Saturday, October 22, 2011

Airport Role Call

As I was sitting in Tegel's departure lounge on a Monday two weeks ago, upon learning of the flight delay I began fretting about connecting flights.

I don't mind flying. If I could afford the cushy seats up front instead of the cozy conditions of economy, I'd mind it even less. 

What does cause me moments of high anxiety is making the connecting flight with a very small piece of time in which to navigate an unfamiliar airport and more than likely another security scan (I just came off a flight for which I was security scanned, traversed a sterile concourse with no contact with the real world ... am I really a security risk? I mean, other than a towering rage should I miss my next flight) when that flight is the middle in a series of connecting flights.

My heart plummets to my shoes when I enter a concourse, look at the flight board to find my next gate and read the word: GATE CLOSED.

My Sudoku puzzles weren't easing my anxiety at that moment so I started thinking about Frankfurt International and wondering if I'd have to sprint through unfamiliar territory, and it got me to thinking about other airports I've sprinted through. Although not a globe-trotter by any stretch of the imagination, I was surprised at the tally.

Edmonton, Internation and Municipal (where the north fence running parallel to Kingsway is bent from the tails of the planes pushing against it trying to get enough runway for take-off ... or so the story goes)
Grande Prairie
Peace River
Fort St. John
Toronto: pre- & post-Pearson
Montreal: pre-P.E. Trudeau
San Francisco - and if I never go there again it will be too soon
San Diego
Los Angeles : Terminal 2 & Tom Bradley Int'l
Houston: Geo. Bush Intercontinental, just two months after 9-11 & full of military type guys bristling with automatic weaponry, very unsettling
Chicago O'Hare - at that time the busiest airport in the world

                  - grouped together because although I passed through these ports not once did my feet touch the soil of those countries (or city in the case of Munich). Kind of bizarre when you think of being to a country without actually being to the country, if you know what I mean.

Palmerston North
New Plymouth
Berlin - Tegel, which will cease to exist very soon after which travel will be via Schoenefeld

Glancing at today's blog roll to the right, I see the Yarn Harlot is in (or just travelled through) Chicago.

May the Force be with you.

PS My brother pointed out I missed Kelowna and Kamloops. The two closest airports and most current 'home bases.' Figures.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Holiday Recap

I'm home. It was a wonderful week in Germany with Claudia & Chris, Valentin & Leopold. It's good to be home, too, although I haven't seen much of it yet.

Arrived home 8pm Tuesday night, called Bryan to say I was back on land at home, then crawled into bed. Up at 5:30am and on the way to work by 6 to tackle the snowdrift of work at my desk.

Basically I've been at work or asleep at home for the last three days.

The Flight of Discontent notwithstanding, this is why I went and it was well worth it:

Got to see the new house, which is delightful so long as you don't mind living very close to your neighbours:

About the only photos I got of Chris were during a family soccer match in the back yard one day.

We did some of the 'tourist' things that warm the cockles of my heart. On route to the Museum of Natural History (the boys love that place, full of enormous dinosaur skeletons) Chris took a little detour to show me this interesting  spot:

This is one of the last remaining guard towers in Berlin, where the GDR soldiers kept watch over the Berlin Wall for anyone trying to cross it - in or out. It's in a tucked-away spot, not hidden but not on the beaten track most tourists would see. There are many spots like this that usually only the locals know about.

I wanted to get to an art gallery or two, but it didn't work out that way. There is a Rennaisance Masters exhibit at the Bode Museum - only to be shown in Berlin and New York. Claudi and I went down to Museum Island early in the morning - at 9am the line-up for tickets (not into the museum but just to buy the tickets to get into the museum!!!) was over 1 km long.

So while Claudi went for coffee with a girlfriend, I tackled the Berlin Cathedral.

Like so many of its sisters, the interior is almost overwhelming. The organist was working his magic on this instrument when I entered:

I'd love to get some time on the keyboard.

And the altar is stunning:

as is the sanctuary ceiling:

It takes a good two hours to tour the Dom if you're so inclined. There is a museum on the mezzanine and catacombs below (both fascinating and creepy with it's 98 coffins & sarcophagae). My goal was to climb the 270 or so steps up to the walkway. If you look at the first picture of the church (or go online) you'll see a railing just around the bottom of the copper cupola. That's the walkway.

Keeping watch over the city all around the dome are angels and cherubs with a variety of musical instruments and song sheets:

I love this juxaposition of very old and futuristic - the TV Tower in the background.

The angels and cherubs have lots of patches on them. Bomb damage from WWII. It's a miracle the church is even there. Truth be told, the ol' girl's had many face lifts over the years.

Looking over Museum Island. The Bode is the black domed roof in the middle back. The River Spree can be seen on the right - it splits and rejoins, creating the island.

Berlin - northern Germany - is flat, flat, flat all the way up to Denmark and over to the Netherlands. The view is filled with church spires and red roofs.

A taste of the steps up to the walkway, or a set of them. And these are generous in size and depth compared to some tower steps I've climbed, including the next day in Erfurt.

Yes, I have more photos but I also need to do some laundry (heck, unpack my bag!), take a walk to get re-aquainted with my garden, and just get caught up at home.

Theres's a good panoramic photo of the sanctuary and more information about the church at this site:

And this one for the Bode:

And the show I missed:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stuck in Frankfurt

I will not be home on Thanksgiving Day. I am still in Germany. Frankfurt to be precise.

Me and a few thousand other flyers. So much for getting home in one day.


Apparently the ground crews - baggage handlers - whoever gets the planes moving through the airports have gone on strike, or are about to go on strike and are on slow-down, throughout Germany.

Whatever. Standing in line with a few hundred other tired, frustrated travelers for two hours trying to get another flight home was not my idea of a good time. The Lufthansa ladies did their very best under extremely trying circumstances and I have an early flight out tomorrow morning.

It was kind of interesting being in the midst of Italians: one from Italy, one a landed American and the third from Brazil but raised in Switzerland and traveling to a new job in Mexico. Gotta love it.

The bus from the airport to the hotel we're staying at was full of Norwegians, Canadians and the crazy Italian lady who lives in San Francisco. There's a lady from Ottawa on the other computer here in the business room writing to her family explaining what's up, on her way home from a holiday in Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome and places in between.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It´s a beautiful autumn day, a perfect Thanksgiving Day. And I´m in a country that doesn´t even celebrate the occasion!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone in Canada from Germany. Tomorrow while you are enjoying turkey and pumpkin pie, I will be winging my way across the Atlantic back to BC and believe it or not, directly back to work Tuesday morning.

At least I´ll be back working with a familiar kezb0ard! Have I told zou about how frustrating it is to have a kezbboard in a different languarge# Half the kezs arenät where thez should be ... especiallz the letter Y. YYYYYYYY and the apostrophe kez #######

At least one can be consoled by the absolutely perfect chocolate and kuchen. (I think I´ve gained 20 lbs -sshhhhhh!)