I think that I should start off with a word to the wise, if everyone tells you to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel then take one.
My flight got in at 6 pm (I had been notified the day before of a flight delay) and besides the normal hustle and bustle of getting off the plane and the wait for immigration to screen a plane full of people the trip started off well. I was tired and had only slept 1 hour on the ~10 hour flight. The rest of the time I was walking around, playing games and watching movies trying to pretend that I was somewhere else (namely not in a box with wings hovering miles above the earth.
I vaguely remembered the details of how to get to my hotel in Wiesbaden by train and bus which would cost me 7 Euros instead of the 70 Euro taxi ride that my boss recommended. I was feeling particularly adventurous and brave so I got onto the airport monorail and made it to the train station without incident. I was feeling pretty good about myself, even though most of the signs had English descriptions because I still recognized some German from my studies.
The train ride was an experience unto itself and I saw more of Germany than I would have from a taxi. Getting off the train I made it to the bus station and hit the first real roadblock of my journey. There were quite a few buses that made it to my hotel, but there were no maps at the bus stop. I paid for a ticket and walked around using broken German and mostly English until I found someone who claimed to speak “a little English”. A little English was in fact “I would think that the best way to get to your hotel is the number 8 bus”.
A little my ass.
I found out which bus to take but as it started raining, a ten minute wait became a 40 minute wait and I opted for a taxi instead. With a vague remembrance of Google maps in my head, I began wondering if the driver wasn’t taking the long way. Still she got me there, I paid her 10 Euros and my 7 Euro trip became a 20 Euro trip (still better than 70 Euros).
Of course my troubles were not to end, before I could lie down and relax in my modest but very comfortable hotel room I had to check in. Since I knew that I would get in late, I sent the hotel my credit card information ahead of time and made sure that I would have a bed for the night. But alas, they needed my credit card again. Since I don’t have a German one, and foreigners find it difficult to get one in Korea, I relinquished my American Visa card and counted the seconds until I could get in the shower. It took me a few seconds to realize that she had scanned the card three times.
She asked if I had another card, I panicked started to pull out my laptop to send an effusive email to my bank and troubleshoot the matter when the clerk came back with a grin and told me that the card had gone through.
I almost kissed her.
She handed me my room key, told me how to open the door and I made my way into the furthest corner of the hotel and arrived in my room.
THE LAND of BIER:
Alas my night didn’t end there, a phone call to my colleague in Germany came with the information that there was a yearly festival currently down the street. She suggested I go there and see the sights while she went to to sleep.
A yearly festival in country that I may never return to? I guess that beats sleep.
I walked two blocks when I started to hear the music play. It was hard rock mixed with the sounds of cheering and general festivities. I turned down a street and the formerly darkening city turned into a mass of lights.
There were rides, stages (like six, all of whom had bands performing), little shops selling little trinkets and beer. Lots and lots of beer. Tables were set up by each bar and each bar had an abundance of customers waiting to fill their glasses. People walked up and down the streets with glasses, bottles, and the occasional cup.
I walked for an hour admiring the city and the lack of drunk behavior before my body called it quits and asked that I feed it or goto sleep. I was tempted to have a drink and maybe try some bratwurst at one of the stands but the fear of being drunk in a foreign country and food playing blitzkrieg on my intestines drove me to a Subway where the cashier helped me with her “little bit” of English. Before I knew it, I was back in the hotel room wondering how I was going to survive in this country for seven more days.