Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spring Time in Munich

I have made my way uneventfully today to Munich, Germany. I am staying in the Movenpick
airport hotel and will depart tomorrow morning for Alaska. Traveling by train is always a stressful experience when carrying a full ski bag and large roller bag. However, today it couldn't have gone smoother. But it would be dishonest to take any credit for how well the trip went.

The owner of the hotel in Wernberg (more like an Inn - Est. 1854), drove me the 1.5 km to the train station this morning and then discussed with the local station attendant how to get me to Munich without having to change trains too often. I was there in time for the 8:29 train but opted for the 9:29 train which meant I would have to change trains just once, and not have to buy a new ticket halfway through the trip. I would have never figured out the kiosk! As I prepared to board the train the local station attendant brought a piece of paper to me which had my train itinerary on it. Without it I would not have known to change trains in Regensberg.

In Regensberg I got off on platform #1 and had ten minutes to get to platform #9 which required walking up 3 flights of stairs to walk over the railway tracks. Not one of the sexier moments in my life as when I reached the top flight I dropped my bags and was hands on knees trying to catch my breathe for a good 30 seconds. I hate being sick! In total I was on the train for 2hrs 45min.

Once in Munich I walked out of the massive train station and walked right into the Airport bus just minutes before it was scheduled to depart. After about 40 minutes we arrived at the airport. Right at Terminal 2 was an airport hotel and my first though was, "this might be expensive but I just want to stop traveling, eat some food and go to bed". However, just as I got off the bus I saw the Movenpick shuttle (hotel recommended by Kikkan). I took it as a sign and flagged down the driver. We had a great conversation on route to the hotel where we discussed how the winter ends earlier and earlier each year in Munich. Fifteen straight days of rain and above 5c temps has the city looking like it is in full spring mode. The grass is greening up, and people were out running in t-shirts. It's incredible to think that when I flew to Zurich on Dec. 20th it was the only major airport unaffected in Europe by record snowfalls, that crippled Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Paris. What an absolutely beautiful old city. I can only imagine what it would look like with leaves on the trees.

Getting sick in Europe
Hotel stay in Wernberg = 45 Euro
Train ride to Munich = 21 Euro
Bus ride to airport = 10.50 Euro
One night at airport hotel = 200 Euro
Flight change fee $250.00 USD
Internet to write this piece = 5 Euro
Getting to recover in my own bed = Priceless

And so after staying in 10 different beds in the last 5 weeks, I look forward to my own! Below is a few pics from Liberec....really miss my good camera!

Wally and his girlfriend Lucinda made an appearance at the men's team sprint on Sunday. Unfortunately, their presence didn't prevent Callum from going off course and into the safety netting resulting in the Aussie teams with drawl from the race after just one leg of three.
Pit row during the team sprint. Here each team works on the skis of the athlete who just completed their leg. They have about 3 minutes until the next skier comes through. It gives the teams a chance to touch up grip wax (it was a klister day - with temps above 5 C, indicated by the green grass everywhere), and brush out the glide zones.
Kikkan's post race press conference after her sprint win.
Kikkan and Hanna Falk of Sweden who took second place.
The Grand Hotel where half the teams stayed in downtown Liberec. Fortunately, both the US, Canada and Australia were in the same hotel so Kikk and I got to eat our meals together, and I got to chat with my fellow Canucks.

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