Do you know what happens when two hostel roommates get together in Europe?
I can just about recall the crazy amount of clownish stuff we did when we got together. First of all, it is tough to make joint plans, since there is the question of classes. And that of different classes in different universities in different parts of Europe. But we had planned to have at least one roommate outing together in Europe. So, there we were, true to our ‘roomie resolve’, en route to Germany.
Cologne was our first stop. At the hostel, we first went down to the luggage room to stow away our belongings. The key to the room looked eerily like some gaoler’s key to Shawshank. We turned the key and tried to open the door. It wouldn’t budge. We pulled and pushed, both of us with all our might. Surely the doors were not that strong and secure! Turned out they were. P. went up to ask the guy at the reception to help. Meanwhile another bunch of girls had turned up to keep their belongings. I turned the key again and they pulled. Lo. The door opened just as P. arrived with the guy from the reception.
“I guess you guys managed pretty well on your own,” he smiled and went back, making us feel a bit sheepish.
We started dumping our bags inside.
“Why doesn’t the door remain open?” P. asked me exasperatedly.
“No clue,” I answered. “Some security thing maybe.”
“Wait. It must have a stopper.”
So saying, P. took the door by its hinges and pulled back. Far back. So far back that the bulb right next to the door came into contact with it and shattered. This time, we didn’t need to go up to call the guy. He ran down of his own accord. The only thing he said to us was “how on earth did you manage to break that bulb” which was not a bad research question since we couldn’t open the door initially. We showered him with puppy looks and ‘sorry’ (in German) while he wiped away the broken pieces. I even offered to help but he politely refused, which was understandable since we had created quite a reputation of our clumsiness.
Finally, we got inside the luggage room, got out our purses and took turns using the restroom.
“We need to fill up the water bottles.” I reminded her.
“And dump the garbage.” she reminded me back.
“And take our passports along.”
“Don’t forget your beanie cap.”
Reminders. Reminders. Reminders.
With all these agendas in mind, both of us pulled the door.
“It broke the bulb that time and now it wouldn’t budge. Fancy door, this.” P. huffed her way around.
“My purse is inside. I must go in.”
“So are our passports.”
“The stupid key is inside!” we echoed together.
“You do it.”
“No, you please.”
No one wanted to be the one to call that guy back.
“I went the first time. It is your turn now.” she said.
“You have the necessary charm. Trust me, you will be better at it.” I cajoled her.
You see, a little praise works wonders. She went up. The guy came down. For three whole minutes, he laughed. After the third minute, we joined him.
“It’s a bad day for you, guys.” he gasped in between his guffaws. “First, you can’t open the door. Then you open it so wide that you break the bulb. And now you have left the keys inside. Voila!” and he laughed even harder.
When we finally got out of the hostel, we headed straight to the famous Cologne bridge. The one with locks. Locks of love and longing, of pledges and promises. We lounged there for a long while, waving to the breakers, and the ships, clicking away and trying to capture as much of the moment as we could. We ended up having quite a photoshoot, the two of us, in umpteen poses. This is what happens when girls get together.
While roaming the streets of Cologne, we chanced across the Cinderella store for wedding gowns and were instantly riveted. We couldn’t help but steal a glance at a to-be bride trying on a beautiful lace pearly white gown. The store with its wedding cakes and gowns and all the other wedding paraphernalia ensured that we remained starry-eyed the entire day.
From the perfume museums to the churches, we hopped and hopped till we finally dropped at a boulangerie where we ordered some pretzels and galette du rois and downed them with some hot chocolate. A perfect girls’ day out, wouldn’t you say?
*The girl in the brown boots*
The above account is a work of fiction based on real life characters and happenings in and around IIFT (or the globe, for that matter).