2011 Summer trips
My sixteen day trip to Germany and France that started on June 26 included many stops and many people. I (literally) wrote about the entire trip as it transpired. Now, I attempt to type those words into my GGW blog:
The trip begins on a Sunday morning right before 3am as I board the Aeroflot plane for the 7.5 hour leg of my adventure to Moscow. I travel for many reasons. The most important part of every one of my trips relates to the people I see and meet. I can travel to Beaumont, Texas for the forty sixth time or Paris, France for the first time and I get equally excited about seeing my friends in both places. The history in Paris obviously adds to my excitement. Some people collect bad habits. Some folks collect fancy, expensive, name brand handbags. I collect people. More than anything else in the world, I love the people I choose to surround myself with. Every trip I plan includes visiting friends. I keep up with folks. I pride myself on maintaining contact regularly with nearly everyone I know. Facebook and other new technologies help tremendously with this.
Now, at a very early hour on a Sunday, June 26, 2011; I find food in the Moscow airport before boarding the (under) four hour flight on into Berlin. Because of Miriam’s schedule I spend no time in Berlin other than the commute from the airport to the train station. I find the station with little effort or drama and enjoy the 35 minute journey to the large train station.
My destination on this Sunday puts me five hours (by train) outside of Berlin in Dusseldorf. Miriam and Christina live here.
One day in early September 2010 while taking the elevator down to the ground floor in my Mandarin school I listened to an attractive young lady and her two friends attempt to say, “excuse me,” in Mandarin. At this point in my Mandarin education I knew this particular phrase and interjected. I immediately offered my friendship and quickly learned that Miriam, from Germany, arrived a very short time before this encounter and would leave a few weeks later after an intensive Mandarin education. With the hand-off of my business card I said, “call me, I’ll be your friend during your visit.” Not 4 hours later I received an email and the very next evening we enjoyed cold beer together. Our friendship continues to this day.
During Miriam’s Beijing visit, my very dear friend from Spanish college in college visited while two of Miriam’s friends visited at the same time. We sent the three ladies off on their own a few times and we all spent time together at least once as well.
I exited the train from Berlin to Dusseldorf around 4pm that same Sunday afternoon. Because of the time difference my first day in Germany lasted many hours more than a normal 24 hour day. Not one minute after exiting the train Miriam found me. We ventured barely 12 minutes by light rail from the train station to her apartment. Ingal, her longtime companion greeted us and I enjoyed meeting a person I had heard so many nice things about. The quickly fed me bread, cheese, mustard, pretzels, and water. I had already eaten two sandwiches in the Berlin train station along with two airplane meals and a sandwich in the Beijing airport before flying away.
Christina, one of Miriam’s friends who visited in Beijing, arrived for a quick reunion before heading back to her home to freshen up before dinner. We all met for a traditional sour kraut, mashed potato, pork knuckle, and beer dinner. My meal disappeared quickly. My Sunday ended after 10pm when the sun finally set.
I slept all the way until 6:30am Monday morning. Ingal, Miriam, and I enjoyed breakfast together before Ingal ventured by trail three hours back to his city for a weeks worth of work.
Miriam and I biked the fourteen minutes to her office where she left me to begin my morning adventures alone on my borrowed bicycle. Dusseldorf history spans hundreds and hundreds of years. I noticed Starbucks, McDonalds, H&M, Gucci, LV, Coach, and many more stores in the city. The city also contains museums, old buildings, and wonderfully spectacular churches. I fed my internet addiction in a local Starbucks while sipping a tasty strawberry sugary beverage that Monday.
I found my way back to Miriam’s office for a 12:30 lunch walk. She graciously picked my lunch for me.