Jet lag or just circadian rhythm confusion? After I left Italy less than two weeks ago I got one of the viruses floating around…not the flu, not covid but a nasty cold or rsv…fortunately I recovered in time to fly back to Europe on Friday to play a couple of German team matches. I play the first one tomorrow, on May Day (May 1st, a holiday here in Germany similar to Labor Day in the USA).

Airline/travel content…skip if you aren’t interested in it!) I had interesting routing to Germany…decided to drive to LA to get better routing and at 1:15 in the morning there was no traffic and it was an easy drive. I actually arrived at the airport too early, at 3am (the counters only opened at 4am for Jet Blue). I parked at the Hilton which I booked early (which mattered, the price was higher later when I looked again). I had a window seat and the mountains were beautiful so early in the morning. I flew to JFK and connected to Condor, a German airline. JFK has 7 or 8 terminals and if you have to transfer terminals you have to go through security again. Terminal 7 needs a refresh (and there’s no really TSA precheck, though there’s a shorter line). Boarding was late and chaotic…the PA system did not work and the employees were making people put their carryons in the sizer (I would advise waiting in the back to board, away from the employees!). It’s a domino effect…the plane was late because of a late arrival into JFK…and the on the tarmac longer because the flight missed it’s take-off slot. We landed over an hour late and I thought I had missed my train to Essen from Frankfurt…I had less than an hour to get my bags, clear passport control and find the train track (which involved several escalators and a long walk/jog)…but I made it, a direct train to Essen…which of course was delayed due to work/accident on the track. After all that I only ended up in Essen 40 minutes late, walked to my hotel and was able to get into my room early.

After dropping my bags I walked to pick up my rental car and ran into a street fair of sorts and just had to buy some of the beautiful strawberries (which were delicious and a different variety than we normally have in the USA, these were long and pointy and very sweet and soft), and a sandwich. Most people were buying jumbo white asparagus though, a delicacy in Germany this time of year (probably because it’s prepared with lots of cream and butter).

After picking up my car I went to the grocery store to get some great German bread and other food and water. I went to an Aldi which was a bit disappointing (other than the bread)…it had more non-food stuff than food I think. It was an Aldi Nord, which owns Trader Joe’s in the USA. In Germany you have to put a gadget that shows the time you parked your car on your dash or you can get towed!

After lunch I walked around the Center City, which was packed with people strolling, eating (French fries, ice cream and cake seemed to be the top sellers) and shopping. I walked into a pretty church, and found a Decathalon store (sort of like a Dick’s Sporting goods meets Big 5) which sold everything from darts and bocce balls to tennis and equestrian gear (but no pickle ball gear, only tennis, padel, ping pong, badminton and squash). I got some tennis balls (never complain about the prices of tennis balls in the USA again!) and walked back to my hotel.

So ended Day 1 of my Germany trip. Day 2 to follow soon.

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