I got where I was going eventually, so this isn’t a bad tale. It more of a ‘just another day dealing with reality’ sort of thing.
It began with getting to the airport, and that was a problem. I hadn’t expected any difficulty. Just get on the train, and get off. Simple. That’s how I had arrived in central Munich a week before. It was easy on the way in. So, on the way out of town, I got on the train that the nice lady at the counter told me to, and was at ease. I was relaxed in the knowledge that there was plenty of time.
But as I was riding along, the loud speaker said to change at a particular station, to connect to the airport. I thought the train I was riding on was headed to the airport, but I didn’t want to take any chances. So, if they say make a change, then that’s what I’ll do.
I get off the train, and in 15 minutes I get on the one they said. I had noticed that the sign showing which train was arriving had a clearly marked airport icon next to it. So, perfect, this new train would obviously go to the airport. I rode that train, and was checking the map on my phone when I noticed that we passed right by the airport. What? I asked the woman sitting nearby if she spoke English, since I knew no German at all, and then inquired about the situation. She proceeded to tell me that only half the train goes to the airport, and that I’m on the wrong half. How is that even possible?
But then somehow, she quickly came up with a plan for me. Wow, it’s wonderful when people are just plain nice good people. We got off at the next station. She walked me to the correct bus waiting area, assuring me that this was the fastest way to get to the airport. I thanked her, and she walked off.
Then I tried not to get nervous about the time. This schedule wasn’t in my plan. Would the airport be crowded? Would it take a long time to get through security? Was this really the right bus? Of course it was, but my nerves were getting nervy.
Waiting took awhile, then riding took longer. Buses are not what you’d call a super efficient method of transportation. Plenty of time was available for me to conjure up more problems to come. There’s so many little details when traveling. Which stop to get off at the airport for instance. Fortunately, I chose the right one. I did ask the guy next to me and he agreed that the one I had theorized was right, was right, so done, I used that one.
Then I had to remember what airline I was on. I’ve got tons of planes and trains on this trip. Thankfully I printed everything out and piled it up in order. Yup, start at the top and work my way down during the trip. Strangely, the airport was practically empty. What a relief. If you’ve ever been in a large airport when there’s thousands of people, endless long lines, and painful waiting times, then you know what I was imagining as a worst case scenario.
None of that happened. Once I arrived at the airport, it was smooth all the way to the gate. But at the gate they said the plane was overbooked. They wanted to take my luggage and stick it below. I avoided that, luckily. Then I saw that I was in the last ‘zone’ to board. Lots of people from the later zones tried to go early, but in this case, for once, they were turned back. When I did finally get on the plane, avoiding another person who was taking baggage for below, I got just about the last available slot for my carry on in the overhead storage.
Arriving at CDG in Paris, I had the worlds shortest commute to my airport hotel, but successfully made a mistake with that too. After walking halfway around the airport to get to the helpfully labeled train to airport hotels, I used my finely honed French language skills to misread the moving sign, thinking it said the platforms were closed. I went back up, wasted another 30 minutes before returning, after being assured that the platforms being closed was totally completely unlikely.
Well, one was, but the other one worked just fine. I got on, then I got off, and got to an information booth seconds before the gentleman shut the window, got directions that would be extremely difficult to fail at, and headed for the hotel.
It took a bit to find the front door, but really there’s only so many sides to a building. Upon registering, I was helpfully informed of the incredibly expensive food available for the so appreciated guests. I balked at that idea. But, as I headed for the elevator, a second helpful person for the day overheard, and gave me a tip about where to get much more modestly priced food. There really are nice people at large in the world. And so, eventually, I found myself looking out a big window with a decent view, eating my more affordable items comfortably. Another day complete. Another city.