Friday, November 26, 2010

Trains don't Leave Köln - They only Arrive... That includes Trains of Thought

As you can see from the new album featured on the right, recently I was have been traveling. I use the term recently quite loosely. Most of this trip has been recounted to my Grandmother through her sister and thus to my entire family so that is why it took me so long to write something about it - the sense of urgency was gone... Everyone knows that I saw lots of people, and Yes, I did get new boots. Also, the other reason is I am lazy.

So, back to the vacation. I took another trip North during the time of year when people go South. But when in search of Dutch look-a-likes you should probably head to the Netherlands. I took a twenty hour train ride through Austria and all of Germany which was very pretty. Next time I will think I might get off the train, as it looked very nice from the window of a train.

What you may not know is Holland is heaven, they sell fish everywhere, and FRIES with creamy type curry sauce or mayonnaise (different then North American mayonnaise), they sell delicious candy and beautiful shoes, also Vla. Have you had Vla? I am seriously considering an underground Vla smuggling business. How is it that Dutch imports in Canada are only windmill cookies and pickled herring? Is Holland's lack of Vla export a way to encourage tourism? Kudos to you Holland, excellent plan!

Another thing my Grandma might not have know that in a bar in Enschede, with my mother's cousins daughter (family tree geeks you can find the correct term for that on your own time) someone who went to the U of A and lived in HUB. He hated it and I am not surprised. I don't think anyone enjoys living in a concrete room with windows into a shopping mall food court.

I also went to Groningen and met more family and my Grandmother's sisters met me at the train station. They also waited for my train to leave on the platform waving and blowing kisses which was exceedingly cute and wonderful.

After this though, I went to Munster, Germany. Germany's bike capital, with its famous bike 'highway' going around the city center and largest bike parkade. Ooooo Aaaa Wow!

When my friend and I were heading back to Budapest we boarded our train bound for Koln and about 20 minutes outside the city there is an announcement in German that they are repairing the tracks and we will be about 10 minutes delayed. The English announcement was that we would be delayed. Max and I only had ten minutes to make our next connection so that is a bit worrying. But, this was GERMANY, Land of Trains and Schedules - everything should have been just fine.

Then the train stops. For 15 minutes. I do quick calculations and based on my poor train math problem solving skills I still believe we can make it if the train just drives faster. Another announcement in German, apologizing profusely, explaining the delay and the connection options once we get there. The announcement in English is that we are going to be 30 minutes or more delayed - no apologies for us English speakers.

Well now we've missed our train completely... Unless our train goes into makes the jump into FTL (Faster Than Light) speed we aren't going to make it (I have seen one episode of Star Gate Universe where that can happen).

So eventually we arrive in Koln, people are everywhere, trains of all kinds are delayed to upwards of 80 minutes or more and all the announcements in English are providing little helpful information. "Ten minutes delayed, go to track 3", "20 minutes delay, go to track 9", "another 15 minutes delayed". In German they gave friendly advice and explanations for delays.


We spent the next three or so hours sitting on various platforms (which by the way is ILLEGAL), getting official papers stamped, and waiting in various information lines until we eventually get on a train to Munich.

But get this! We get into Munich so late that our only option is the night train to Budapest. But wait, there is more!!! We've already been delayed for so long that we are offered a four star hotel room in Munich and a free breakfast instead. OHHHH YEAH!

Long story - short. I have been to Munich and have met someone who claimed to be German James Bond (scuba diver for the German Military looking for fish that will make the German soldier STRONGER). Best lie ever told!

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