It’s May – Let’s go hiking in Bavaria
I had been counting the days, weeks and months until my next train hike. The plan was to go hiking in Bavaria. I would start in Munich, set out with my huge backpack and yodel as I picked my way along the Romantic Road. Fate would have it otherwise. As the train approached in Munich I noticed.. Oh wait, are those snowflakes I see outside the train? The last minutes into the main station the white patches on the ground turned into a full snow storm. So it was that got off the train only to find myself in a full snowstorm, lugging my backpack to a cafe, wearing a tee and jeans. I took the first taxi to my hotel, and well, I yodelled my way to the bed to warm up and watch movies. That lasted for a day before I reluctantly headed to the Viktualienmarkt, stocked up on sausages, beer and bread, and continued my movie marathon.
Takeaway: Have a backup plan. Like, that doesn’t require good weather.
Finding a super cheap hotel in Frei.. Wait, what, where?
But, but, I’m in Freiburg. Or am I? I had begun my train hike early the same morning, rushed through Netherlands and changed train in Frankfurt, to continue further south as fast as possible. In the rush I had forgotten entirely about breakfast and lunch. Instead I managed to drink several cups of coffee until the passing scenery outside the train window seemed more like a carousel with funny moving characters swaying in the wind (trees, they call them.)
Early the same morning I had decided that I would go all the way to Freiburg. As the coffee begun to take effect and I was typing away happily on my laptop, that original idea faded somewhere after Frankfurt. “Oh, yeah, I need to reserve a hotel room.” So I went onto my favourite hotel booking platform online and typed in Frei.. and clicked Enter. “Wow, nice selection” I thought to myself as I picked a reasonable 3 star hotel, punched in my saved information into the web form and proceeded to pay for the booking.
Isn’t it a good feeling when you are just in time to do your bookings and having a real productive sprint on your laptop?! As you Alt-Tab between those windows you feel like a digital superman, getting so much done and even having the time to look out the window and pondering on the bliss of a spontaneous vacation!
So I arrive in Freiburg, get off the train and plant myself on a bench outside the train station. The sun is shining and I flip up my phone to check with Google Maps where to go. I quickly go to my hotel booking and just as I’m about to click the link, I panic. Frei, Frei..? FreiBERG? It’s a typo, surely. So I ask a passing man to give me directions. You know, just to give myself the opportunity to completely humiliate myself. And so I do. The man looks at the hotel and the address, looks at me, looks as the address and smiles before laughing out aloud. “East Germany!” I just look at him stupidly. “This is WEST Germany. That is EAST Germany, ja?!” It turned out that in my gleeful mood on the train I had booked a hotel room in Freiberg, Saxony, close to the Czech border. East Germany, East Germany. Yeah. So it was that I lost close to a 100 Euro and found myself a crappy room close to the centre for two days.
Takeaway: Just because you can switch between several things simultaneously, that does not mean you should that when you’re making hotel reservations. Or anything that costs you money. It might leave you stranded without a bed for the night.
How I successfully adjusted my contact lenses, classy like, in Paris
At least I looked good. My contact lenses just didn’t feel right. I had bought a new batch of contact lenses only days before, and my optician had been so sure that these would be better for me. Well, the contacts were swimming around freely and I felt like I was observing the world from behind a curved aquarium glass. Anyway, I had just arrived in Gare du Nord in Paris. I felt fresh, I had just had my breakfast on the train and I was set on exploring the old quartiers south of Ile de la Cité.
Those contact lenses just wouldn’t sit straight and I kept zigzagging between different streets, trying to find a café where I could sit down and adjust them. My early arrival wasn’t really helping me as there were no cafés open yet. So I strode along, trying to blink my contacts into place. “That’s funny” I remember thinking as I saw a weird reflection just ahead of me. Seconds later I was lying on the street, knocked out by a cafe glass door that had stood ajar.
The only positive aspect was that I could see very clearly as an old waiter came to help me up. Seems the glass door helped my contact lenses adjust. Only for a few seconds of course. I continued squinting as I limped on, after a couple of repeated “Merde, excuse me, is that door okay?”
Takeaway: Just squint AND look up, yeah? Or bring glasses, just in case.
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