On an unforgettable morning in Cologne
EVERY so often I’ll look back through the photos.
While many years have now passed it seems like only yesterday that we scanned Europe, that most seductive of continents, in search of entertainment, enlightenment and ourselves.
Everyone looks slightly different in the photos. Hair shorter, skin tanned, waistlines smaller. Each time I ask myself: Was it really that long ago? Why does time change us so quickly and so noticeably?
We have aged but the memories remain unsullied. All it takes is the tinkling Icelandic melody of a Sigur Ros song to dance past my ears and I am transported back to a moment in my 21st year. I am in Cologne, walking down to the banks of the Rhine at the most magical of early hours; there’s dewy grass under foot and the world is a frosty purple in which hardly a thing moves. I can hear Sigur Ros music playing somewhere. The city is waiting to arise and breathe.
With each step my heart begins to rise and my feet steadily quicken as the musical sounds grow. I smile uncontrollably because I know this is where I want to be, this is where I belong. I’m all alone, a brand new day is dawning and anything feels possible in those moments I spend down by the river watching Cologne stirring.
I know it has to end. The dawn is fleeting and with each second it is transforming gracefully from night to day with the same fragility as a butterfly unfolding from its moth’s cocoon. Even though I turn my back on the glistening water and make my way towards the hotel, the daybreak holds me still.
That awakening sky may have evaporated before my eyes but the memory still lingers all these years later.
All I need is these photos and the Icelandic tinkle in my ears and I am there. I cease to exist in Melbourne. I’m in Germany on that magical morning when I awoke before Cologne did and was blessed to watch it emerge from slumber. RANT OR RAVE Send your 400-word contribution to our Follow the Reader column. Published columnists will receive a Corban & Blair Duet travel journal in pink/red and Duet travel wallet in blue/red (pictured; total value $84). The Duet range is made from genuine split leather and features contrasting leather detail with a metal button enclosure. More: (02) 9560 0122; corbanblair.com.au. Send your contribution to: email@example.com.