I didn’t think that it could happen. Certainly not to me, someone who has eaten dessert after every single dinner for the past 12 years. A gal who LOVES chocolate—I mean, I just visited an entire chocolate museum and bonded with some incredible people over our mutual appreciation for one of the finest things in life, for crying out loud! If there’s something that I’ve always prided myself on, it’s my obsession with coffee and chocolate. The two have been there for me through thick and thin, and I truly believe that sitting down with a nice slice of chocolate cake, a steaming cup of (American-sized!) coffee, and a good book is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon.
I’m sorry to say that Germany broke me. I guess that’s what happens when you eat 2-3 desserts a day for three weeks straight. It was all, “Oh Megan, you must try this cream puff! Oh, look, yet another bakery…why don’t you sit and write for an hour and treat yourself to a slice of carrot cake. You really can have that second donut. After all, donuts are breakfast foods, not dessert! Look, a bagel…and I can get Nutella on it?? Count me in! Wow, it’s been a tough day. I really need to treat myself to a Godiva dark chocolate raspberry shake.” The list goes on and on and on. If my coaches are reading this, I’m terribly sorry. You should know that the shenanigans have stopped because Cologne hit me with the wakeup call that I needed.
It all started on my first evening in Cologne. I was scheduled to see a show called “Fantasia” at the Cologne Philharmonic at 8pm. Although my train arrived in Cologne with plenty of time to spare, I ended up scrambling after some bad news and spending a good chunk of the afternoon trying to re-book accommodations for later in my trip. Around 7pm I realized that I had left absolutely no time for dinner since I had to pick up my ticket in half an hour. Like any sensible person, I decided to find the largest ice cream cone that I could. After all, the worst thing would be to sit hungry through a show, and where else am I going to find a filling treat on the go for under €6? (Side note, I did try to find real food, but after wasting 15 precious minutes searching for takeaway, I had to live with the fact that there were only sit-down pubs and restaurants around the Philharmonic. Ice cream it was!).
Man, that puppy was good. Three giant scoops of the simple classics: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Top it all with a mound of whipped cream, drizzle it in chocolate sauce, and stick it in a waffle cone. Now that was what I called a meal!
Just a mere 20 hours later, I find myself at afternoon tea at a charming little cupcake shop called Royal Cupcakes. Though I wished my mom and sister had been there to join me, I really was looking forward to three tiers of sweet and savory treats. Let me tell you, Royal Cupcakes did not disappoint. I’ll lay it all out on the line for you: a mini quiche Lorraine, prosciutto-wrapped pretzel sticks, cucumber sandwiches (with the crust cut off!), two biscuits with cherry marmalade, an apple tart, a mini strawberry smoothie, two mini cupcakes, a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream, and an iced latte later, I was feeling good. I mean, it’s not every day that you get to enjoy a wonderful afternoon pretending to dine with the bubble-gum blowing Queen of England herself. For under €15!
About an hour later, the stomach pains started to hit. With each passing bakery, I felt more and more nauseous. The sight of light, airy pastries was no longer enticing, and the idea of munching on yet another sugar-filled treat filled me with dread. It was then that I realized, for the first time in my life, dessert no longer sounded appealing to me. Thus began my long-awaited search for sanity, soups, and salads. At the time of writing this, I have been clean for nearly 48 hours. Cologne, my dear friend, you will forever be burned into my memory as the city where I swore off sweets.
P.S. I felt like I was nearly on the stage myself at the Cologne Philharmonic. Thank you, press pass!
Healthy base tan, courtesy of the unyielding sun in Megan’s hometown in southwest Florida? Check. An insistence that gallivanting through Germany and Austria all summer does, in fact, count as exercise – after all, those cathedral steps aren’t going to climb themselves! Definitely. A command of the native languages and the confidence that one mere backpack will get her through two months abroad? Now slow down there, she didn’t say she was Wonder Woman. While neuroscience and chemistry may be this coffee-loving, beach-bumming, fashion-adoring springboard diver’s forte, Megan is hoping to expand her appreciation for the finer things in life (beer, currywurst, schnitzel, melange…) before returning to the reality that all good things must come to an end, as evidenced by her impending senior year.