Day 1 – Top Gear Rules

It’s the middle of the night and the alarm on my phone is telling me it’s time to get up. My eyes don’t agree. Between us and our destination lies approximately 140 miles of tarmac, but the Gamescom adventure is underway.  All things considered, the early morning start didn’t pose too much trouble, especially considering we stayed up all night learning about the mating habits of whales. It certainly helped with the driving side of things as it was a good fifteen minutes before we even spotted another car. Discussion started with a heart-warming reflection of our E3 trip before quickly moving on to the topic at hand. What games would we see, who would we meet and, perhaps more importantly, how long would it take for Lee to get shot?

After a rather uneventful journey we quickly pulled into the car park and, with some Burnout-like skills, got dizzy as we made it to the top of the five storey concrete monolith. It was then the realisation hit that we were at the wrong car park and would have to make the spiral trip downwards; just how many car parks does one airport need?

It was during our jaunt from one car park to another that we decided to impose Top Gear rules, meaning the weakest gets left behind and if, for some reason, one of us does meet our untimely end it needs to be announced on a podcast with little care and emotion. With the correct car park located, we made our way to the terminal via the handy orange bus and made our flight, smooth as butter.

Back in the real world, what we were greeted with was the utter shambles of Easyjet’s check in service.  Over an hour later we were finally through stage one of the process, with just 35 minutes to get through security and make it to our gate and the clock was ticking… somewhere, someplace, the Mission Impossible music was playing. Despite less than half the security gates actually being open, we made it through in pretty good time, enough even for a quick stopover to grab a drink.

The flight itself was your standard Easyjet affair: no leg room, rough as sandpaper, and £6 for two cans of Stella Artois 4, so I went to sleep. By the time my eyes opened again, thanks to the less than graceful manner in which the wheels touched the runway, we were on German soil. After the Easyjet hostess tried once again to sell us a holiday to Magaluf, we soon found ourselves standing in an airport with all luggage to hand, pressing buttons on a train ticket machine.

There was only so many times we could tell the machine what we wanted, only to once again find ourselves staring at the now-familiar main menu. It was no use. As Samuel tried in vain one last time, we began making our way to the ticket office from where weekly ticket passes were purchased and away we went. The ride on the train gave a glimpse of our first look at Germany, a KFC, an Ibis hotel and a Burger King whizzed past in a blur before the expo centre came into view; at least we knew where we’d need to be once day one of the show rolled around.

We soon found ourselves in the hotel, and while Samuel started hunting for an iron (we didn’t ask), Lee and I did the important stuff like set up the WiFi and check to see if the TV worked. I’ve no idea if he did find an iron, but after convincing him that the digital luggage scales in the suitcase was, in fact, a taser gun, we set out into the bustling streets of Cologne.  Food was the first order of the day and, taking the safe option, we decided on McDonald’s, but what a McDonald’s it was. A magical place where they served food that was edible, sauce was free, a Big Mac looked exactly like the poster and topping it off was one of the nicest drinks of Coke my lips have ever had the pleasure of sampling. If that wasn’t enough they served the infamous McRib, the sheer joy and jubilation on Lee’s face lighting up the area more so than the now glaring sun.

It’s hard to miss the gothic cathedral nesting in the heart of the city, its haunting spires looking down upon the masses congregating amongst its steps. After deciding that it wouldn’t look too out of place in Gears of War, we did the obligatory touristy thing of taking photos whenever we can and then made our way down river. As boats full of cargo containers, coal, and passengers chug their way up and down the choppy waters we find ourselves at an actual EA Sports bar – kind of apt really. Settling down to a refreshing drink, we sit deep in thought while Samuel begins to explain why the Germans are shunning nuclear power and returning to coal, as Lee and I watch his hat blowing precariously close to the water’s edge.

The afternoon finishes without much excitement; we avoid the chocolate museum (for now – it has a café!) as well as the life sized ark (of the Moses kind) and head back to our war room. The last bit of excitement for the day emerged in the form of a Kit Kat Chunky, but made of white chocolate, and the discovery that Germany does in fact have Mars Bars. Samuel never did complete his quest for a Cornish pasty, but it’s early days yet.

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  1. Tania Tania says:

    White chocolate for the win!
    Great stuff guys, look forward to hearing more. :)

  2. Kat says:

    You went to the EA place in the end, cool! Also, McDonalds sauce is free in Bournemouth, boohiss to Lincoln :P

  3. UselessJack says:

    Heh, I really enjoyed reading that. And the british McDonalds must be shit, I always try to avoid that stuff, it’s pretty sure oxic in some way. Also, you should take a look into the dome. I always do that when I have to wait for my trains. Just sitting there is overwhelming, even if you’re not religious. Have fun guys, I’m looking forward to more of this :D

  4. Lorna Lorna says:

    Cologne looks fucking stunning. If you’re playing by Top Gear rules, then I take it Samuel is Captain Slow? ;)

    You actually went into a branded EA place and didn’t expect to be ripped off? ;p Sounds like Cologne is a little pricier than Berlin to be honest, but then if you are in the centre of near the trade district, then it is bound to be. Also, Currywurst are far nicer than they look honest, but find a cheap Imbiss and grab one there to save the cash.

  5. Edward Edward says:

    Sounds like a good start to a great adventure :D

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