Saturday, 13th October. I’m on my way home. In fact I’m half way there – I’m sitting at Starbucks Coffee (not drinking coffee, but the chair is comfy) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after a 12 hour flight from Frankfurt, Germany.
I left on a cold and rainy day, the visibility very poor as we took off at 12:45 this afternoon. I didn’t get to see any of Frankfurt – I’d caught the train to Frankfurt from Eichstatt (a station that seemed in the middle of nowhere because we’d taken the scenic way) after spending a few days with Elke, my German sister.
I’d arrived in Ingolstadt late on Tuesday night after a train ride from Venice. Elke was there to pick me up and we drove the half hour to Eichstatt, arriving at about 11pm.
She was thrilled to see me:
The next day we went to Nürnberg on the train. It has some beautiful cathedrals and a castle.
On our way back we stopped in a supermarket and I couldn’t resist taking a photo – and was promptly told off. The only word I understood was ‘forbidden’ … Elke explained that I was from another planet which didn’t allow alcohol to be sold in supermarkets. That appeased the situation – the woman who had told me it was forbidden looked at me pityingly – I wasn’t sure if it was because I was an alien or because my planet was so unsophisticated.
The next morning we wandered around Eichstatt, before having lunch.
Oohing and aahing over the autumn colours I noticed this quite macabre site over the river – a stark reminder of the past (quite a sobering one):
But the town really is very pretty … the autumn colours are deep and gorgeous.
Elke showed me her folk dancing skills before taking me on a very scenic route to the railway station. The scenic route involved a dirt road through a forest and a sudden U-turn but I had every confidence that Elke knew where she was going.
It was time for me to leave – a very (very) short visit – and I headed off to Frankfurt via Munich. I had a little time to spare in Munich so that I’d go for a walk around the city closest to the train station. It became clear very quickly that this wasn’t the ‘nice’ part of town, so I cut my walk short and wandered around the station instead.
The train ride to Frankfurt was uneventful – and then things got interesting. I had directions to my hotel from the airport train station, but I’d arrived at the main station. Hmmm … I found the tourist office and asked the girl how to get to the airport hotel I had booked and she told me to take the S7 train (I didn’t have to pay for it) and I’d find my way from there.
Have you ever been in a foreign country, on a train, and not known the train station to get off at, and how to know which station you at? I was staying at Morfelden-Walldorf and when I got on the train I found a station map. There was a station called Morfelden and one called Walldorf. Hmmm … it was dark by this time (about 8:30 at night) and I alighted from the station, searching vainly for a taxi. Nope, not a one in sight. I crossed the road and went into a shop. The Indian boy behind the counter said that he wasn’t from around here and couldn’t help me. A customer in the shop couldn’t help me either.
I walked up the street a little way and came upon another shop. It was shut, as was the next one, and the next one. Finally, I found one that was open. I asked the girl behind the counter if she knew where the hotel was. She didn’t. I asked her if she knew where I could get a taxi from. She didn’t.
But then she had a brain wave and looked up the number for the taxi and rang one for me. She wouldn’t take any money for the call. I was very (very) appreciative. The taxi duly arrived and we drove for a few miles in the rain; I was glad I hadn’t decided to walk.
Sleep … walk to the bus stop in the rain (lucky I had my rain coat) … bus … shuttle … wait wait wait …. plane.
And here I am. In Kuala Lumpur waiting for my second last flight before I get home. I leave here at 9:30 (local time) and arrive in Melbourne at about 9:30 – too late for a flight to Tassie, so an overnight in Melbourne, and then, finally, home to Tim.