Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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When I say knackered...
After another bout of baggage check-in hassle (listen to this:- they wanted $2000 for the 'extra' bag. I said they can have the bag. They said they'd let it go this time. Again!) at Singapore airport last night I boarded the plane. This was about 11pm.
Lufthansa. The mirror opposite of Singapore Airlines, and considering this was a twelve hour flight - a longer flight than last time - they didn't once offer water. For the entire flight. No entertainment console in the seat, no welcoming staff, in fact the staff were as robotic and emotionless as the sea of people I was surrounded by. They had me squeezed in between two overweight Germans, both men, both with big intrusive elbows, one with a lazy eye, the other with the breath of a hound. Neither of them smiled, nor were they particularly receptive to a sliver of polite small talk. This suited me. I was ready for bed anyway. I had music and headphones and could drift off peacefully into my own sorry world.
In my dreams. The twelve hours was spent surrounded by rupturing coughs, splutters, elbow barges and out-of-bounds head lolling. It was a shitfight. Twelve hours later and we touched ground. 5am. Frankfurt. Bedtime had come and gone and I was still going strong, kind of.
The last email I received off Tammi said:- 'Leaving early on Friday morning: ticket has me arriving at the Frankfurt main station (Hauptbahnhof) at 8:17 a.m. Sweetie, that means I won't be there to meet your flight. I hope that is okay! It also means that I need to either meet you at your hostel or have you meet me at the Hauptbahnhof..' By some small miracle I made it with my 45kg's of baggage over to the Hauptbahnhof. This took me to 6am where I made my way over to a small cafe next to the ReiseZentrum, our agreed meeting point. With two hours to kill I sat and had three strong coffees and two small glasses of Radeberger Pils in between head-lolling and making nonsensical notes of my mishaps over the the last few days.
Tammi's train was an hour late. It was after 9:30 by the time she bounded over, refreshed and radiant with her trademark smile. Tammi has the brightest, whitest teeth in the whole wide world. Truth is I hardly know Tammi. She's from Washington 'DC' but has been living in Berlin since January following a dramatic change in life direction.
We met in Auckland in September '04 at the big BB meet up. She was travelling around New Zealand at the time and just happened upon our modest gathering. She was instantly popular with the ladies after hearing tales of email harrassment by one of the male forum members, who was also 'in da house'. Without a shred of hesitation she went over and gave him a good shoe-ing. He left moments later. None of us have seen him since but have laughed about it loads. Tammi and I have kept in touch since then through email and mutual blog following. She writes fantastically. So, as my path was passing through Germany, I thought it only appropriate to let Tammi in on the BIG SURPRISE.
After a long walk through the streets of Frankfurt we found a superb eatery called the 'Altes Café Schneider' where we gobbled up a soothing platter of bacon and eggs and a hot cup of 'milchkaffee'. My body clock was shot to pieces and I started to feel the familiar signs of flu-y-ness. Lovely. It was cold too. Around 4 degrees, much like New Zealand when I left and I figured the constant changes of climate might've started started to take their toll, not to mention the coughs, splutters and sneezes being thrown around on flight doom.
After breakfast, we got some accommodation sorted. I didn't fanny about. The Colour Hotel, single room, shared bath, 30 euros per night. By then it was lunchtime and I was aching for a sleep. Aching. We walked for miles looking for a sunny spot to sit in and eventually came across another local eatery where we rattled down a 'Jägersteak' and pom frites for lunch. Suitably fed and watered, we headed back towards the Hauptbahnhof stopping everso suddenly for Tammi to peer into a shop window. She'd spotted a bike. It winked at her. She liked it. She went in bought it for 300 euros. It made her smile grow even bigger and brighter than ever before.
We collected my mass of excess baggage from the Hauptbahnhof and wheeled it over to the hotel on Tammi's sparkling new bike where I checked in, showered, unpacked, fannied about and later met Tammi again round at the Irish bar for a couple of cold ones. I've just got back. She's calling in the morning and we're off to hit Frankfurt. I worked it out. It's something like forty-two hours since I slept last. I feel... how d'you say...
Actually, I feel German..
Where I stayed