Germany

Well, I’ve made it to Germany.

How did I get here? I woke up this morning just past 7am with what can only be described as a hangover. If I had had anything to drink the night before it would make sense. I didn’t – apart from a small glass of wine with my dinner, so it was just a normal headache. I often get them when I’ve got a few days off. It’s as if my body can’t quite relax and believe that it won’t be squashed behind a desk for hours, hovering over a keyboard if I’m lucky or just my work laptop if I can’t find a desk with a docking station to fit my laptop. Yep, my employer though it would be a great idea to hand everybody a laptop – and I agree. However, unfortunately, over the years we’ve ended up with a mix of older and newer models of laptops, and the newer models won’t fit into the old style docking stations.  

Anyhoo, I woke up with a headache and feeling a bit sick. Nothing that a good strong cup of Yorkshire tea and a fried egg bagel can’t deal with. No, seriously, it wasn’t a hangover but it sure felt like one. As I said good bye to my housemates, I was getting quite excited about the prospect of my impending holidays.  

Naturally, I started packing in stages, as some of my clothes were still slightly damp. Whip on the boiler and hike up the heat. My flight was at 4pm and it doesn’t take long to get to Leeds airport so I wasn’t too worried. I even took the time to dye my hair and only realised 20 minutes later that I accidentally had grabbed my housemates’s hair dye! Whose hair is darker than mine! The dye had turned dark brown – my hair is supposed to be blond! ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck’ – I think those were the words I used as I panic-stricken grabbed the shower head and started washing the brown stuff of my hair – with no regard to my eyes. It’s a miracle that I can still see. It wasn’t that bad though – just a darker blond, so I’m alright. 

Despite the raised blood pressure my headache was still there.  After a round of paracetamol, followed by ibuprofen not much later, I had to admit that the headache was here to stay. It was ok, just a lingering pain in the back of my head, more annoying than anything else really. I got on a bus to Leeds Centre and then took a bus to the airport. £6.80 I paid – ha, eat that flipping rip off Heathrow Express! Got to the airport and was through security in 10 minutes – and that includes taking off belt and shoes and then getting dressed again in front of a bunch of strangers. I hate this whole airport procedure.

I had hand luggage only as I wasn’t prepared to pay £47 pounds for my luggage when the flight itself was only £82 something. So, feeling adequately dressed again, I followed the signs to the shops. I nearly had another heart attack when I only saw one duty free shop and several eateries, but not the Boots advertised on the website. However, I then realised where to go and found Boots, WHS and something similar to a pub. I spent a bloody fortune in Boots as all my toiletries are over the recommended 100mls. 

I hate the whole business of flying. Not because I hate flying. I hate the fact the airlines make you pay a fortune to check in your luggage. Or to simply pick a seat. They want me to pay to pick a seat! They want me to pay for going online, hovering over a model of rows of seats and clicking the mouse to choose one. As far as I am concerned I am doing all the work here! I should get paid! As I’m travelling on my own I couldn’t care less where I sit, so got an allocated seat for free. Ha, come the revolution…!

Because nobody wants to add an extra 50% to the price of one’s flight to simply check in luggage, most people do short distance and mini holidays now with hand luggage only. Meaning, one has to either parade one’s possessions in a plastic bag round for everyone to see what shampoo or deodorant one uses (and not just any plastic bag – I once had to purchase a small clear plastic bag for a pound – a pound! – because my freezer bag had some writing on it), or one has to spend a fortune on mini toiletries in the airport shop. The same goes for drinks. Because of certain events I shall not go into here, one has to leave all liquids behind. Or, as one of my friends once put it – it’s obviously a risk for me to carry a bottle of sparkling Harrogate water past security but it’s alright to throw all those potential bombs into a bin right next to where everybody else is getting undressed to make it through the beeper thing. Which often gets set off by my bra anyway. And the whole procedure won’t stop anybody from flying a plane into a high rise as we all know.

As one has to be at the airport 2 hours in advance, one has to purchase a bottle of water for double the amount one would pay in a shop in order to not perish from thirst. In my case, I usually then throw all caution to the wind and end up buying some brown fizzy drink (at that stage I simply don’t care anymore that fizzy drinks melt the enamel off my teeth), plus a bag of crisps and some chocolate. I did exactly that today.

To be fair, I’ve rarely had such a smooth journey to the airport than I had today. This was my first time flying from Leeds and I liked it a lot. Anyhoo, got on the plane, was sat next to a hottie and the world made sense again. There were a lot of drunk middle aged men on the plane, going to some football game. It could have been worse, I guess. The flight was very wobbly – I once grabbed the seat in front of me and hottie didn’t even spare me a sympathetic smile, so I went right off him. However, me made it and I marched straight through the automatic passport control in Düsseldorf. Another smooth ride.

Knowing that my aunt would pick me up from the train station in Remagen, I followed the signs to the airport train station. A shuttle train, or ‘Sky Express’, goes straight there. Whilst waiting for the train I read a notice stating that it was illegal to go on a train without a ticket. I didn’t at first pay it any attention, I thought it was just a general warning, but then the good old German doubt crept in and I checked with a fellow passenger. Yep, one has to pay to get the train from the airport to the airport train station! They should have put some better signs up – I bet loads of non-German-speakers travel without a ticket and who can blame them! I also still have no idea whether I purchased the right ticket (in case you’re ever in that situation I got a Kurzstrecke ticket – short distance ticket- as I didn’t think the airport train station would be that far away from the airport. Heck, I like to live dangerously 🙂

Got to the station only to find out that I missed my train by 5 minutes and had to wait 55 minutes. Not impressed. But I donned my headphones, got Bruce ‘the Boss’ up, and started writing this little beauty. Time flew and at least the train was bang on time.

It’s weird being back in Germany. I’ve not been for a while. My housemate’s dad asked me if I was looking forward to going home. And then, as if it was an afterthought he said: ‘If it is still home.’ And I must admit, it isn’t. I’ve not lived in Germany for 14 years. I feel quite alien in certain situations – especially on my first day back. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great catching up with family and friends, but I know it’s only temporary. As soon as I touch English ground again I feel as if I know the all rules. I feel slightly hesitant and out of my depth as times in Germany. I can’t quite explain the feeling. It’s as if I should know how things work, but I don’t anymore. But people expect me to. Because being German I should know how everything works in Germany. I guess, I’ve been away for too long 🙂  

I have now finally made it to my aunt’s house, who promptly told me there are no baby goats yet. Shut. The. Front. Door! But my uncle is building a guest house and I can help tomorrow!

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