Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stranded Day Three: Just milling around

I stayed in Mannheim today, and basically milled around trying to figure out what to do next.  We tried to find a way to Madrid to fly out.  Madrid is far enough south that it's been open and flights have been going.    We found a flight for Friday, but could not find a train from Germany to Madrid that departs in time to get there.  So frustrating!

In today's post I'll cover:  A couple of fun pictures, the story of a cultural moment, and an update on my travel status.

To start, here's one of the fun pictures.  I met this hedgehog in Heidelberg.  He wanted to come home with me, but was too big for my suitcase.  I took a picture instead. 

Hello again, Hedgie!

Cultural moment:

I've been trying to get to the gym while I'm here, to counteract all of the beer and cheesy, high calorie food.  There is a sign outside the door of the pool/sauna/workout area that says, "Dear Guest!  Swimsuits must be worn in all areas of the pool/sauna/patio area."

I was going to work out, and was wearing exercise pants and a t-shirt, not a swimsuit.  When I arrived at the workout room, there was another guest exercising on the treadmill in their swimsuit.  Odd, perhaps they meant that workout clothes should be one's swimsuit?  This happened the next day as well - a woman was working out on the elliptical trainer in her swimsuit.  I was feeling like quite a rule-breaker, wearing my workout clothes to workout. 

The next day I read the sign again - just to make sure I read it right.  Sure enough, wear your swimsuit.  During the workout I had my cultural moment.  I was on the treadmill, and noticed a woman carrying her towel, wearing a black swimsuit, and milling around outside the workout room.  Then I saw her a minute later.  She was wearing a towel and carrying her swimsuit.  Gasp!  Did I read that sign wrong!  It's not that one must wear a swimsuit instead of workout clothes.  It's that one must wear something

Sure enough, when working out today, this was confirmed.  Let's just say that I got to see WAY more of a few elderly Germans than I ever care to see of most people.  After a couple of awful glimpses, I started to look in the opposite direction as soon as I glimpsed anyone walk by.  Ewww....

Travel update:

As I mentioned before, my flight was cancelled for tomorrow.  I've been re-booked for a flight leaving on Saturday.  It's really not clear that flights will be going on Saturday.  So far, the news seems to be that flights will go a couple of days early in the week, but be shut down later in the week.

To cover ourselves, my colleague and I have booked another flight, with a strange routing, to get out of here on Tuesday.  If things don't go on Tuesday, I don't know what the next move will be.  Who knows when this volcano will stop...

Oh, and to add to the joy - the hotel we're in is full starting tomorrow.  And that full number doesn't include us.  We had to scramble to find a new hotel, and ended up paying 100 euros a night more than we're currently paying.  But at least we have a place to stay!

And to end this post, one more picture: 

Anyone want me to bring this doormat home for them?


  1. Any other time, this wouldn't be such a bad situation, stuck in Germany on your company's dime, but knowing you will miss the Nat'l must really add stress. What a mess!

  2. Sorry to hear you are still stuck--I've still got my fingers crossed you are able to get out of there SOON!

  3. Rent a car? Google maps says 17 hours via car from Mannheim to Madrid. Bus maybe?

    What a mess!!!


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