned to the ice rink and watched the Toronto Wolfpack (whom the hockey announcer always introduced as the “Toronto Wolfpacks”, plural) play the Colorado Avalanche. The game got off to a shaky start when the score got up to 3-0 after the first six minutes of play–for Colorado. It increased to 4-0 by the end of the first period and some of the companions (or “hockey husbands” who accompanied their spouses or boyfriends on this trip) got pessimistic and were ready to give up hope. I didn’t lose hope, even after the second period saw no new goals scored. After half of the third period was played we finally scored a goal yet could not recover from our early deficit. Colorado won the gold and Toronto proudly wears the silver medal. I took photos of Mark receiving his medal and will post these pictures when I get home. Mark wore it around Cologne and it is an attention-getter wherever he goes. People stop to congratulate him and to admire it. Mark even let me put the medal on for barely a one-minute walk to a bus stop and two people came up to me and gave me their congratulations! I felt like a star athlete wearing that neck adornment.
This morning we returned by train to Berlin. The ICE train pulled in one hour late. We had about a 35-minute wait for the train at the Cologne main train station then another 25-minute wait in Hannover. Had this been a Swiss train, the announcers would have been falling over themselves with apologies–in four languages!–even for being one minute late. I know this because this has happened to me in Switzerland. The Deutsche Bahn apologized, and did so often, but we got the impression from talking to people on the train that German trains were late all the time. And as we took the train to and from the ice rink in the Cologne suburb of Spich, they’re right. The trams however are always on time, and often early, according to their estimated arrival times at the stops.
We have two more days in Berlin followed by one night in Frankfurt. We fly out of Frankfurt on Tuesday. I hope to do some shopping in Berlin tomorrow on the Kurfürstendamm, where I will finally get around to buying some Berlin postcards. I will also have to buy a new travel alarm clock as the little alarm my work colleagues gave me ten years ago, just prior to my leave of absence when I studied Finnish in Finland during the summer of 2000, conked out on me. I used that alarm as a regular alarm clock, not just for travelling, so I got a good ten years work out of it. On Sunday I would like to do some border hopping, and by that I mean see where the former division was between East and West Berlin. The former presence of the Wall is marked in the pavement and asphalt by a double row of bricks. There is a small portion of the Wall still standing, and Mark and I would like to see it.