Full of surprises

I traveled to Germany for two-week’s training, and the thought of it seemed quite long – and once I was there, I realized it certainly was a long time to be away. After the problematic journey I wrote about in my last post, I met my friendly host, Paul, and we were able to visit many places in a single day! That’s what I’d like to tell you about today.

To start with, the weather wasn’t at all friendly. It rained for most of the day and it was evening before the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. Paul and I met at 10 am and went to Dusseldorf Airport to ask after my lost mobile. Our first destination? A mining crater!

Once we’d explored the crater and admired the dozens of wind turbines, we started towards Aachen, to see the Cathedral and find lunch. Our meal at Lennet & Kann ( a vegan place) was delicious! We had warm chilli beans, and I ordered a quinoa salad with avocado and spinach. The chilli was quite good and mild, not too spicy. The salad, though delicious, was gigantic, and I couldn’t finish it on my own. Luckily, I had Paul to help me out.

After lunch, with umbrellas in hand, we walked up to the dome and found it already full of tourists.

I resisted recounting the history to Paul about Charles the Great and his sons, who regularly devastated Pannonian lands, knowing that here the great German Kaisers are a source of pride. After whiling away some time at the Cathedral, we walked around the city, seeing a thermal bath, a piece of an excavated site, some university buildings and a wishing well. I didn’t miss the chance, of course, to throw a coin in… Once we’d finished, I bought a few bottles of mineral water for the journey and went back to the car.

Our next stop was a place called Dreilandereck: the single point where Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium meet. It was still pouring rain when we arrived, but overall the visit was fun and, afterwards, we paused for coffee on the Belgium side before heading off to see the Cathedral (Dome) in Köln (Cologne).

It took an hour to get there, the rain still falling heavily, and once we arrived, we could hardly find parking place. Finally, we found one, but it was quite far from the Cathedral. We meandered through the small, crowded streets full of shops until we found the dome. As in Aachen, when we checked in, the dome was full of tourists. There was a place in the inner corner where, for one Euro, visitors could purchase a candle and light it for a specific purpose or person. I bought one, ignited it, and placed it among the others while wishing that my Protector Project would all go well!

By this time, though it was only 6 pm, I was already tired and had no desire to sightsee anymore, so Paul drove us back to Essen, where I’m now writing to you from a neat hotel.

All in all, it was an eventful day, and I’m really grateful that I could see all these wonderful places!

*All pics are used as examples; none of them are mine. (Without my mobile I can’t take photos!)

Departure & Arrival

A few months ago, I had a stray thought that I would like to work at a company where I am able to travel as part of my work. Now, I’m working for a company that is paying me to travel, but I find that it’s not quite what I expected.

My flight was delayed several times because of the bad weather conditions which made my arrival chaotic and totally stressful. The whole week prior to my departure, we had extremely hot weather and on Sunday (the 6th of August) a thunderstorm arrived with threatening black clouds right as my flight was due to depart. Originally, we were to take off at 20:25, then I was notified that we would be delayed until 21:10, and then another delay pushed us back to 21:45.

Around ten o’clock, the gate opened and we were finally taken to the plane. We got out of the airport bus with rain pounding down on us and lightning flashing all around – it was frightening! By the time we were on the plane, we were soaking wet and we took our seats only to wait another forty minutes before the captain announced we would be delayed even longer as we had no kerosene. Honestly, I had half a mind to stand up and leave, and later I would regret having not done just that.

Finally, around 23:40 the plane took off into the storm surrounded by lightning and heavy rain. Needless to say, I became quite sick, and to add to my displeasure, the captain then announced that we would be unable to fly to our destination – Dusseldorf – as we were denied permission to land! We were rerouted and, in the middle of the night, eventually landed in Koln/Bonn. After we arrived, there was so much confusion that I couldn’t find my luggage and when I finally found someone to help me, I noticed that I had lost my mobile (in Germany, they call it a ‘Handy’). To make matters worse, I missed the charter bus to Dusseldorf.

The whole process was utterly disorganised and it seemed as though the airline completely disregarded what would happen to their passengers after they were dropped in a strange city – a city that wasn’t even their destination – in the middle of the night.

I spent the whole night tired and stranded in the airport, unable to communicate with anyone or use the Internet, and it was all I could do not to panic and start to cry. A man who worked at a bakery tried to help me by giving me directions so I ran to and fro trying to find a way – a train or taxi or anything – to get to Essen, where I had a booked hotelroom. The man in the information booth was very friendly (he was the one helping me to find my baggage) and explained that the Baggage Office opened at 6 am, and suggested that I wait and ask them whether they knew anything about my mobile in case the airplane staff had passed it down as a found object. I decided to follow his advice and, in the meantime, I was able to connect to the free WiFi and send messages to my family about what happened. I had nothing to eat except a little salty snack and a coffee in a small food shop to while away the time.

After sunrise, I went to the Lost and Found office, but they couldn’t tell me anything about my phone, only repeating that they were not responsible and I should come back the next day. How on Earth could I have come back? They were absolutely unhelpful, and by that point it was around 7 am and I was walking around in the terminal, still trying to figure out what should I do. It was then that I noticed a booth with a flag that said Flixbus. As I went closer and checked, I saw it offered journeys to multiple cities, so I asked them if they offered any trips to Essen. For the first time since I’d left my home, I was in luck – they had one! The ride was good, the bus was comfortable, and the staff were nice and helpful. I started to feel somewhat better now that things seemed to be improving. At 8:10 am I started my ride to my hotel in Essen.

The whole journey was an awful experience. Afterward, I interrogated the airline, the Koln/Bonn Airport, and the Dusseldorf Airport (as the plane belongs there). I called several departments, call centers, and wrote dozens of emails, posted Facebook messages on the airline’s and the airports’ profile pages, telling them about my problem. I am grateful that there were at least a few employees who read them and cared enough to look after me – though they were rare. I still haven’t given up, and I hope that someone kind-hearted finds my mobile and sends it back to me.

*All pics are used as examples, none of them are mine (I can’t take pictures without my mobile).

Total heat

Uh, the temperature is 40 Celsius here and it’s incredible, I tell you. If I step out of the house, it’s like stepping into an oven. I am working on some animation scripts, but shhh, that’s not public knowledge… Not yet… And, of course, I haven’t forgotten the book, it’s currently being re-checked to ensure it is of the best quality. So, please be patient; I’m having to be, too! Things are happening behind the scenes. Big things!

I visit this little pond close to my workplace every day. It has two yellow-eared sliders living in it. They are super lovely! 🙂