Planes, Trains and Automobiles: USA to Germany (With a Detour to Amsterdam)

Wednesday and Thursday I travelled to Essen, Germany (near Dusseldorf) for the German team finals. My trip to Europe, which was not expected to involve train travel nor a stop in Amsterdam included both.

My flight to JFK was on time..early even. And at the end of my plane trips I was reunited with my baggage. I arrived on time…early even. That was where the predictable part of my journey ended.

Just as we were taking off for JFK, I got a notification that my flight was delayed by nearly 4 hours out of JFK to Frankfurt, meaning the plane was going to depart at nearly 11pm. I was afraid it would be cancelled (update: it did take off, over four hours late), and it was too late to call Delta before taking off, so I spent much of the first part of my flight chatting with a representative to clarify my options for a different flight or rather flights. (Very good thing I had downloaded the Delta app to my phone before leaving!) In the end I was able to be rerouted through Amsterdam to Frankfurt. I couldn’t get boarding passes till I got to the airport in New York. I went to my gate requested boarding passes did not look at them immediately and when I did, I realized they were for someone else. Not only did I not have the right seats, the connecting flight ended up in Southhampton in the U.K., not in Frankfurt! It turned out that the boarding passes Delta gave me were for someone named Carol Nicholas! At that point I was extremely skeptical that I would ever get my bags, but fortunately, that worry proved unnecessary. I was able to confirm, once in flight that my bags were indeed on the flight to Amsterdam.

My flight to Amsterdam was nice, and it landed on time. AMS is a nice airport. Very modern lots of shopping. It’s like a giant mall actually. I actually had time to go to the lounge and have breakfast before catching my short flight to Frankfurt, landing only 30 minutes later than originally scheduled. However, just as I was boarding my flight to Frankfurt I got a notification that my flight from Frankfurt to Düsseldorf had been canceled.

Apparently, not only does one need the apps for the Airlines one is flying, one needs to have downloaded the train app for the country in which one is traveling too. Fortunately I had the German trains app, DB, on my phone. I used the DB app to buy a train ticket to Düsseldorf. I would have preferred to go directly to Essen, but there were no rental cars available there, and Essen is north of Dusseldorf, so it wasn’t much of a detour to reach the airport, but meant there were two trains, not one. The train to the main station in Düsseldorf of course arrived late (20 minutes…German trains seem to always be late these days), meaning I missed my connection, but there were many trains going to the airport and in the end I arrived about 90 minutes earlier than originally scheduled despite all the changes.

I was able to get a rental car earlier than my 2:30 reservation thanks to the helpful Sixt agent, drove the 25 minutes to Essen, visited a Lidl grocery store (of course) for some fruit and vegetables, and checked into my hotel.

It’s quite warm here in Germany this week, nearly 90 degrees! (I am very happy I have a hotel with air conditioning!), but not too humid. I had an hour practice with Sabine Schmidt late in the afternoon. The red clay here was very soft and slow…I like it but it still takes some getting used to.

The opening ceremony and the draws for this event take place later today. There are four teams, one of which is from Berlin. The competition is being held at ETUF Essen this year…the four regions rotate as to which hosts the final competition. Seeding is done to place two teams apart from each other…if at least three teams agree to the seeding…if not no teams are placed, and the draw is random. The tournament uses a knockout draw, not a round robin. ETUF Essen is the defending champion. The format for each match is: four singles (using a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set) followed by two doubles using the same scoring format. #2 and #4 singles are played first followed by #1 and #3 singles. I am playing #1 singles. The surface is red clay.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.