I’m sorry the blog has basically stalled as I make weak efforts at recapping this trip report. Each passing day makes it harder and harder to achieve.
I woke up on Wednesday morning to catch a train to Schiphol airport. Carrying large bags on a train sucks but there really is no other choice. I arrived a bit early and waited for the flight to Stuttgart. I could have taken a train but it was 6 hours long vs 1 hour plane. Oddly, this flight was more expensive than much longer flights.
I got to Stuttgart and visited the roofing show which was the main reason I was in Europe in the first place. I won’t bore you with 3 days of details on roofing tools. A few of the highlights from Stuttgart:
I’ll start with my immediate quest to find a contact case and toothpaste. I GPS’d whatever I thought was a supermarket and tried to communicate with a German speaking woman that I needed a contact case by pointing to my eyes and the word “case”. This ended with a “no”. I bought some Zahncream entirely in German and hoped it was ok. It wasn’t.
I ate at a Turkish restaurant which I’d describe as different. I’m not a huge eater and get stuck in my old routines more so than experimenting with new foods. I should also add that I went with native Germans who spoke German throughout the meal. This is completely in my mind but when you are the only person who doesn’t speak the language, it feels like every word that is spoken is about you. Paranoia aside, it was a fun dinner.
I visited the Mercedes Benz and Porsche museum before the shows each day. The Mercedes museum was a fantastic way to spend time as I enjoyed the history lesson through the company. The vehicles were also fun to see even though I’m not a car buff. Porsche I didn’t find as entertaining because it was solely about the cars.
- I had to maneuver by train to each museum which was a challenge I was able to overcome. There’s always a feeling of going the wrong way when you aren’t sure where you are going in the first place.
On the 3rd day I headed to Innsbruck, Austria which was 5 hours away from Stuttgart. My plan was to get a train. I paid about 100 euro for a connection of 3 trains. The first was an ICE train to Munich which is a great way to travel. I reserved my seat for 5 euro because it seriously sucks not having a seat on a long train like this. Success to Munich. I boarded the train to Kufstein and once again found a seat and had no issues. From Innsbruck to Kufstein was another hour and when I got on the plane I saw about 10 black men who looked like they were on an adventure. As I sat down, I realized that these were refugees (I was calling them migrants and was corrected twice which I’m still not sure is incorrect) and were from Somalia.
I’ll first add that there was 0 incident with these teens traveling to Innsbruck. It’s scary because there is an air of unpredictability about their situation in war torn countries. I try to put myself in their place and realize that escaping bombs and gunfire is necessary NO MATTER where you end up. So even with all the news stories with the migrants committing crimes and other social issues, it is a pure humanitarian problem that is not easily solved. Being face to face with it (about as far as face to face can be) I realize the difficulties Europe faces. I checked into my hotel in Innsbruck and was spent from traveling.