The Journey Begins

Wednesday, 24 August 2005

A red-eye flight is generally a good way to travel with one exception, after dinner and so forth there is only 2-3 hours remaining on the flight for sleep. To sleep or to eat dinner at 10:00 pm ... these were the choices as Pat and I sat in first class departing Newark Airport . Pat chose to stay awake, have dinner, read and watch TV, while I went to bed early reclining on what is called a sleeper seat and getting 6 hours of sleep.

The view of the Verrazano Bridge at night, while flying in the an airplane, is always spectacular. Pat noted that the city looked like grid lines set up in patterns.

Thursday 25 August

We landed at Frankfurt Airport in the morning, only to discover people scurrying from the terminal which was being evacuated due to a terrorist threat. "There's no danger here," I told Pat, just more drama.

Pat had been chosen to be randomly searched at Newark Airport as we went through security. Who would ever take her for a terrorist? It was all quite humorous, but I told her the next time she has to make herself invisible like I do, so no one will select her. [Just an old trick of the trade that involves shifting your personal grid to a high enough frequency that no one sees you.]

We got our luggage, exchanged American currency for Euros and headed out to a shuttle which would take us to the train station at the far end of the airport. From there we would travel by Eurail.

There had been heavy rain and flooding in the days before we arrived, which we now nothing more than a drizzle and didn't bother us at all.

We took the train to the city of Freiberg in the Black Forest. The three year old train was unbelievable with comfortable seating, private rooms for meetings which contained tables and chairs, a food and beverage area, friendly people and service, not quite the NYC subway system we had left behind, and totally safe with good energy.

Never did we feel threatened during the trip.

The train was fairly empty allowing me to move freely about. Fantasizing it was the Orient Express, I visited most of the cars and chatted with the conductor while on the lookout for mischief. Not a dead body in sight, nothing for a girl to investigate and psych on.

Pat and I sat in the last car. I have a 'thing' for train tracks!

Suddenly I felt the energies of someone who was looking for a train adventure also.

I walked to the back of the train and stared out at the tracks, taking several pictures.

Seated in the last row was the man I was drawn to. He was a 40 something year old banker from Switzerland, named Joseph who had traveled by rail all around Germany on his vacation. Unable to return home due to flooding in his home town, he had spent several extra days riding the rails and was finally going home. Here was a man after my own heart.

Joseph and I spent the last hour of the two-hour train ride laughing, flirting, and sharing stories about our lives, while Pat tried to rest after her 2 hours of sleep on the flight over. As Joseph was an 'up' person, I really enjoyed the company.

It's an interesting thing about the people in Europe and the English language. Most people told me they spoke some English and yet I found them all to be fluent in the English language.

Eurail, Freiberg Station

Time to get off the train as Joseph and I said our good-byes and he carried our luggage to the curb. Men always like to do the macho thing to impress a lady and he was a great guy, not into metaphysics, but no one is perfect. John took my business card and said he would email me. We shall see...

Z gave us a sign that all was on track!

Up the escalator, crossing the overpass, then down the steps and over to a taxi stand where we grabbed a yellow cab that took us to a rental car place nearby, Europcar.

The Volkswagen we expected turned out to be a new Mercedes with a navigation system featuring a woman's voice with a British accent. Pat named her Dora, who said things like, "At the corner make a right turning" ... but sometimes Dora said it after the fact.

Take for example the trip through the town of Freiberg on our journey to the first hotel, the Mecure Panorama set in the heart of the Black Forest.

Dora said turn right which put us on a street for trolley cars not motor vehicles. Luckily there were no police in the area. As soon as we entered the trolley lane, I knew it was a mistake.

Using the 'invisibility factor' again, no one seemed to notice us as we drove along with the many bicyclists and pedestrians. Driving so close to all those bikers can get very scary, even if the streets have bicycle lanes. They have to stop at red lights and observe traffic regulations, not like us crazy Americans. It would appear that many people get around on bicycles in Europe. They are parked at assigned areas with no fear of getting stolen, a far cry from Brooklyn!

Dora's next message was, "In 200 metres make a right turning to exit the restricted area."

"Thanks D ... and Z!"

Dora didn't always understand how to get us to our destination, such as the time she brought us to a restricted US Air Force Base , but that's another story.

By the way ... I had been told that the price of petrol was very high. I did not find that to be the case, perhaps because it cost so much in the US at this time.

People do not drive large cars the way we do. German auto companies have different models than are available in the US.

Check out this common vehicle.

More Frieberg adventures ....

Journey to Germany and France Index