blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Moving on: back to Germany

God rejse, said the signs in Kastrup airport (CPH, Copenhagen), when I dropped my case there well before daybreak on Tuesday, December 4th. I'd been up since the alarm rang at 5:30 and had had my feet cooled in the slush on Femøren station platform. I was glad that I'd had time to serve myself from the hotel breakfast bar because my last cooked meal had been the grillet laks mid afternoon in the city the previous day and I don't function well when I'm hungry. When I boarded my 'plane to Stuttgart (pictured here on the right) I had to wade through more slush and up the metal steps, getting my gloves wet on the handrail.

After all these years of it, I still love flying; I especially love piercing the pink cloud tops to get a serving of early morning sun with my on board cup of tea. It wasn't a long flight; the other passengers all seemed to be businessmen / businesswomen. On the descent through many layers of stratus I kept catching glimpses of the Black Forest that had turned white from the recent snow. Stuttgart lies in a basin surrounded by hills; the lower land was still green.

STR was an easy airport to cross and I was soon on the S-Bahn, S2, change at Rohr, where I had no more than three minutes wait for my connecting train on the S1 line, arriving on the other side of the platform, but when I reached Böblingen it was discouraging to realise that the S60 to Sindelfingen (the line under construction when we came here last year) was still under construction, at least on that day; my connecting train had been replaced by a bus. I'd noticed a taxi rank as we drew in so I went for a taxi instead. The driver wanted to tell me about Hallowe'en and its Irish origins at great length, in Schwäbisch, switching to a stilted Hochdeutsch when he realised I couldn't follow.
Our sitting room in Sindelfingen

The Sindelfingen Hotel am Klostersee, familiar from last year's visit, let me have the key to our room, but the cleaner was still working on it so I dumped the luggage and went out again. With breakfasts included, we got two rooms this time––a suite!––for a very reasonable price. That was novel, but the hotel is aging, the wi-fi link inaccessible from our end of the building, and our heating didn't work. I mentioned this to the receptionist and she came round with a plumber later in the day, standing over him while he repaired the radiator.

That morning I went straight to my old haunts around the Sindelfingen Radhausplatz, finding the coffee place I liked last time, the post office where I've now bought stamps for my postcards and Christmas cards two years in a row and the shopping mall with the Woolworth's, selling inexpensive objects. I bought a €2 woolly hat for Chris because he'd left one behind in Ottawa and would doubtless be suffering from cold ears after his night in Norway. Then it was time for lunch. I chose a gemütliches Wirtshaus in a 16th century corner of the town, Zum Erdinger, which had no free table left, so I had to share one with two elderly gentlemen who proceeded to chat me up over my soup and Schnitzel "...grosse Portionen und freundliche Bedienung...", one of them knocking back several glasses of red wine while waiting for his (much) younger wife: 44, she was, apparently. He told me he was 73. She did show up eventually, a good looking woman, and after I'd been introduced I averted my eyes for a while but overheard their kisses. She was being very solicitous towards him, making sure he'd taken his pills.

Goldberg water tower, in the distance,
 seen from our hotel room
That was the day when, after dark, I got lost trying to find the Goldberg S-Bahnstation. I made the mistake of not making for the summit of the Goldberg, where the water tower is, before turning downhill, and ended up in an industrial estate, on a grass verge leading to a motorway, in a state of alarm. If I'm ever there again, here's a note to remind me that I must keep walking along Lange Anwanden, continue up the footpath with the steps, then turn left onto the Dresdenerstraße beyond the water tower and right onto the Leipzigerstraße, if I want to get it right. I retraced my route, peered at the maps by the bus stops, tried again, and after an hour's walking finally made it to the station, getting quite warm and damp in the rain, only to find I still had to wait another 25 minutes for the next train. Still, it brought me back to the airport (changing at Rohr again) so that I was able to greet Chris, tired and late from his Oslo-Copenhagen-Stuttgart journey but in good spirits, because he'd enjoyed talking to some kindred spirits who create software for deep sea oil rigs.

We hailed a taxi back to the hotel and slept soundly.

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