9/20/09, Salzburg to Frankfurt Airport to Calgary to SFO

Street in Salzburg

Street in Salzburg

00:00 – At the hotel:
Arriving at the hotel after our trip to the bar, I bought 3 beers and a bottle of water for the trip. The bar was actually closed, but it’s a small hotel and there was one lady in attendance. She happily sold me the drinks. The water was in a beautiful glass bottle, but it was heavy. I decided to bring it with me and I’d keep the bottle as a souvenir.
Rob was going to rest a bit and then ride with me to the train station when I left in about 2 hours. I turned the tv on to chill for a bit and we watched Resident Evil 4 in German while I drank another beer. He passed out and I drifted in and out. Eventually, I woke up, took a shower and then got my stuff ready. Rob still wanted to ride with me, so he came downstairs. The hotel exit door was locked and the lady was nowhere to be found. It was the kind of lock where you had to use the key on either side. It caused me a little bit of a panic since my train departed in about 10 minutes (the train station was not far). I found the lady sleeping in the community room and woke her. I suggested that Rob stay because he may not be able to get back in so we hugged and said goodbye. I thanked the lady and rode my bike to the train station. The bike rental place was almost at the station. I locked it up and put the key in the key drop box and walked the last bit to the station and got on my train.

02:00 – Train 1:
The train attendant helped me find my reserved seat. It was one of these cool train rooms that lock with curtains over the windows. A girl was in the room trying to sleep, so I tried to stay as quiet as possible while I layed down on my side of the compartment. I slept off an and on for about maybe an hour during the 4 hour trip. At some point, a woman came into the room speaking German. I said “No sprechen ze deutsch” and she repeated in English that she had a reserved spot in the room. I moved over so she could come in.
As I was wondering how I would get rest sitting instead of lying down, the girl who’d been in the room the whole time pulled her seat and the seat across together to meet and create a bed. I did the same thing and was able to sleep longer.
After about 4 hours, my alarm went off and I started collecting myself together. We stopped a few minutes later at Stuttgart train station and I got off the train.

06:00 – Train 2:
Got on the train to Mannheim train station. Decided I was over having my beers and left them in the cabin.
When we arrived, I had about a minute to find the next train and get on it.

07:00 – Train 3:
ICE train. Just barely made it on the right train to Frankfurt airport.

Flying over Frankfurt

Flying over Frankfurt

08:30 – Frankfurt Airport:
Got my ticket, went through security, customs and walked a long time. Got some coffee and a pastry and sat for a few minutes before walking onto plane.
My seat was fairly far back, but I had a window. The flight was long. We did an arch up north, across greenland and down into Calgary. I watched two movies: ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Angels and Demons’ while drifting in and out of a very light and uncomfortable sleep. They served us two amazing meals. My first meal was sausage and sauekraut at the beginning of the flight. The second was vegetarian dumplings towards the end of the flight.

Flying over Calgary

Flying over Calgary

9 hours later:
We landed really fast. It’s the fastest landing I ever remember experiencing and was a bit scary. They people on the plane applauded when we slowed enough to feel comfortable.

The plane was late and I had 1 hour to make my connection.
I learned very quickly that: the way it works going from International to the US through Canada is lame.

You have to walk really far, go through Canadian customs and immigration, back through airport security and finally through US Customs. The lines were long and I would have missed my flight if I hadn’t asked every single person in line if they would mind if I skip ahead of them. Almost everyone was nice about it, but a few people gave me attitude – not because they were late, but just because they didn’t like someone cutting in front of them. One guy even said to me, “You know, some people mind” as I asked him. I said, “That’s why I’m asking everyone before I step in front of them in line. It’s what the customs official told me to do.” He smiled one of those shitty smiles you get from someone that wants a fight and I asked the person in front of him if I could skip ahead and on I went. Eventually, I made it to a very nice woman who said she didn’t mind, but “those people” do (as she pointed to a couple). They refused to let another woman pass who was also on my flight and doing the same thing as me. Fortunately, we were almost at the front.

The US customs lady grilled me about my trip. She asked what I bought that cost $80 (I put that down on my declaration form). I told her about the Beer Stein (awesome german cup) I bought. She seemed suspicious, but dismissed it. She also asked where I worked. It sounded almost made up when I told her because, right behind her was a large poster of people from the place I work. I felt strange saying it because I wasn’t supposed to mention it while out of the country and was still in the mode of saying I work somewhere else, so my voice kind of faltered. Eventually she let me pass. As I was walking away, she yelled, “Is that ALL the luggage you have?”, referring to my single backpack. I said yes and she said ok. I walked on through and to my plane just in time.

Coming into SF!

Coming into SF!

The plane was one of those really small ones. I was in the very last seat on the left. My window was murky so I couldn’t really see out and the space was tiny. I stayed engrossed in my PSP and tried to sleep a little for the 2 hour ride so I wouldn’t notice how small a space I was in or how bumpy the ride was. After what felt like 5 hours, we landed really hard in SFO. It wasn’t scary though, because I’ve landed much harder. I’m pretty sure our pilot was former air force by the demeanor of his voice and the language he used. That made me more comfortable the whole trip. He flew the airplane more like someone who flew in combat and has to tone it down a little. I prefer that because it makes me feel like he knows an aircrafts limits and can handle it well.

15:30 – SFO:
Pulled money out of the ATM. It looked weird.
Got on BART, went home, did laundry and went to Trader Joes. Was practically dreaming with my eyes open since I’d been up for 40 hours.

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