This past week has been crazy. When I was cleaning today, I was surprised at how my apartment had not really gotten messy and I realized that is because I hardly have been here.
I was in Cologne a lot, two days for work, one day for not-work. Cologne is the size of Stockholm, roughly, and in some ways my trips there remind me of my frequent travels from Uppsala to Stockholm some years ago. The difference is just that a) Uppsala-Stockholm is 80 kilometres and cost 10 euros while Dizzel-Cologne is 30 kilometres and costs 12 euros b) my cool friends all seem to live in Cologne c) Dizzel does not at all have the charms Uppsala enchanted me with. Actually, it is a with a bit of bitterness that I spend time in Cologne because things there just seem to much more, hm, alive. But living in Cologne and commuting to Dizzel is completely out of the question for me. Many people do that but I am unwilling to spend that time in a crowded train.
Actually, I would not be surprised if Düsseldorf and Cologne in 150 years would be one city. Of course it has to do with how demographics develop but already today the borders in this region become blurred – where does Düsseldorf end and Duisburg start? It seems to be a matter of a few metres. At work, we already call our region DüKö (Cologne is Köln in Germany) which I would find a proper silly name for a Carnival Mega Town. We are clearly ahead of our times. (Natives of Dü and Kö would protest heavily against that idea, though.)
I got a delicious yoghurt at the car headquarters where they also had beautiful pillows and our Business Breakfast came with very Swedish catering
Anyway, what did I do there then? For work, I had a meeting with a large Swedish car manufacturer, I tried to figure out some Google Analytics related stuff, helped to hold a Business Breakfast with a Swedish office furniture company where we learned interesting facts about colors in the workplace (did you know you should have orange in your welcoming area?) and gathered my young professional group.
“Kvinnor kan!” is a phrase my co-worker exclaims semi-ironically when we get something done that old-fashioned people believe only male humans can do. [“Women are capable”] In Cologne, they have the only Handwerkerinnenhaus in Germany which translates to Craftswomen’s House. You guessed it, it is only women teaching women/girls there. And they teach everything you could possibly want to be able to do – I attended the basic do it yourself course though.
I now have a better idea of how electric stuff works and I can drill into tiles! The most fascinating part of this course was probably how strongly I reacted to the teachers being women. It is one thing if a man tells you a woman can do this just as well but it is, strangely, something else to see a trained carpenter before you. As a bonus, they had some hilarious info material with funny slogans, see photographic evidence below.
At night, my friend Maike took me to the Cologne Belgian Quarter where they have seriously awesome shops and where the people I’ve been trying to find seem to hang out: the post-25-year-old work entrants who don’t yet have kids and spend every evening at home. Something which was particularily striking was that a lot of men we saw were very tall. And by very tall I mean 195 cm and taller.