23 May 2008

Something of a Misadventure

Traveling light with the 80s blue duffel bag and arnis sticks.

After being through backpacking hell and high water (e.g. sleeping on freezing park benches and in other public places) you develop a certain kind of traveling hubris when it comes to "winging it". Although the map said that the house was just "a few steps" from the bus stop, I was still at the airport, and it was getting late.

Frankfurt Airport is no joke. It is big, with several terminals. I tried to use the phone and dialed "Information", but the guy told me that he had nothing to say about trains. And so I looked for the Deutsch Bahn office, where they sold me a ticket (53 € from Frankfurt to Bonn!) with German details, and told me that my train leaves in five minutes.

This is an alternate universe where things are always on time, so I ran, asked searched for the right platform, hopped on the ICE train (a high speed baby which "enjoys highest reputation"), then I dozed off in my seat. Luckily, not before asking the man beside me if I was on the right train to Bonn Siegburg.

"Attention please, we are in Bonn Siegburg". It was not the train announcement speaking, but the man beside me, as he poked me awake. I said "Danke" and got off, and went down the escalator to the tram station, bought a random ticket on the machine (they never check anyway), and rode to Bonn Hauptbahnhof (very useful word, it means central station).

German, German, German girls, waiting for a late night tram.

From here I took a bus (only after a policeman told me my map was wrong and tried to get me to take another tram). The driver couldn't speak English and let me on for free, and sent me off at the Annaberger Street stop with well wishes.

"A few steps away" from the bus stop turned out to be, initially, fifteen minutes past small-town shops, a school, and empty phone booths.

Oh the sturdy look to this indigenous phone booth! Doesn't it make you want to call someone... anyone.

Luckily, I came across Sebastian, a friendly stranger. Even more luckily, he happened to rent a room in the house I was going to, and (damn I am lucky) he let me put my bag on his stroller. That sounds dirty, but I mean it quite literally, as you will see below. Haus Annaberg was actually another thirty minutes from where I was. And it was inside a forest!

Sebastian is bananas, though he prevented me from having a really good story to tell.

I never would have figured that out. I would have plopped down in exhaustion by the side of the road (serious). I am glad I didn't, though, as temps dropped to freezing after a few hours.

I arrived before my hosts, who drove in a van from Berlin. I could only laugh at my lack of due diligence. It is my fault, it is always my fault. Sometimes I think I do it on purpose.

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