Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel
Hi from Flughafen München!
We’re on our way home. We’re flying with AirTransat, and although it’s cheap, it’s a bit of a hassle. Our flight to Germany wasn’t very comfortable: the seats are really close together (Neil’s knees hit the back of the seat in front of him), the food comes in cardboard boxes, and there’s little to no service from the flight attendants. Today we arrived at the airport 5 hours before the flight, and were told at the airport info booth that you cannot check in with AirTransat more than 3 hours before the flight. Okay, say Neil and I, and we go away for an hour and 15 minutes, have a bite to eat and then decide to head back to the check-in counter a bit early to see if their sign has been turned on, at least, so we can be the first in line. When we get to the counter, the line-up is already really long, and we’re clearly not the first in line. So, we wait in line, they open a second checked-luggage X-ray machine, and we get checked-in in about 45 minutes. Not bad. Then we discover we’re overweight by 8 kg, but we can’t repack our luggage because then we’ll have to get back in line to have it x-rayed again. Oh, and last night we spent about 2 hours trying to get through to AirTransat to find out about the new traveling regulations, etc., but all we got from AirTransat was an answering service where you select a number to get to another selection menu which brings you to another menu, and so on. I thought my brain was going to explode! Then the answering service gave a 1-800 number that turned out to be the same number as the first! Arrrggg…
But, back to the baggage. We can’t repack our luggage, and we’re irritable because of the hassles so far, so we begrudgingly fork over 40€, and chaulk one up to experience. Now we’ve gone through security, they’ve looked at and swabbed the laptop, checked out our cameras, and the sweet smell of perfume is wafting over from the duty free store. Too bad we’re broke!
Now, back to the puddles:
Aug. 25, DAY 17
Regina and Carston, our table mates from the wedding, invited us to Würzburg for the day. Regina met us at the train station, and we walked along the Main river past a cool landmark: the “Alter Kranen” a crane built in 1773 to load goods onto boats.
We then stopped for a bite to eat in a cute little restaurant to the left on the end of the bridge seen in the picture above. We had some regional delicacies and of course coffee and tea. After lunch, Regina took us for a walk around the town, until we came to the Wurtzburg Residence…
….a beautiful mansion, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Regina had seen it lots before and didn’t want to see it again, so she left us to our own devices for a couple of hours to check out the inside. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos inside the Residence, so we can’t show you the inside, but take it from us, it’s pretty damned nice. We saw many nice rooms all decked out with beautiful ornamentation made out of plaster, and the famous Mirror Room. Neil’s favorite though was the main staircase, and the ceiling fresco by artist Giovanni Tieopolo and his son, Domenico, above it. The roof structure was built to be a clear span of the room, and the architect’s rivals thought that it was too far a span and could not possibly hold the weight over time. Well, the architect, Balthasar Neumann, was eventually proven right when the roof caught fire during the war and the burning roof beams fell in on the ceiling supports. The ceiling held with a minor amount of damage to the fresco. After our wanderings we reconnected with Regina, who took us to her flat to meet up with her husband Carston, so we could go for a walk up to the Festung Marienburg.
The walk up to the Festung was beautiful, though Ingrid had another fateful encounter with a “tart” ripe apple. (Talk to Neil if you’re interested in seeing the video.) We walked through quiet little neighbourhoods, parks with exotic birds on display and eventually up to the gates of the Festung.
We finished our walk through and around the Festung, and then walked back to Regina and Carston’s place where we were treated to Regina’s first solo attempte at traditional Frankonian Onion Cake. Think quiche, only more onions. It was well prepared, and delicious as well. All we were missing was the traditional drink that accompanies this dish. As we understand it they start the wine making process but stop it after a week or two, which produces a very sweet drink that still has some alcohol in it. Unfortunately it is a seasonal autumn drink, and had not yet arrived on the store shelves in Würzburg when we were there. But I thought it went well with water, and Ingrid tells me that it tasted just fine with the local variety of beer she was drinking.
During and after dinner we entertained each other talking and telling stories. Regina told us that when she was cutting the onions for the onion cake, she put on her swimming goggles to keep her from crying. She was so funny, because she wears glasses, and when she had her goggles on, she couldn’t see what she was doing, but she said, triumphantly, “But I didn’t cry!” We laughed so hard when she told us how she prepared the many pounds of onions it takes to make the onion cake, so Carston ran and grabbed her goggles so she could model for us. It was hilarious! (Ingrid has secretly decided to try this technique the next time she cuts onions).
The only problem was we were having so much fun that we forgot to watch the clock, and had to race madly to the train station to catch our train back to Ansbach. Lucky for us the German precision train system was running 5 minutes late, so we managed to make it back to Ansbach with a minimum of hassle. Another great day!