Where was I in the 36 hours in between, and what did I do?
Berlin called - I went to attend a meeting with other heads of regional groups of my country's association of Data Protection Officers. We worked hard for 1 1/2 days, starting at 3:00 pm on Monday and finishing at 3:00 on the next day.
When the invitation arrived, I had my colleague check out flight and train times for me, as well as ticket prices for both means of transport. That flying would be the quickest way was no surprise. But isn't it absurd that the price for a tain ticket was, even with going half-price because of my annual ticket, more than twice as much as for the plane? Therefore, even knowing that travelling by train is much more environmentally friendly than by plane, the decision was a no-brainer.
On Sunday, we'd been having stormy weather. There were storm warnings out, and in some areas of Germany, all train traffic was stopped. Amazingly enough, air traffic went on almost as usual.
O.K. and I were out for a walk on the fields - we did not dare walk in woodland - and I am not kidding when I tell you that we could properly lean into the wind without falling over. Few other people were about, and walking against the wind required an effort similar to running. Still, it was fun playing with the wind, and keeping a safe distance to trees, we didn't feel in any danger.
By Monday, the worst of the storm was over, but it still very windy, and the first half of the flight to Berlin was rather wobbly. Although I do fly fairly regularly and have no problem with small aircraft where I can sit next to the pilot and see everything that's going on, I simply do not feel comfortable on larger passenger planes where I don't know what is happening at all times. Call me silly, but I was worried and frightened. Reading, praying or talking to other passengers helps, though, and I applied all those strategies successfully.
Once in Berlin, a fellow Data Protection Officer and I teamed up for a taxi to the hotel and arrived well in time. I could even retreat for my room and rest for about an hour before joining the others downstairs in front of our conference room for coffees and snacks - the latter being very welcome, since breakfast had been before 8:00, and by now it was after 2:00 pm.
The afternoon was filled with intense work and important information. At 7:00 pm, we all went for dinner at a nearby steak house. It was extremely noisy in there and very warm. so that our group left rather soon after the meal. This gave me again time to relax in my hotel room, talking to O.K. on the phone and reading before lights out.
|As you can see, my room was spacious, modern and spotlessly clean|
|I have deliberately left the window frame in the picture, so that you can see how close to the train station I was. It did not make exactly for a quiet night. If I'll be in the same hotel again, I'll ask for a room to the back.|
|I doubt anyonw chooses this hotel for its views - but catering and service are really good.|
A little after 3:00 pm, we were back on a taxi on our way to the airport, and just after 6:00 pm, I was aboard the plane that took me back to Stuttgart in about 50 minutes - really just a short hop. It took about another hour to get from the south of Stuttgart, where the airport is, to Ludwigsburg, which is situated north of the big city.
When I closed the door of my flat from the inside, it was precisely 9:00 pm, and I was happy to be home.
Now I need to get ready for a busy day at the office. My clients have work for me, and my colleagues want a summary of what I've been learning over the last two days.
My next flight is not far away - Thursday next week, my sister and I will be flying to England.