Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Zonk Out

Planes are not allowed to stay on the tarmac for more than three hours, and after two, we were pushing it close on Saturday, when our U.S. Airways pilot announced that we were finally second in line for take off. Then ... oops! The wing of our plane clipped the tail of another, and the rest is Murphy's Law fulfilled.

Lucky for me, I was sitting next to a woman in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Djibouti, Africa, who flies all the time. She gave me the play-by-play: they will call maintenance, the pilots will have to be drug tested, we'll deplane and they'll rebook our flights and reserve us hotel rooms. 

She was right.

Four hours, four new friends, and a free hotel later, we joked about the adventure. Tori, the U.S. Navy She-Ra I teased was from Planet Positive, helped me not feel too sorry for myself for losing a day of my big vacation.

The next morning at 4:30 a.m., I was headed back to the airport for my flight to Dulles. A six hour layover, then off to Frankfurt. This time with Lufthansa - Ja wohl! I love Lufthansa. Every seat has a headrest and a movie screen, and despite international terrorism paranoia, you get to eat with real, not-plastic, cutlery. It was a turbulent ride, and I was dead tired. I got to sit next to a 19-year old Army guy, who reveled in ordering a glass of wine. When I told him I was ready to zonk out he said, 'What do you know about zonking?'  Fun fact: Zonk is a unofficial Army command used at PT formations during unusually bad weather. Entire units run off screaming to their barracks when they hear the command; otherwise, they end up running five miles in the freezing rain. It's probably one of the few Army Cercies - a surprise reprieve from the routine.

Touchdown Germany at 5 a.m. Monday. Fast train (ICE) to Cologne from Frankfurt (it arrived pünktlich right at 7:09 a.m.). Taxi from the Dome Hauptbahnhof, and a lovely greeting from my friend and host Bill when I finally arrived. Bill has a fantastic apartment near Rudolfplatz in Cologne, on a street lined with chic stores. A quick coffee, a key exchange, and he was off to work. I was off to Sleepy Town.

Several hours later, I resurfaced and made plans to meet up with the lovely Christine and Edith. Christine works in a funky office space in Köln as a freelance writer. I met her there, and we walked to a corner cafe for a celebratory Sprizz Aperol. 'Auf Dich,' said Christine, which made me feel loved.

You'll understand if my blog turns out to be a litany of cafes and cocktails. After all, I'm on vacation, and it's Europe, people!

Post-Aperol, Christine and I set off to meet Edith, the Power Frau, for a tour of the auto shop she runs as part of the family business.

And then it was time for my first Kölsch. Prost! Kölsch is the local beer of Köln (Cologne), and a fine beer indeed. A typical German meal of white asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, potatoes and ham, and we're off to the next joint for another Kölsch. They come in such small glasses. You have to drink more than one!

No zonking today. It's such nice weather in Germany, and one shouldn't take that for granted. So enough blogging. I'm off to walk along the Rhein and check out the new mixed use development on the water called Rheinauhafen. There should be some good shopping there, and it's near the Chocolate Museum.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lovely adventure thus far Travel Frau! Please tell me more about the Chocolate Museum. It's 2:15 p.m. here on a Tuesday at work, and what I wouldn't do to be in a chocolate museum right now!!! Love your posts and love you too!