Excellent Adventure – Part 1

Excellent Adventure – Part 1

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Well, this is going to be a travelogue post. After all of the time for preparation I was SO antsy to leave. I’d checked and rechecked everything, covered every contingency and all systems were go. I dropped off my car at the storage place and got a ride with suitcases and laptop bag to the BART station (that’s the local subway for readers not from the San Francisco area) and was at the airport in a flash. Even though I took a sleeping pill on the plane the seats are so uncomfortable that it was still hard to catch any sleep during the flight to London. I made the plane change at Heathrow with no problems. I did go through the long immigration line only to be told that it was quite unnecessary and I could have just gone on to my connecting flight. I blame both my fatigued state and poor signage but no harm was done since I had two hours to make the connection.

The real fun began at the Frankfort airport. I went through immigration and then noted that there was a customs area with no one there. It seemed odd since all of the other times that I can remember I collected my luggage and then went through customs. Still, there were signs that said baggage claim and a sign that said nothing to declare so I went ahead and exited the secure area. There was no sign of my friend Marion who was going to pick me up. There were a couple of people standing nearby and of course I first asked the attractive woman.

“ Do you speak English.”


“ Well, I was expecting a friend to meet me here and she’s nowhere in sight. Can I use your cell phone to call her.”

“ Well, I only have a Czech cell phone.”


So I now asked the man, but changed the line of questioning based upon the previous conversation –

“ Do you speak English.”


“Are you German?”

“No, I’m Turkish”


“But I have a German cell phone and I can call your friend.”

So I talked to Marion and she was running late and estimated 5 minutes to arrival. I decided I’d defer looking for the bag just now since I had just told her where to find me. So 20 minutes later, no Marion. Now nobody was standing around so I went into the nearby Porsche Design store. They let me call Marion.

“Hello, Marion, where are you now?”

“I’m waiting outside the where your flight should exit – where are you?”

“Well, I exited the secure area already so I’m not quite sure.”

So I asked someone at the store to give her directions and about 2 minutes later she showed up. I told her that I didn’t yet have my large suitcase. She said that’s odd because she had always collected her suitcase before going through customs and then exiting the secure area. Hoo-boy, this could be interesting. So we went in search of someone from Lufthansa to find out how to retrieve the bag that by then we assumed was somewhere in the secure area. One person sent us to one place another sent us to another. We were headed back to where I had met Marion and where we might find someone authoritative from Lufthansa to find out how to get the bag when we saw police putting up that tape that tells you there is activity in the area and to stay out. Uh-oh I thought, maybe they found a large red unattended suitcase going round and round in the luggage area and were taping off the area to investigate (I had seen them do this before in the same airport). I thought of going up to a cop and saying – “If there’s a large red bag that’s a problem, perhaps I can help”. I could just imagine them carefully taking the bag off to some field and blowing it up or something. Well, just about then we saw a policeman wearing rubber gloves in the taped-off area approaching what looked like a child’s bag. So I guess that was the problem. Since we couldn’t go back to the gate area just now anyway due to the police activity we figured, what the hell, let’s go to the baggage area. The area which handled luggage from my flight was totally deserted except for, you guessed it, one large red bag. So maybe I should take up smuggling and go through Frankfurt for that activity.

So now two nights in Oberursel at Marion and Christoph’s house – complete with the legendary grappa collection (noted in my grappa post here) and I’m off to Bologna. After much nail biting on my part I finally, just today, have a confirmed place to stay while there. A presto! (kind of like “later” in Italian)

8 Responses to “Excellent Adventure – Part 1”

  1. Peter H. Says:

    Hi Joe, Glad you made it there safely. All that Grappa looks good, but maybe not the morning after. Keep us posted.

  2. Joe Says:


    The grappa wasn’t much of a problem but the jet- lag, as always was a trial. Fortunately I was able to sleep late the next morning and successfully took the bus a few miles to Bad Homburg (the nearest larger city to Oberursel – both are suburbs of Frankfurt. It was reasonably interesting. It was nice to get out and about. I should be posting regularly so stay tuned.


  3. Mary Says:

    Hi Joe –
    Glad to hear you made it unscathed, despite a few close calls! Love the photo of the lonely red bag. Looking forward to future posts, especially as classes get underway.
    Mary and Mike

  4. Joe Says:


    It’s nice to know that you are reading my blog. So far it has been quite an adventure. I’m now in the apartment where I will live for the next two months. I will be doing a post about that pretty soon. Bologna is lovely but HOT right now.


  5. Harold Spencer Says:


    Sounds like you had some fun in the Frankfurt airport. That was where our luggage spent a week during the Icelandic volcano eruption last year. You were very lucky, even more so that they didn’t explode your suitcase.

  6. Joe Says:


    Actually it was pretty funny. I did a lot of joking around about the situation with Marion during all of the running to and fro trying to figure out how to find the suitcase. I’ll take a look at your blog about the Nissan Leaf.


  7. Dana Says:

    This kind of brings to mind the adventure I experienced getting to Genova last year. Keeping your patience and you good humor in tact is certainly important. Glad to see you made it safe and sound. I’m looking forward to the next post!


  8. Joe Says:


    Actually it was pretty funny. I just made a new post including the “go with the flow” attitude necessary. So far things are going well. After two days of school I am still a little stressed that I have such difficulty sometimes understanding the teacher but I think that I’m not alone. I have done very well in stores and am certainly encouraged by that. Stay tuned.


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