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January 22, 2007

Travelling ...

Mausi had to go to Hannover on business on Thursday and Friday. Hannover is about 350 km to the northeast of Wiesbaden and much bigger. Quite a nice town with lots of green around and quite a bit of water. It is well known for the big industrial fairs that take place there each year and it has also been hosting the EXPO some years ago.

The nicest thing about going to Hannover, however, is that Mausi is able to look up her sister and spend some time with her and her family. Which proved to be quite a bit of luck this time. Thursday was the day the storm "Kyrill" went over Germany and left a trail of devastation behind. Mausi was to go by train in the morning and as the storm had been building up all night and was already quite strong in Wiesbaden by then Mausi firmly believed the train wouldn't make it to Hannover that day. But - the ICE train (Inter City Express train) proved to be faster than the wind and Mausi arrived in Hannover on schedule. It had been quite a nice trip really because Mausi was allowed to trave 1st class and her compartment for five had only been occupied by three. Lots of space to make oneself comfy and enjoy a good read. The only drawback was that the rest room was adjoining to Mausi's compartment - perhaps the engineers should rethink the layout of the exhaust ducts ...

By the time Mausi had finished her presentation in the afternoon the storm had gathered full force and as the rain was driven horizontally past the windows Mausi gratefully accepted a colleague's offer to drive her around to her sister's. Mausi's sister is a teacher who'd spend an interesting couple of hours at noon having to send all children home because of the storm and frantically trying to get hold of parents and friends to alert them to the childrens' coming home early that day. By then no trains were running anywhere in Germany and most of the autobahns were shut down as well. Mausi was glad she had planned to stay in Hannover until Sunday anyway.

Next morning Mausi got an idea of the damage done by the storm when another colleague picked her up to take her to a meeting about 20 km south of Hannover. The autobahn south was still closed and a large number of trees hadn't been able to withstand the storm. Trains were not running to schedule all Friday and 5000 people had been stranded at Hannover Central Station the night before. Hannover had opened its underground bunker to accomodate them. Must have been quite an adventure.

Saturday was spend having a late breakfast, a leisurely stroll through the City and in particular some bookshops with Mausi's sister, and a joint effort of all family members to cook dinner - a real success! All too sudden it was Sunday morning and Mausi had to go back again.

Mausi had to change trains on her way to Wiesbaden in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe, a station which is also known as 'Palace of the Winds' (if you've ever been blown about on the platform there you know why) and is quite famous because when it was completed sometime at the end of the 90's they discovered that the restrooms had been forgotten in the original design ... After a cold 15 minutes in Kassel Mausi finally entered her train to Frankfurt/Main. Next stop was to be Fulda, a former German/German border town. Well, the train stopped a few minutes before Fulda due to a technical problem. Stops like that are never a good sign. In this case, however, the train was able to resume operation after only 10 minutes but at reduced maximum speed. It can go at almost 300 km/h, now it was reduced to 160 km/h. On the whole Mausi prefers train rides to going by car. Mausi can read in trains, relax and prepare herself for the business ahead. What Mausi hates is going by train and having to catch connections. She still had to from Frankfurt/Main to Wiesbaden and guess where her connections had gone after she arrived 30 minutes late in Frankfurt. Only by jogging along the platform and dashing down the escalator was she able to catch a local train without having to spend another hour in Frankfurt. Bit of luck - the 1st class compartment was almost deserted and clean for a change, while people were piling up like sardines in a tin in the rest of the carriage.

Looking at the clear blue sky with only a few puffy white clouds and the brilliant sunshine when leaving the station made more than up for all the inconviences during the journey.

Posted by Mausi at January 22, 2007 09:30 PM

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