Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Thirty-Six Hours

I left home on Monday morning at 9:00 and was back home yesterday. Tuesday, at precisely 9:00 pm.
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.
Breakfast was excellent, and we resumed our work at 9:00 the next morning. Again, an intense day with plenty to digest in terms of information. Lunch break was welcome and the food once more very 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.


  1. Oh! You will be in England for your birthday, right? That will be great! You writing of Berlin has made me think of my Dad and all those years ago of his time there when he was only 18. German was the first other language I heard as a child, he would often use words as he was cooking! Hope you have all your work sorted out before your holiday in Yorkshire! Drink Yorkshire tea for me!

    1. I will, Kay - my sister always makes sure we have a good supply at the cottage, as it is her preferred drink there, too.
      Yes, my birthday this year will be celebrated by having champagne afternoon tea at Swinton Park!

  2. It's always good to get an update on what's been happening in your life. I can certainly relate to your story about the wind. That's not an uncommon situation here. The storm had passed when I went for my walk in the woods this morning but I looked at some of the damage the storms have done this last few weeks and thought that I wouldn't be walking around in some of the winds we've had recently.

    Air travel is another matter. Oddly when I used to fly up and down the Islands in a small plane and to and from Glasgow almost weekly for a period, I was never afraid. I don't know why. I think it's because I'm usually only afraid of things over which I have control. So rock climbing scared the life out of me. However abseiling is a sport I absolutely loved. Fear is weird.

    1. Fear is weird, indeed. Many more folks die in car accidents, and yet billions get into a car every day without a second thought, while flying frightens many people.The small planes are no problem for me - it is when I am in a big one and far away from the pilot that I start to feel uneasy. It doesn't make sense, but that's how it is.

  3. Oh! As I read this post, you must be at the airport, in the air or just arrived! The weather here sounds as if it has been similar to Germany, even down to the high winds, and frankly it's not that great now, but luckily when you're meeting people that kind of thing isn't very important. I hope that you have a lovely holiday in England!

    1. Thank you, Jenny - but it is Thursday next week, not this one, that we're flying to England :-)
      You are right about the weather; although we like walk-friendly weather for our holiday, we won't mind the odd rainy day in between - we have our cottage, friends and family nearby.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you, Kristi, for this very kind wish!