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29 June, 2014

21 days in Europe begins now (well, sort of)

Today is the first day of 21 days in Europe. Actually, it is the 10th day of 31 days in Europe, but I will start counting today, since it's the day that my travel partner has arrived. Thus, it's the day that this ceases to be exclusively a "work trip." Though, strictly speaking, even that's not true, since I had two weekend excursions to Innsbruck and Zugspitze, but let's call that "Work" and start counting from here.

I went to the airport this morning to meet Allie, and had everything planned to the minute. I would arrive exactly when her plane landed, and it would be (as the Seinfeld episode from years ago said) "The Perfect Pickup." But, as it turns out, I made a boo-boo. I forgot two things: (1) which direction is the airport, and (2) which day of the week the trains run. So, I walked from the hotel to Hauptbahnhof, proud of myself for walking, instead of getting on the train. When I arrived, I had a struggle (even with English language chosen) to figure out which train ticket I should purchase that would make the most sense for 3 one-way trips to/from airport (me there, both of us coming back). When I found the best option, I tried to purchase, and discovered that my credit card(s) would not work. On multiple machines, I tried, to no avail. So I went to the DB ticket counter, to be reprimanded for not taking a number (how could I have known?), already worrying that I would be late, and I found out that my card didn't work because you can only buy the partner tickets with credit card from the ticket counter, not a machine. Again, how could I have known?

Next, I go to the station, and I discover that the only way to get to the airport on Sunday from this location is to take the S-bahn and head back in the direction I came! I had to ride the two stops to Marienplatz, then another 3 stops to Ostbahnhof, where I would switch trains, and then get on S8 to the airport, whereas on a weekday, I could have taken S1 directly to the airport in the opposite direction (the routes run in a circle in opposite direction... except on Sundays). I knew this, but I didn't fully understand it, and I brain-farted on the Hauptbahnof versus Ostbahnhof directional details.

So, I figured I would be late now, by a lot.

But it turned out that I was not late at all, and the timing was perfect. So it's a good thing I didn't get particularly upset about the whole thing.

We took the train together back to Hauptbahnhof (this time on the S1, which does run in that direction), and then walked the rest of the way from there, about a half hour, weaving between huge crowds of people that had either participated in, or observed a road race that had happened earlier in the day.

After resting for a while and doing a little yoga (as in, a 3 hour nap, which I needed just as much as Allie, even though I was not the one who was supposedly jet-lagged), we went on a moderate length walk, just around the general neighborhood of Altstadt, just to get some air. The weather wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. Then we went to dinner at a place called Kull Buffet, in the neighborhood of the hotel. It is a very nice place with great atmosphere and extremely nice service. It's owned by the same company that owns the hotel, but I didn't know that until after the fact. It was Wienerschnitzel Sunday, so that's what we had, along with Bartkartoffeln, both of which were great. And that was it for the evening of the first day.

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