Chat: Anuga, Choo Choo

Pardon me boy, is this the Anuga Choo Choo? is probably a question I could ask Monday, as I will be taking the train to Cologne, Germany, to cover the Anuga food fair. It used to be even more so in the city itself, as exhibitors’ and accredited journalists’ ID badges also entitled them to free rides on local public transport. The train from the Köln Deutz station, where the Kölnermesse is situated, to the Köln Hauptbahnhof central station could really be called the Anuga Choo Cho in those days – I have spent one or two trips there crammed together with other visitors like sardines in a tin can.

However, that trip is one of the most unnecessary in the known universe, since the two stations are just a bridge apart, and since the walk across the Hohenzollern bridge is a very pleasant one with a beautiful view of the city, the Kölner Dom and the Rhine – especially this time of the year, if we are as lucky with the weather as always, with sunshine and sparkling autumn-coloured trees adding to the picture.

Maybe it was the aesthetics of it all that prompted the arrangers to scrap the free rides, I know not. Or maybe the fair had squeezed public transport to its full capacity. Judging from the hotel situation, that might very well be the case, because when I started looking for hotel rooms some time ago, everything was booked. There was one or two suites at the Hilton left, but I realised it would be difficult to get my employer to pay for that since they cost like EUR 500 per night – and I would only lie awake all night in such an expensive hotel room anyway, worrying about what each second costs.

You may wonder why on Earth I need a hotel room in Cologne, which is only a few hours away from Brussels. But I have to cover an event Monday evening that starts 18.30 and goes on into the wee hours, and the last train for Brussels leaves at 19.44.

So, the only alternative being waiting at the Hauptbahnhof until the morning train, I will gamble on being able to scamper off to my train in time.

Wish me good luck.