Had to go to Bonn today, to get my visa for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
An obvious first question is, why is the DRC's Embassy in Bonn when the capital moved to Berlin ten years ago? Well, I don't know the answer to that, but here's a guess: there are significant Congolese diasporas in France and in Belgium, and maybe down in Switzerland. The Bonn embassy can serve parts of those countries, which an embassy in Berlin could not.
Of course, it's also possible that Berlin is just too damn expensive.
I was planning to write a post about Bonn, and what it's like, and how I think it was a mistake (though not a huge one) to move the capital away from there. But the starting point for that would be "what Bonn is like", and I can't do that, because I barely saw it. I came into town, switched trains, rode out to the suburb where the Congolese Embassy is located, got my visa, rode the train back to the town center, switched trains again, and was gone. What I saw of Bonn was what you see from train windows, and I don't think that's a good starting point. So, maybe some other time.
What else? Well, I spent a lot of time on trains. For some reason the fast ICE trains don't go to Bonn, but only to Bonn-Siegburg, which is a suburb of Bonn. So to get there, I had to
leave the house at 7 am to catch a 7:45 train in Gersfeld, about 30 km away
take local train from Gersfeld to Fulda
take fast train from Fulda to Frankfurt
take whip-blistering fast ICE train from Frankfurt to Bonn-Siegburg
take little local putt-putt train from Bonn-Siegburg to central Bonn
take a different little local putt-putt train from central Bonn to the suburb where the DRC Embassy is, whose name I have already forgotten
then do all of the above again, only in reverse. For a total of ten trains.
Now, I shouldn't bitch too hard about this, since Bonn is way over on the other side of the country. Getting there and back in a single day is not too bad. But this sort of train travel is surprisingly tiring. The longest leg is under 90 minutes, so you never really settle down into proper train-travel mode; you seem to spend most of your time keeping an eye on the clock to make sure you don't miss your stop.
On the other hand, the fast ICE is pretty cool. It gets up to 300 km/h, or about 185 miles per hour. That's just nifty. I hadn't been on a train that fast since the last time I rode a French TGV, and that was quite a while ago.
What else... the drive to Gersfeld goes over the Hochrhoen, the High Rhoen plateau. There's already snow up there. In the morning it was very foggy -- like, slow the car way down foggy. I almost hit a deer. On the way back in the evening it was even foggier, and now the fog was blowing across the road in long weird streams. I got out of the car to pee and, well, there was just cold streaming fog and the dark pines and silence. Normally I will stretch that sort of thing out for a minute or two -- jump up and down a few times, stretch, look at the stars if there are any -- but this time I just got back in the car promptly and carried on.
But I got my visa, and I came home to a very nice curry that Claudia had made. So.